The architect Walmein was entrusted with its construction. Doctor Gustave Monod, the vice-president of the Paris Evangelical Mission Society Committee and pastor Alfred Boegner, then at the head of the Society, had taken the initiative.
The Paris Evangelical Mission Society was founded in 1882 in the salon of Madame de Broglie, Madame de Staël’s daughter, on the incentive of Wilder, a pious American trader. Its objective was twofold, first to organise the Protestant mission abroad among “non Christians”, and second to support actions in favour of French Protestants, especially Bible study and prayer meetings.
The Paris Mission Society was independent of the Paris Consistory for several reasons: its original founders were French but also American, English or Swiss and belonged to the revival trends from different denominations. They wished to preserve that diversity, and wanted to remain free to act on the whole French territory.
The founders generously financed the Paris Mission Society as its independence from the consistory prevented any claim to public subsidies. Thus the Society could offer theology as well as oriental language classes, and defined its action range in Africa, notably in Lesotho. It also organised the network of auxiliary Committees organising prayer groups in France.
At first, the Society was situated at 85 boulevard Montparnasse in 1823, then at 47 rue de Clichy in 1833 in the private mansion where the French Protestant Federation is presently located, then on the rue de Berlin in 1841 and at 21 rue Franklin in the village de Passy in 1856. In 1873 it was said that it should be closer to the university district. So the Society was installed at 26 rue des Fossés Saint-Jacques at the corner of boulevard Arago.
It was inaugurated and publicly acknowledged in 1887. Extensions were soon needed in 1909, and then in 1950 when the official entrance to the building was situated on 102 boulevard Arago. Then a library, newsroom facilities and offices were added.
In 1971 the Paris Mission Society disappeared and was replaced by the DEFAP or département évangélique français d’action apostolique (French evangelical department for apostolic action). It is now called Service protestant de mission (Protestant mission service)– DEFAP. It is the mission service for three Protestant Churches, namely the French united Protestant Church, the Union of Protestant Churches in Alsace and Lorraine and the national Union of French Evangelical Protestant Churches. It promotes actions of international solidarity. It sends volunteers to take part in development projects in Africa, in Asia, in India, in Oceania, and support them financially. It ensures training and develops health prevention programmes.
‘102’ houses an extensive documentation centre and an outstanding photo library.
The Maison des missions (Mission centre)
102 Boulevard Arago, 75014 Paris, France