Methodism was first taken into France from the Channel Islands at the instigation of a Guernsey businessman, Jean Angel. He encouraged Thomas Coke to visit Paris in 1791 and two of his friends, William Mahy and Jean de Quetteville, began a mission with Coke's support. After the Napoleonic Wars it was taken under the wing of the WMMS and from 1819 was consolidated under the leadership of Charles Cook. A semi-autonomous French Conference was formed in 1852. But financial dependence on British Methodism continued and in the wake of the Franco-Prussian War the 1871 Conference was persuaded by Cook's son Emile to launch a special Relief Fund. Methodism was found mainly in the Paris area, Normandy, parts of central and eastern France, the Midi and French-speaking Switzerland. In 1939 all but a minority of churches and members united with the French Reformed Church to become the French Reformed Church (Eglise Réformée). Those which stayed out (known as the Evangelical Methodist Church) were in the Midi, where relations with the state-supported Reformed churches had been unhappy. An English-speaking church was located in the Rue Roquépine, Paris from 1862 until 1977, its first pastor being William Gibson. The Evangelical Methodist Church is affiliated to the World Methodist Council and in 2002 reported 950 members and a total community of 1,650.
See also Gallienne, Matthieu; Toase, William
Entry written by: SJP
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