PCC Member Churches
- American Samoa
- Cook Islands
- Federated States of Micronesia
- Kanaky (New Caledonia)
- Maohi Nui (French Polynesia)
- Marshall Islands
- Papua New Guinea
- Solomon Islands
- West Papua
Background:American Samoa is situated in the Samoan archipelago, part of Polynesia, and was settled some 2000 years ago by migrants from south-east Asia. The island group was divided by the United States and Germany in 1899. American Samoa is a self-governing unincorporated territory of the USA with a traditional Polynesian economy in which more than 90 percent of the land is communally owned. The economy is buoyed by remittances from Samoans who live and work in the US – many in the military. Tuna fishing and processing plants are the backbone of the private sector. Samoa’s economic development is hampered by its remoteness and limited transportation. The Congregational Christian Church is the majority church. Pentecostal with independent churches making significant inroads in the last decades. The national council of churches groups together the Protestant churches and the Catholic church. The Methodist churches in American Samoa and Samoa form one church. Congregational Church of American Samoa The Congregational Christian Church in Samoa was created as an independent assembly in 1980. Until (Western) Samoa’s independence in 1964, Congregationalists in Western and American Samoa lived in different political situations but shared the same cultural and confessional tradition. The CCCAS is a self-supporting, self-governing and self-propagating church. In 1983 it established its own theological college in Kanana Fou, which offers a diploma in theological studies and a BD degree, and serves also the Ekalesia Kelisiano Tuvalu. It operates an elementary and a high school. The church emphasizes youth activities both locally and at the national level, and has undertaken the construction of a multi-purpose youth centre. It is concerned with problems in the Samoan society such as drug and alcohol abuse and the influx of religious sects. The church has sent missionaries and fraternal workers to Africa, Europe, the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, to other Pacific nations and to the United States. Church family – Reformed Churches Headquarters – Pago Pago, American Samoa Present in – Aotearoa (New Zealand), Australia, United States Membership – 39,000 Pastors – 130 Congregations - 115 National Council of Churches in American Samoa Founded in 1985, the council includes the following churches: Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Church of Jesus Christ and the Church of the Nazarene. Members believe that it is God's will for all denominations in Samoa to become one and the council was established so as to attain that goal of oneness. Member churches believe in the only true God, the Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God; as revealed in the Holy Bible, through his saving works we have been redeemed. We mutually accept the Holy Bible as our only guidance in our faith and what we do. Mission statement: Witnessing and serving God faithfully, with respect to each member's faith and doctrinal beliefs.
Background: Polynesians settled Aotearoa some time between 1280 and 1350, making it the last habitable land mass occupied by humans. The majority of New Zealanders are now of European descent but the indigenous Maori are the largest minority group. Thousands of Pacific islanders now live and work in Aotearoa which controlled the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga as an extension of the British Empire for several decades. It is a developed country and ranks highly in international comparisons of national performance, such as quality of life, education, and protection of civil liberties, government transparency, and economic freedom. Tolerant of all religions, Aotearoa has a vibrant Pacific community with active church congregations throughout the country. The Pacific Conference of Churches’ 2018 General Assembly was hosted in Auckland by the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga with support from Fijian Methodists and Samoan Congregationalists and the Cook Islands Christian Church. This was an effort to unite the ecumenical community and celebrate the diversity of the Pacific household. Maori Council of Churches: Te Runanga Whakawhanaunga i Nga Hahi A Maori section existed within the former National Council of Churches in New Zealand (later the Conference of Churches in Aotearoa New Zealand). In 1982, the member churches of this Maori section decided to form their own, autonomous council of churches. The aim of the Te Runanga Whakawhanaunga I nga Hahi o Aotearoa is: "In our own life, witness, and service, to try and make more visible our unity in Christ, and promote the concerns and programmes of the ecumenical movement among our own constitutional members." Other members are the Anglican Church, Baptist Union, Catholic, Presbyterian and Methodist churches. Methodist Church of New Zealand (Te Haahi Weteriana o Aotearoa) Wesleyan (Methodist) missionary work in New Zealand began in 1822. Missionaries from Britain initially ministered to the largely Maori population, and later to the new migrants. The first New Zealand