Charles Wagner (1852-1918)

Born in Vibersviller, Wagner read theology in Paris and in Strasbourg. He attended the universities of Göttingen and Heidelberg . He was appointed vicar to the pastor of Barr by the Lutheran Directory and in 1877 he accepted the pastorate of the Remiremont Reformed Church from which he resigned in 1882 to study history and psychology in Paris.

A liberal minister

  • Charles Wagner © S.H.P.F.

His was an active member of the Comité Libéral. He was considered as an extreme left-wing theologian and the religious community of which he was in charge almost grew into an independent church. His numerous writings on spirituality are those of an independent mystic, typical of liberal Protestantism. The illness and death of his son inspired his L’Âme des choses.

(The soul of things) and L’Ami. La vie simple ( The Friend. The simple life), published in 1895 was a big success. In 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt invited him for a triumphant tour of the United States, and to the White House.

With the funds collected in France and the United States, Charles Wagner founded the parish of Le Foyer de l’Ame , rue Duval ( rue du Pasteur Wagner from 1924) in Paris. The church seats 1200, proof of his reputation as a preacher.

In 1906, together with Wilfred Monod, he was the instigator of the Assembly of Jarnac, where his plea for unity resulted in the Union nationale des Eglises réformées (National Union of Reformed Churches) of which he was named honorary Chairman.

Associated notes