French evangelical pastor, national leader, dies in climbing accident

Edouard Nelson
Edouard Nelson |

A French evangelical Christian pastor and evangelist who was the vice president of the National Council of Evangelicals of France has died as a result of a climbing accident.

Eduoard Nelson, who was the pastor of Eglise Protestante Evangélique des Ternes (Evangelical Protestant Church of Ternes) in Paris, was vacationing with his family when he had a climbing accident and sustained a severe head injury, according to Premier News.

The accident occurred at the cliffs of Gaillands, located near Chamonix in southern France, French evangelical outlet Evangeliques reported. The pastor was flown by helicopter to Annecy hospital and placed in intensive care. Doctors said his head injury was inoperable and he only had a few hours to live.

The National Council of Evangelicals of France announced Friday that he had died.

Nelson is survived by his wife, three sons and a daughter.

"We know that Edward is now with our God. His discernment, his love of the Gospel, his sympathy and his humor will be missed at the CNEF, as well as by all those who collaborated with him," the council said in a statement.

The group's former president, Lhermenault Etienne, wrote in a tribute on social media that he worked closely with Nelson for three years.

"The news of his death is a real shock. Evangelical Protestantism loses a man of conviction, vision and action. I lose one of those who gave me unwavering support," he said.

Matthieu Sanders, who pastors Eglise baptiste de Paris-Centre, which is linked to the deceased pastor's church, said Friday: "We still lack words to express the pain we feel."

"Edward was a man who had a tireless passion for the proclamation of the Gospel. He was a man of vision who was at the centre of a new impulse, for several years, for the implementation of new churches in Paris. He was boiling with energy, zeal, [he had] a 'holy obsession' of the need to multiply the places and communities where the Gospel is proclaimed," he said.

"He was a mentor and a trainer, who — allow me to express myself for a moment in personal terms — had a major influence on my life and ministry. He was a faithful friend. Many others, including my colleagues Paul Harrison and Paul Bourdois, can give the same testimony."

His church posted a statement on Saturday, expressing deep sadness. It noted that Nelson preached on Psalm 29 the previous Sunday, proclaiming God as all powerful. Nelson lived with the conviction that God is sovereign and that everyone should give glory to Him.

"Few things gave him more joy than talking about his King Jesus," the church stated.

Nelson had previously served with Grupos Biblicos Unidos, a ministry that is the European version of InterVarsity that ministers to students on university campuses.

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