Union of Protestant Churches in Alsace and Lorraine
(Union des Églises protestantes d'Alsace et de Lorraine, UEPAL)
In 2006 the Protestant Church of the Augsburg Confession of Alsace and Lorraine (EPCAAL) and the Reformed Church of Alsace and Lorraine (EPRAL) established the Union of Protestant Churches of Alsace and Lorraine (UEPAL). The new body is not a united church but it provides a common decision making structure and a single body of pastors.
Very early, the region of Alsace-Moselle embraced the ideas of the Reformation. Already in 1521 the theses of Luther were defended in the Cathedral Church of Strasbourg, which became an important centre of the Reformation movement through the activities and stories of Martin Bucer. The Protestants of Strasbourg were followers of Luther. It was Jean Calvin himself who founded the first Reformed congregation in Strasbourg, but it is a small minority community. Metz, Mulhouse, and other cities in the region adhered to the "reformed" stream (Calvinistic or Zwinglian). That history of separation is at the origin of the distinction between the EPCAAL (Lutheran) and the Reformed Church of Alsace and Lorraine (EPRAL).
The particular confessional status foreseen by the Treaty of Westphalia (1648) made the implementation of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1685) impossible in this region. In 1905, the region was under German rule and hence was not concerned by the separation of church and state. In other words, Alsace-Moselle was not affected by the two major turning points in the history of French Protestantism. As a result, the pastors (like the priests and rabbis) are paid by the state and religious instruction is given in the schools.
By virtue of their geographical situation, the Protestant churches of Alsace and Moselle play a bridging role between the Protestant minorities of southern Europe and the Protestant majority churches in the North of the continent.