annual conference of the Australasian (Australia and New Zealand) Wesleyan Methodist Conference was held in 1874. Also active in New Zealand were the United Methodist, the Free Church, and the Bible Christian Church. These groups came together with the Wesleyans to form the first Australasian Methodist Conference in 1897. Separation from the General Conference of Australasia came in 1913 and in the same year the Primitive Methodist Church in New Zealand and the existing Methodist Church joined to form one Methodist Church. In the 1960s the Methodist Church played an active role in negotiating a plan for union by five churches: the Anglican, Presbyterian, Congregational churches and the Associated Churches of Christ. The plan failed. Nevertheless the Methodist Church of New Zealand remains committed to ecumenism. In 2005, 85 of its 158 parishes were in active cooperation with one or more of the four former negotiating churches. It has always been a member of the national ecumenical bodies. In its urban and rural settings, the church, through its parishes and social service agencies, is seeking to relate the gospel to human need. It is also responding to newly emerging social situations such as the impacts of globalization, breaking the cycle of poverty, caring for creation, and overcoming violence. As the church looks to the future, the roles of women, laity and the ordained ministry continue to be reassessed. In 1983 the church decided to move towards becoming a bi-cultural church. This recognizes the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi which was entered into by two parties representing the original people of the land and the later immigrant populations. In the following years the church has worked at ways of developing equality in decision-making, stronger partnerships with, and sharing of resources with the Maori section of the church, which now has its own autonomy within the life of the Methodist Church. As migration from other Pacific countries has continued (beginning in the 1970s), ethnic groupings of Samoan, Fijian and Tongan members have assumed a greater and a stronger identity within the life of the church and are making a significant contribution to its diversity and richness. More recently Asian migration, particularly of Koreans, Sri Lankans, and Chinese, has added to this diversity. Church family – Methodist Churches Based in – Aotearoa New Zealand Membership – 18,548 Pastors – 353 Congregations – 1600 Website: www.methodist.org.nz Presbyterian Church in Aotearoa New Zealand Scottish immigrants and their pastors landed at the place where the city of Wellington now stands and in 1848, the Otago Presbyterian Church settlement was founded. It embraced the southern part of the colony and was administered by its own synod. The rest of the country was cared for by the northern church's general assembly. In 1901, an act of union merged them in what is now the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand. The church's 23 presbyteries cover the whole country and include a growing number of Pacific island parishes, and a Maori synod which cares for Maori people. The PCANZ is the third largest denomination in New Zealand. Despite a decline in membership, it maintains a well-trained parish ministry, overseas mission in partnership with various indigenous churches, and a very active programme of social service. The church is involved in around 118 union and cooperating parishes, with the Anglican Church, Associated Churches of Christ, the Congregational Union and Methodist churches. Through the late nineties the Presbyterian Church clarified its direction. It adopted a mission statement and the goal of developing and sustaining healthy congregations. The statement emphasizes the importance of structures to support congregations. The focus is on leadership development, serving the needs of youth and families, enhancing structures and processes to respond to a changing environment, contributing to debate on spiritual, cultural and ethical matters and communicating the church's identity. Alongside presbyteries and parishes, achieving these goals is the work of the council of the assembly, the assembly service team and policy groups. Groups including resourcing for mission policy, administration and finance, equipping the leadership, connecting with society and overseas mission and partnership policy, all exist to support the church in its work. Church family – Reformed Churches Based in – Aotearoa New Zealand Membership – 29,000 Pastors – 400 Congregations – 434
