The French Protestant Federation was created in 1905. It gathers together:
- about thirty Union of Churches representing all Protestant sensibilities, Reformed, Lutheran, Evangelical, Pentecostal, Adventist, more than 1,400 parishes and 1,600 pastors (women and men).
- over 80 Associations, gathering 500 institutions, Charities and Movements involved in different fields, either medico-social, assistance, youth or culture, etc.
The FPF is the representative Protestant body for the public authorities. The FPF Council comprises 25 members, and meets 4 times a year.
Almost 2 million people call themselves Protestant, i.e. about 3% of the French population. In France most Protestants belong to the French Protestant Federation.
Of the 2.2 billion Christians in the world, 800 million are Protestant.
The vocation of the French Protestant Federation (FPF) is first to work towards bringing together Churches and associations, to co-ordinate their action and to help them assume responsibilities. Secondly it ensures some shared services, such as Présence Protestante (Protestant Presence) TV programmes, radio programmes, military chaplaincy, prison chaplaincy, health and medico-social establishments chaplaincy, biblical services, relations with other Christian Churches, an information-communication-documentation service.
The Federation also watches over religious freedom in France and in the world.
Unity and diversity
In spite of being closely linked, all member Churches and associations maintain their freedom, their specificity and their identity, in the theological and practical fields. Churches maintain their own religious affiliation and the church principles they are attached to. For instance they do not share the same baptism pratices, nor have the same ecclesial organisation. Unity does not mean the absence of diversity, nor of differences.
All member Churches and associations, however, adhere to a number of convictions expressed in the Federation Charter. The aim is to bear witness to the Gospel, to acknowledge salvation by grace as fundamental, and to unreservedly accept one another for the Lord’s Supper.
Far from being considered a handicap or an abnormality to be eliminated, the extreme diversity is taken as a wealth to be experienced and shared.
The French Protestant Federation is a community of 900,000 people and continues to register membership applications, by Churches as well as associations.
Two factors were capital in the creation of the French Protestant Federation. First was the division inside French Protestantism at the turn of the century. It was felt by many to be harmful to the Gospel and had to be addressed. The second factor was the separation of the Churches and State. The French Protestants realised that not being able to make a contribution to the debate they needed an organisation in order to negotiate with the government.
From 1904 to 1905 the synodes of five Churches voted the creation of the French Protestant Federation (Methodist, Free Reformed, Reformed, Augsburg Confession and the Free Churches). The principles were adopted on the 25th of October 1905. The first Federation Council met in 1907. Two years later the first General Assembly was held in Nimes.
Many other Churches have since joined the Federation: the Baptist Church in 1916, the Apostolic Church in1972 and the Gypsy Church in 1976. The Pentecostal dimension further increased with the addition of the Church of God and the Union of Revival Churches in 1983. In 1985 the Salvation Army (now a Church body) joined.
In 1996 the Union of Evangelical Churches, that was a founder member but left during the 1960’s rejoined. In 2001 the Church of the Nazarene entered. In 2003 the Community of African Churches joined, and in 2006 five Evangelical, Pentecostal and Charismatic Churches became members: the Union of Protestant Assemblies in mission, the Union of the Federation of Adventist Churches and the Communion of Churches in the French Territory.
Since 1962, in addition to its Church members, the Federation also has charity, institutional and association members such as the CIMADE, Protestant Diaconal Mouvement, Scout mouvements, etc.
Members to the French Protestant Federation
The members are on the one hand the Church bodies and on the other charity and other organisations.
- La Fédération protestante de France | Link
The most frequently asked questions.
Protestantism around the world
Protestantism comprises a great variety of churches belonging to five main groups. Most have joined a Churches’ Ecumenical Council trying to present a united message.
Protestantism in France
With about one million members, the Protestant Church ranks third in France after Catholicism and Islam. But there is an uneven spread over the different geographical regions.
There are common beliefs to all christians, expressed in the articles of faith of the early Church; however the protestants belonging to the Féderation protestante de France acknowledge six main expressions of faith.
Protestantism in the XXth century
The law of 9th December 1905 separating the Churches from the State guaranteed the freedom of public worship for the Reformed Church and a legal framework. Hardly surprisingly, most Protestants welcomed this law.
It did not concern Alsace and the Moselle, which had become part of the German empire in 1871.
Protestant, Anglican and Orthodox intra-confessional Ecumenism
The beginnings of contemporary Ecumenism on the international level appeared in the late 19thcentury with Church and youth movements. They merged into an international movement: the World Christian Youth Federation (WCSF). The World missionary conference met in Edinburgh in 1910 and lay the foundations for a renewed dialogue between the different protestant churches. World conferences were set up. Their work was organised through commissions or permanent councils.
In 1937 about a hundred churches decided to create an Ecumenical World Council of Churches (WCC). The First Assembly met in 1938, but, because of World War II, it was only established in Amsterdam in 1948, with its headquarters in Geneva. From then on the different conferences set up in 1910 progressively joined the WCC. It organises plenary assemblies every seven or eight years, while the number of member Churches increases as South American Churches are accepted. General Secretaries play an important part. Willem Visser’t Hooft who participated in creating the WCC was the first General Secretary. Originally the WCC was composed mainly of Protestant churches, though it soon aroused the interest of Orthodox Churches. The Catholic Church does not belong to the WCC but takes part in some work sessions.
In the early 20th century a number of Protestant Churches came together, especially in France because of its great variety of Churches. Thus, from 1945 on the French Protestant Federation offered to unite most Protestant Churches and associations. In 1938 a significant number of Reformed Churches assembled and formed the French Reformed Church (FRC). In 2013, after the Lutheran and Reformed Churches of Alsace and Moselle linked, the FRC and the French Lutheran Evangelical Church merged to create the French United Protestant Church.