Protestant Church of Algeria
(Eglise protestante d'Algérie)
The official name of the church as recognized by Algerian authorities is in English: "Association of the Protestant Church of Algeria". Protestantism was present in Algeria from the early years of French colonization. The first synod of Reformed churches was held in 1843, and Methodists began their work in North Central Algeria (Bougie) in 1883, under the inspiration of the French Methodist Church, and organized in annual conferences (according to linguistic affinities). Many other denominations or missions have also served in Algeria, including the Adventists, Anglicans, Baptists, Mennonites, Pentecostals, and others. The association as it exists today, which takes the form of a federation of communities, was founded in 1972 by the coming together of the United Methodist and French Reformed communities in Algeria. At about the same time, the Mennonite, Salvation Army, and Church of God communities disappeared, and their members were incorporated into the Protestant Church of Algeria. Adventists and Anglicans exist alongside (and outside of) the Protestant Church.
The number of individual members of the church is not precise, as accurate records are not kept up-to-date by the constituent communities. The real number is somewhere between 5,000 and 15,000 in the entire country. The other Protestant faithful unattached to the Protestant Church of Algeria represent a group of about the same size. In addition to the member communities, the church is in relation with about fifteen communities that have asked to be included, and with which the church is in accompaniment (organization, training, etc.).
Since its foundation, many Algerian Christians have joined the church andhave brought a new personality to it. These new communities are extremelydiverse, ranging from very traditional to very informal and charismatic. They arealso very enterprising in their outreach, with varying degrees of "discipline" andmethod. The witness is not simply verbal, however, as there is considerableemphasis on the diaconal aspects of witness: there are no more clinics or hospitals, but many church members are involved in educational projects, in lay training programmes, in continuing training of leadership, in the opening and operation of day-care schools, kindergartens, publications, translation projects, specific church-school programmes of the different communities, choral groups and choirs, audiovisual activities and production, and church planting. A priority is the training of the current and future leadership for emerging communities.