Background: Australia is the largest country in the region and for a large part of the 20th century, exercised control over what are now the independent Pacific states of Nauru and Papua New Guinea. Inhabited for some 65,000 years, it is the largest land mass in the Pacific. Australia’s population, eco-system and economy is diverse and it holds tremendous influence at various levels throughout the region. Today, Australia is home to much of the Pacific diaspora, including communities from every island in the region. Uniting Church The Uniting Church is the third largest denomination in Australia, behind the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches. It was formed in 1977through a merger of the Congregational, Methodist and Presbyterian Churches throughout Australia. Minorities of Congregationalists and Presbyterians stayed out of the union. The church has a strong ecumenical commitment, with national dialogues with nine other Australian churches. It seeks close cooperation and further union with other churches. The closest relationships and greatest cooperation are with the Anglican and Lutheran churches and the Churches of Christ (Disciples). While the origins of this church lie in Europe, particularly in the United Kingdom, its present and future lie very much with Asia and the Pacific. The Uniting Church declared itself to be a multicultural church in 1985, and now includes in its membership over 150 congregations of Asian and Pacific migrants. Another initiative taken in the 1980s was the establishment of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress, the semi-autonomous indigenous arm of the church. The Congress leads the church's ministry and mission with indigenous Australians, and is one of the largest indigenous organizations in the country. The church manages a huge national network of community services, collectively called Uniting Care. Its agencies are found in every corner of the country and provide employment for over 70,000 Australians. The Uniting Church follows a largely Presbyterian format, with local elders and church councils, 50 presbyteries, six synods and one national assembly. It is committed to the best of Christian scholarship, with six theological colleges and a distance education facility. The church has been instrumental in pioneering interfaith relationships in Australia. In the early 1990s the church moved to a consensus form of decision-making in the councils of the church, a system which has been adapted since by several other denominations and ecumenical bodies. Church family – Reformed Churches Based in – Australia Membership – 350,000 Pastors – 1500 Congregations - 1600
Cook Islands Christian ChurchThe Cook Islands Christian Church is the largest religious organisation in the country. It also has congregations in New Zealand and Australia. Like many Polynesian churches, the CICC has its origins in the work of the London Missionary Society which began work in the Cook Islands in 1821. In 1852, the LMS founded the Cook Islands LMS Church. The church became autonomous in 1968 with the passage of the Cook Islands Christian Church Incorporation Act by the parliament. This Act officially changed the church's name to the Cook Islands Christian Church. In 1978, the CICC established its first congregation in Auckland to accommodate church members who had emigrated to New Zealand. Today, there are 24 congregations in the Cook Islands, and 22 churches in New Zealand and 15 in Australia. The church employs 74 pastors who are trained at the Takamoa Theological College, Rarotonga. Church family – Reformed Based in – Cook Islands Membership – 18,000 Pastors – 74 Congregations – 79 Website: www.cicc.net.uk
Roman Catholic Diocese of Rarotonga (CEPAC)The Roman Catholic Diocese of Rarotonga is a suffragan diocese of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Suva in Fiji. It was erected as the Prefecture Apostolic of Cook e Mnihiki in 1922, elevated to the Vicariate Apostolic of Cook Islands in 1948 and elevated as the Diocese of Rarotonga in 1966. The church operates a primary and secondary school. It is represented at the Pacific Conference of Churches by the Conferentia Episcopalis Pacifici (CEPAC) – the Episcopal Conference of the Pacific – an umbrella organisation for Catholic bishops outside PNG and the Solomon Islands. Church family – Reformed Based in – Cook Islands Membership – 3000 Priests – 9 Congregations – 15
Background: The Federated States of Micronesia is an island country in the Northern Pacific consisting of four states – Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei and Kosrae. The states comprise around 607 islands with a combined land area of 702 km2. The FSM is situated northeast of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, south of Guam and the Marianas, west of Nauru and the Marshall islands. The FSM’s territorial waters cover more than 2,6 million km2 (1,003,866 sq mi) of the Pacific Ocean, giving it the 14th largest exclusive economic zone. Its capital, Palikir, is located on Pohnpei Island. Each of its four states is centered on one or more main high islands and all but Kosrae include numerous atolls. The FSM was formerly a part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands a United Nations Territory under US administration. It formed its own constitutional government on May 10, 1979, becoming a sovereign state after independence was attained on November 3, 1986, under a Compact of Free Association with the US. Nukuno Protestant Churches Association United Churches of Christ Pohnpei The United Church of Christ - Congregational in Pohnpei (UCCP) grew out of the mission of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. The United Church of Christ – formed in the United States – has strong German reformation and mission traditions. In Pohnpei, the church has strong local traditions and its congregations have spread to Hawaii where many of the islanders now live and work. