The first Wesleyan missionaries came to France from Great Britain via the Channel Islands in 1791. About 60 years later, the small movement consolidated to form the French Wesleyan Conference, which remained in existence until shortly before World War II. Then, 16 congregations voted to join the French Reformed Church, while six congregations in southeastern France broke away to become the autonomous Eglises Evangéliques Méthodistes de France (EMF).
Today’s Union de l'Eglise Evangélique Méthodiste en France (UEEMF) originated when, in 1868, the Evangelical Brethern in Germany sent missionaries from Germany, Switzerland, and America into the Alsace-Lorraine region to establish congregations. In southwestern France, missionary work began in 1926 among Swiss immigrants who had settled in Agen after World War I. In the 1980s, missionary work of the congregation in Agen led to new initiatives in Fleurance and Mont de Marsan.
While there had always been contacts between the EMF and the UEEMF, the connection between the two churches has deepened. Today, the EMF, along with two congregations from the Ivory Coast, has been incorporated into the UEEMF and the Annual Conference of Switzerland-France. Chinese, Korean, and Cambodian congregations, which all have the status of associated congregations, meet in the buildings of the Methodist congregations.
The church is in ministry to children and young people, women, and those in need. It supports or is affiliated with homes for the elderly, a retreat center, a center for teenage mothers and diverse Protestant bookstores. Global Ministries partners through active and continuing communication with the leaders of the UEEMF. A National-in-Mission serves as the pastor of the international UMC in Paris.
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