Pastor Christian Krieger, new president of the Protestant Federation of France

The Reverend Christian Krieger, 58, a "man of dialogue" and a convinced European, takes the head of the Protestant Federation of France (FPF) on Saturday, where he will have the task of maintaining the link in a very diverse Protestant world.

Elected to last fall, the pastor took the reins of this institution on Saturday during a general assembly, succeeding François Clavairoly, in this position for nine years.

The FPF is considered by the public authorities as the body representing Protestants. Created in 1905 just after the law of separation of Church and State, it now includes 28 unions of Churches and around 500 communities, institutions, works and movements (Salvation Army, Cimade).

"Experience", "listening and dialogue", "Europe as DNA", "international vision of Protestantism" are the words that come up most often with regard to Christian Krieger, according to several people who have worked with this man in the " multiple strings to his bow”, questioned by AFP.

He was originally a native of Alsace, where the Reformation penetrated very early in the 1964th century. Born in XNUMX in Bas-Rhin into a Protestant family, he confides that he found his vocation “in his high school years”. He studied theology, first in a missionary school in Germany and then at the Faculty of Protestant Theology in Strasbourg.

Originally from the Lutheran Church, he was ordained pastor in 1995 and obtained his first post at the Reformed Church of the Shield, in Strasbourg. For 17 years, he undertook several projects there: biblical and theological training, creation of a gospel choir, construction of a world-renowned organ... He also took the head of an association for women in precarious situations. , Le Home Protestant, is developing accommodation there, "a subject that is really close to my heart", he says.

In 2012, he became president of the Reformed Protestant Church of Alsace and Lorraine (Epral) and vice-president of the Union of Protestant Churches of Alsace and Lorraine (UEPAL).

Secularism, a subject to watch “like milk on fire” 

“I have a real European identity”, testifies to AFP this man with black hair, receding hairline, thin glasses. President of the Conference of European Churches (CEC) since 2018, he brings the voice of these Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican churches to the European institutions.

It is in this context that, in April, he asked Russian Presidents Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for "a ceasefire" between Catholic Easter and Orthodox Easter, and called on the Orthodox Patriarch Kirill "to take a stand clear ". This will prove "a failure", he acknowledges, but "no chance should be left unexploited".

Within the FPF, Christian Krieger played the deminers, when in 2015 tensions arose after the decision of the United Protestant Church of France (EPUdF), the main component of the FPF, to authorize the blessing of same-sex couples. . The Lutheran-Reformed communion trend is favorable to it, which is not the case with the evangelical movement, some of whom want to leave the federation.

With the theologian Valérie Duval-Poujol, the pastor, vice-president of the FPF, will therefore lead a mission for two years that will allow dialogue.

A dialogue which remains a "not easy subject", he admits, wishing for a "fruitful relationship" with the evangelical churches, some of which belong to the FPF, others to the National Council of Evangelicals (Cnef), in full expansion, to others with dual membership.

In society, a subject, secularism, will be “to be watched like milk on the fire”, according to Mr. Krieger. “A permanent debate persists on its understanding”: is the law of 1905 “a law of confinement of the religious in the private sphere? or is it a law of religious freedom? “, he says, recalling that Protestantism is very attached to this last meaning.

He also intends to continue to oppose the law against “separatism” adopted in 2021. The FPF considers it discriminatory and stigmatizing with regard to religions.

Protestants represent 2,5% of the population in mainland France and 5% in the overseas departments and territories, according to the sociologist of religions Jean-Paul Willaime. “Nearly two million” people, claims the FPF.

The Editorial Board (with AFP)

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