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When the free evangelical churches were formed in 1848, they left the reformed churches to follow their own path. Within these reformed churches, the evangelical movement that initially refused the separation of the free churches struggled to remain free from the liberalism which was gaining more and more ground.
In 1872 the tensions were strong, and the protestants of the evangelical movement, who wished however to keep their reformed status, tried to clarify their situation without for as much joining the evangelical dissidents. In 1879 a first unofficial synod of the evangelical reformed church was held at Paris.
In 1938, following discussions started at the beginning of the thirties, a large number of local churches belonging to several different denominations, decided to unite to form the Église Réformée de France (Reformed Church of France).
A number of communities, however, even though they also were in favour of a greater unity of the body of Christ, decided mainly for doctrinal reasons not to become a part of this new institution. They decided to maintain, without restriction, the Declaration of Faith of 1872 that affirmed, with all the churches of the Reformation in their respective creeds, “the sovereign authority of the Holy Scriptures in matter of faith, and the salvation by faith in Jesus Christ, only Son of God, dead for our sins and resurrected for our justification”.
These communities formed the Union Nationale des Églises Réformées Évangéliques Indépendantes (UNEREI).
As the pastor Charles Nicolas has commented “It must be noted that the EREI are not the result of a separation, but rather the result of the refusal of a union judged to lack sufficient grounding!”.
At the national synod at Bagard which took place from the 13th to the 15th March 2009, the UNEREI changed its name to become the “Union Nationale des Églises Protestantes Réformées Évangéliques de France” (UNEPREF).