John Pavey / ITeams

France - Caen Presqu'île

Announcing good news to the City of Caen, in Normandy, by bringing transformation to the abandoned docks area at its heart.


Refugee ministry, Caen Presqu'île

We are bringing transformation to the city of Caen by focusing our plans on the former docks area, now largely abandoned and home to an eclectic population of homeless people, refugees and trafficked women. Despite being adjacent to a prosperous City Centre, the Presqu'ile is one of the neediest neighbourhoods of Caen. It has been known locally for many years as a "No Man's Land". To bring change to this visibly derelict area is to participate in the transformation of the city itself.

In this forgotten place God has called us to three purposes:

- To build a church. We are planting an international, non-denominational, missional community of faith, and we believe that the Presqu'ile, with all of its issues, is the place the church should be.

- To worship. From day 1 we have prayed and worshipped on the Presqu'ile itself. We will create a worship room - The House of Songs - with a regular rhythm of worship and prayer for the area.

- To love the poor. We will serve all those in the neighbourhood who have need of food, freedom and forgiveness.

Caen Presqu'île

Caen is a city of 120,000 people serving a metro area - called 'Caen La Mer' - of 270,000. It is the principal city of the Lower Normandy region. 'Caen Presqu'ile' is the name given to the disused docks area, sandwiched between a 160-year-old Ship Canal and the 'Orne', the city's main river. it is a sector showing significant social and spiritual need. Abandoned warehouses have for many years been used by the homeless population of Caen, and the area has more recently become home to two new populations: trafficked women working in the sex industry, and refugees spilling over from the former camps in Calais. The women operate from approximately 30 vans spread across the area, and the refugees are squatting in a number of warehouse units.

SOS Chai

In April 2017, working from a converted ambulance, we began a weekly service of a hot meal to a group of 80 Sudanese migrants living in a squat on the Presqu'ile. These young men - aged from 14 to 30 - are from the troubled Dharfour region. They are unregistered and as far as we can tell they eat 3 or at most 4 meals per week.

This weekly gathering around the meal table is the first expression of our presence in the area. We are seeking to secure a premises on the Presqu'ile itself to aid the preparation and distribution of meals, so that we can expand this service. We will then establish the House of Songs with a view to building a long-term church presence.



Evaluate and Engage


When we enter a community, we seek to relate to and understand the community through the eyes of Jesus. This includes pre-training and ongoing on-field research.


We repeat a collaborative cycle that aims to work alongside others in the community to identify and assess both needs and resources. Alongside the community, we encourage initiatives guided by a strategy and help implement them.


As transformation takes hold in a community our role changes. We avoid creating unhealthy dependencies and focus on what Jesus is doing within the community. This typically leads to expansion as transformation impacts surrounding communities.

Ways you can be involved

Consider or share these open opportunities