Paris Evangelical Mission Society
- The Paris Mission (officially the Société de missions évangéliques de Paris) is the missionary arm of the Reformed Church of France. It originated early in the 19th century as some French Protestants gathered to pray for and help support the pioneering European missionary-sending agencies such as the Basel Mission and the London Missionary Society. A separate agency for the French-speaking world was formally organized in 1822; soon the Paris Mission had affiliated branches in Holland, Italy, and French-speaking Switzerland. The society accepted support on an interdenominational basis, but found its greatest support from members of the several Reformed churches.The Paris Mission sent missionaries to South Africa in 1829, and they opened work in Lesotho and Zambia. The mission's choice of fields was largely dictated by the growth of the French colonial empire. As the French assumed authority in areas previously evangelized by British, American, and German missionaries, the government introduced Roman Catholicism and moved to restrict or suppress Protestant missionary enterprises. Survival often meant handing control to the Paris Mission. in this way, the mission acquired work in Tahiti and other South Pacific islands, and African centers in Madagascar, Gabon, Togo, and Cameroon. it, of course, also pioneered its own work in other, unevangelized areas that came under French control.After World War II, the Paris Mission worked to facilitate the rapid transformation of its missions into autonomous churches. Having completed that process in 1971, the Paris Mission voted itself out of existence. It passed its remaining resources to the Départaient Francais d'Action Apostolique, a missionary agency serving several French Protestant denominations, and the Communaute Evangélique d'Action Apostolique, an international communion of 47 churches working in French-speaking lands. Both organizations are based in Paris.Further reading:■ Jean Bianquis, Les origines de la Société des Missions Evangéliques de Paris, 1822-1829, 3 vols. (Paris: Societe des Missions Evan-geliques, 1930-35)■ A. Scott Moreau, ed. Evangelical Dictionary of World Missions (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 2000).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.
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