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Le protestantisme

According to the Ipsos poll conducted in October 2017 for Réforme and the Fédération Protestante de France, Protestants represent 3.1% of the French population, i.e. 2 million people out of the 65 million French in mainland France. Many of the Protestant churches belong to the Fédération Protestante de France, which runs 26 churches and church unions, 7 associated churches and 86 communities, charitable organisations, institutions and movements.

There are especially :
- the Eglise Protestante Unie de France : created in 2013, this new body brings together most of the Reformed and Lutheran Protestants of France, previously organised in two different churches, Eglise réformée de France and Eglise évangélique luthérienne de France.
This church counted in 2014, 1000 leaders (pastors and presidents of local councils). Its members are (according to the degree of commitment) 110,000 active members (supporting financially on a regular basis) ; 250,000 taking part to the life of the church ; some 400,000 to 500,000 ask for religious ceremonies (baptisms, marriages, funeral services).
- The Union of the Protestant Churches of Alsace-Lorraine (Union des Eglises Protestantes d’Alsace-Lorraine, UEPAL), created in 2006 which had 260,000 members in 2016 : 200,000 members in the Protestant Church of the Augsbourg Confession (Eglise Protestante de la Confession d’Augsbourg d’Alsace-Lorraine, EPCAAL, Lutheran), 35,000 in the Reformed Protestant Church (Eglise Protestante Réformée d’Alsace-Lorraine, EPRAL) and between 20,000 and 30,000 members of free churches. In 2014, these two churches have 235 and 55 parishes respectively, 280 and 51 pastors of which about a quarter are women. In Alsace, the proportion of Protestants would reach 17%.
- The National Union of Independent Reformed Evangelical Churches (Union Nationale des Eglises Réformées Evangéliques Indépendantes de France, UNEPREF). It has 13,000 members and 37 parishes which are mostly found in the southern part of France.
- The Union of Evangelical Free Churches (Union des Eglises Evangéliques Libres, UEEL) gathering 2,500 active members and 56 parishes.

Evangelical Protestantism is growing in France. In 2016, Sébastien Fath estimates the number of evangelicals in metropolitan France at 720,000 (395,000 in 2005), including 500,000 regular followers. Among these evangelicals, 200,000 are in Pentecostal movements. In overseas France (DROM and CROM), there are at least 250,000 Evangelical Protestants, including about 150,000 regular practitioners. They represent about 25% of the French Protestant Federation. A good number of Evangelical churches belong to the Conseil National des Evangéliques de France, created in 2003. The CNEF edits every year a cartography of the Evangelical protestants ; in 2017, it claimed 650,000 regular practitioners, including 500,000 in metropolitan France, which is about a third of the Fédération protestante de France altogether. Specific surveys on Protestants in France have been realised by IFOP in 2012 and 2013.

For more information :
- BAUBEROT Jean, Histoire des protestants : une minorité en France (XVIe-XXIe siècle). Ellipses, 2018.
- DARGENT Claude, Les protestants en France aujourd’hui. Paris, Payot, 2005.
- FATH Sébastien, Du ghetto au réseau : le protestantisme évangélique en France 1800-2005. Labor et Fides, 2005.
- FATH Sébastien et Jean-Paul Willaime (dir.), La nouvelle France protestante (Religions et modernités 9). Genève : Labor et Fides, 2011.
- WILLAIME Jean-Paul, Les protestants en France, une minorité active, Fondation pour l’innovation politique, mars 2021.

D 12 avril 2018    AAnne-Laure Zwilling

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