Protestant Church of Algeria

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Protestant Church of Algeria
Logo of the Eglise protestante d'Algérie
Logo of the Eglise protestante d'Algérie
Classification Protestant
Orientation Reformed[1]
Leader Mustapha Krim
Associations WCC, WEA, MECC, FMEEC, All Africa Conference of Churches, WCRC, WMC
Region Algeria
Headquarters Algiers
Origin 1972
Merge of Reformed Church, Methodist Church
Congregations 11-14 (see article)
Members 100,000-150,000 (see article)
Ministers 21
Other name(s) Eglise protestante d'Algérie

The Protestant Church of Algeria (EPA French: Eglise protestante d'Algérie) is a federation of Protestant churches from the Reformed and Methodist traditions established in 1972 in Algeria. It is officially recognised by the government of Algeria as the Association of the Protestant Church of Algeria (French: Association de l'Eglise protestante d'Algérie).[1]

While exact numbers are not precise, estimates of members range from 100,000 to 150,000 in about 40 to 50 parishes nationwide, primarily in the northern coastal region of the country.[1][2]

History[edit]

Protestantism has been present in Algeria since the early days of French rule in Algeria. The first synod of the Reformed churches was held in 1843 and the French Methodists began mission work in Béjaïa aroun 1883.[1] By 1914, American Methodist missionaries were also well established in Algeria.[3] After the traumatic independence of Algeria, many local Christians fled the country and by 1970, mission run schools and properties have been nationalised.[4]

Federation[edit]

In 1972, the French Reformed communities and the Methodist communities in Algeria federated into a single body known as the Protestant Church of Algeria.[1] The EPA was officially recognised by the Algerian authorities in 1974 as representing the Protestant community in the country.[5]

De-registration and church closures[edit]

In 1990, a new law, Ordinance 90-31, was passed in Algeria requiring religious organizations to update their status. The EPA attempted to do so but failed and was subsequently de-registered by the Algerian government, making it an illegal organization.[5] In 2006, Ordinance 06-03 was passed in Algeria to regulate religious places of worship to register with the government in order to operate.[6] This resulted in churches being closed and regular ministry to Christians being curtailed, particularly in Kabylie.[7]

The EPA and other Christian communities in Algeria continued to receive harassment by Algerian government throughout the period with churches being closed and Christians arrested and charged for conversion, proselytization, and blasphemy[8]

Re-legalisation[edit]

On 18 July 2011, the EPA was granted re-registration by the Algerian government.[9] This has opened the door for formal dialogue between the EPA and the Algerian government on the issues faced by Algerian Christians in the country, including initial discussions on reform and the possible abolition of Ordinance 06-03.[9]

Affiliations[edit]

The EPA is affiliated with the following bodies and participates in ecumenical work:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f World Council of Churches: Regional Members: Protestant Church of Algeria
  2. ^ Reformed Online: Eglise protestante d Algerie
  3. ^ Farhadian, Charles E.; Robert W. Hefner (2012). Introducing World Christianity. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-4051-8248-5. 
  4. ^ [United Methodist Church in Central and South Europe: UMC in North Africa
  5. ^ a b International Christian Concern: Algerian Protestant Churches Approved for Government Registration
  6. ^ "Provincial Official in Algeria Orders Churches to Close". Compass Direct News. 25 May 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  7. ^ "Why Authorities Have Begun Clamping Down on Christians". Open Doors International. 27 May 2008. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  8. ^ "Country News: Algeria". Compass Direct News. Compass Direct News. Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  9. ^ a b "Les relations des protestants algériens avec l’Etat sont en voie de normalisation ! », confie optimiste Mustapha Krim". Fédération romande d'Eglises évangéliques (in French). Fédération romande d'Eglises évangéliques. Retrieved 11 December 2011. 
  10. ^ "Église Protestante d’Algérie joins the WEA" (Press release). World Evangelical Alliance. 1 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-12. 
  11. ^ "WCRC churches". World Communion of Reformed Churches. World Communion of Reformed Churches. Retrieved 11 December 2011. 

External links[edit]