We now have a United Brethren presence in France.
Numbers vary, but most agree that there are approximately 58,000 Haitians and French of Haitian descent living in France today. The vast majority of these reside in the Greater Paris area.
Pastor Oliam Richard, our current national leader in Haiti, immigrated to France with his family in 1983. He planted the L’Eglise de Dieu Primitive in Alfortville (20 km south of Paris). The church meets in a rented location that seats about 200 people. Nearly 50% of attendees are children or young adults.
For some time, there has been discussion regarding the possibility of receiving this congregation into the fellowship of the United Brethren in Christ. So on the occasion of the church’s 35th anniversary, Jeff Bleijerveld, UB Global Executive Director, joined by Pastor Richard, met with the leadership and congregation to officially welcome them into the United Brethren in Christ.
Over the weekend, the church baptized six young adults (4 men, 2 women), and multiple gatherings took place. During the official anniversary celebration, over 200 people crowded into the building, with another 100 listening from the street outside. Jeff had the opportunity to share with them our UB priorities, namely, Gospel, Unity and Mission.
He was pleased to be introduced to another independent Haitian church in a neighboring town which is also interested in becoming United Brethren. Both churches are looking for ways to engage immigrants, whether Haitian or not, as well as the French citizenry, which consists increasingly of Agnostics or Muslims. They believe there is opportunity to multiply disciples and churches in France.
At this time, France is a mission district of UB Global, with strong relational ties to their sister churches in Haiti.