France is located in Western Europe, bordering the Bay of Biscay and English Channel, between Belgium and Spain, southeast of the UK; bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Italy and Spain.
The Reformed Church of France (ERF) has a rich history, originating from the work of John Calvin. Its first synod was held in 1559. Thereafter it suffered severe persecution and martyrdom through more than two centuries of Roman Catholic domination in France. In the 19th century the Reformed Church suffered further from theological conflict within itself, resulting in a split into separate churches. In 1938, the divided bodies were finally reunited, joined at that time also by the small French Methodist Church.
The Reformed Church of France and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of France decided in 2007 to come together into a new church. The United Protestant Church of France has been gradually established over the months since the last national synod, in May 2012. In the autumn the local churches voted to join the new church, which will hold its first national synod in Lyon from 9th to 12th May 2013. The creation of the United Protestant Church of France will mean some changes.
From 1st January 2013, the titles “Reformed Church of France” and “Evangelical Lutheran Church of France” will no longer be used. The new church will be known as the United Protestant Church of France (with the official name in French of Eglise protestante unie de France).
The Protestant community in France comprises roughly 4% of the French population, among a majority Catholic population. In spite of small numbers, the Protestant church maintains an active, progressive, and responsible role in its witness amid an overwhelmingly secular society.
Its leaders report that in recent years in this most extremely de-christianized country in a generally de-christianized Europe, there has been a resurgence of interest in spirituality, as people look again to the churches for answers they have failed to find from other sources.
Population (2014 est) – 66,259,012
Area – 342,700mi
Capital – Paris
Celtic and Latin with Teutonic, Slavic, North African, Indochinese, Basque minorities
Exports – machinery and transportation equipment, aircraft, plastics, chemicals, pharmaceutical products, iron and steel, beverages
Imports – machinery and equipment, vehicles, crude oil, aircraft, plastics, chemicals
Life Expectancy (2014 est) – M 79 years, F 85 years
Infant Mortality (2014 est) – 3.31 deaths/1,000 live births
Adult Illiteracy Rate – 1%