L'Abri HistoryFamous twentieth-century theologian Francis Schaeffer moved to Switzerland with his wife Edith and their family in 1947. After several years in Switzerland, the Schaeffers broke with the mission organization for whom they had worked and began to pursue their vision of providing a “shelter” for the development of relationships and the honest discussion of Christianity and various persons’ objections to it. They began calling it “L’Abri” (French for “the shelter”).
Visitors came in droves during the late 1950s as word spread quickly and widely. A central tenet of Francis Schaeffer’s philosophy is the theoretical validity and practical relevance of Christianity to all aspects of life; the Schaeffers sought to structure their community around this idea. It was from this basic concept that the emphasis on work, study, play, and interaction with others was derived. Every part of life at L’Abri was to be informed by the Christian faith.
Schaeffer was also very interested in providing an apologetic for the faith in general, and for his emphasis on his holistic nature in particular. Much of L’Abri’s early work centered around discussion (and in many cases, refutation) of various intellectual objections to Christianity.
The spirit of the Schaeffers’ early work with L’Abri lives on in its present-day descendants. Any and all questions are welcomed and handled with respect for those who ask them. Though the workers at today’s L’Abri are less likely to provide direct answers to every question (largely due to today’s intellectual climate being much less willing to accept such answers on their own terms), the vision of Francis Schaeffer continues to resonate in the English countryside.