Registered address: 28 Boulevard Justin Grandthille, 51000 Châlons en Champagne
The Union d’Églises Missionnaires (UDEM), originally known as the Fédération Évangélique Missionnaire (FEM), is a group of evangelical pentecostal churches which was created in 1989. These churches are part of the protestant movement that resulted from the Reformation. Their distinguishing feature is the importance that they place on the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
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The history of the FEM is first and foremost, the story of M. René Kennel its founder.
Having studied at the Bible Institute of Nogent-sur-Marne in the 1940s, he became a Mennonite preacher in the Meuse in 1950. It was here that he came into contact with some gipsy evangelicals, and following an evangelistic campagne organised by them at Joinville in the Haute-Marne, a group of believers was formed. They asked M. Kennel to lead them.
In 1964 M. Kennel was accepted as pastor of the church at Saint-Dizier, while still having charge of the Joinville church. It wasn’t until a few years later that he became full-time pastor of these two churches, leaving behind the farm that he tended up till then.
In 1977, M. Nicolle, the pastor of an independant pentecostal church at Besançon, decided to leave the ministry, and asked M. Kennel to replace him. M. Kennel accepted, and following the arrival of several others in the pastoral team, five new places of worship were opened and supported by their work in the years leading up to 1986.
In the following years several more places of worship were opened in the North and the East of France. In 1989 the statutes of the FEM were declared to the French authorities, giving an official status to the work done by this group of churches and the thirty or so pastors who now worked with them.