French Evangelicals Defy Decline - Open A New Church Every 10 Days

Evangelicalism in France is on the rise, a study by the National Council of Evangelicals in France (CNEF) has found.

The study reported by Evangelical Focus shows around 35 new evangelical churches were opened in France last year or three a month.

The nature of France's commitment to secularism is being questioned.Reuters

Daniel Liechti, the president of the CNEF's New Church Plants Committee told French newspaper La Croix that the growth of evangelical Christians in France had been steady during the last 20 years. However, he said: "Within two years we may be able to say that this pace is even accelerating slightly more."

The study takes account of churches that have closed, leading to an accurate picture of growth in France. However, it refers only to churches that are in membership with CNEF, which represents around 70 per cent of all evangelical churches in the country.

There are around 650,000 evangelical Christians in France, around a third of all Protestants, and according to CNEF study the numb has increased tenfold in the last 60 years.

France is an overwhelmingly Catholic country, with an estimated 56 per cent of the population having been baptised. However, it suffers from an aging and over-stretched priesthood and a shortage of vocations, and weekly mass-going is estimated at only around six per cent.