Mennonites in France

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The Mennonites in France are religious descendents of the Anabaptist movement. Anabaptists first appeared in the east of France during the early years of the Protestant Reformation. Strasbourg was a haven for all kinds of religious dissidents during this period. From 1528 to 1532, Pilgram Marpeck lived in Strasbourg, serving for two years as a timber supervisor and engineer, before he was expelled from the city because of his Anabaptist activity. After opposition from reformers such as Martin Bucer, all known Anabaptists were expelled from the city (Edict of 16 February 1534). But 20 years later they were again active in Strasbourg. By 1556 there was an Anabaptist congregation of about one hundred in the city. Strasbourg become a favourite location for conferences of Anabaptist ministers, with gatherings being held in 1554, 1555, 1557, 1568, 1592, and 1607.[1] The 1554 conference was reputed to have been attended by 600 Anabaptists. As persecution continued, they tended more and more to live in the country, where there was a greater chance to live out their principles undisturbed. Their numbers were sharply reduced by emigration to America. Repeated attempts were made to expel them from Alsace.

In the 20th century, the French Mennonite churches, which are autonomous, all identify themselves with the evangelical wing of Protestantism. They have formed their own association, the Association des Églises Évangéliques Mennonites de France (AEEMF), which is in dialogue with the main Protestant groupings in France. The AEEMF lists 30 assemblies, mostly in Eastern France, the biggest concentration being in Alsace (Department 68, Haut-Rhin).[2] Only seven of these assemblies have salaried pastors. Latest estimates put the number of French Mennonites at 2000-2400.[3] The Mennonite World Conference has a seat in Strasbourg.

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • J. S. Oyer, The Strasbourg Conferences of the Anabaptists, 1554-1607, Mennonite Quarterly Review, 1984, vol. 58, no.3, pp. 218–229
  • Jean Séguy, Les assemblées anabaptistes-mennonites de France, 1977, ISBN 2-7132-0003-2

External links[edit]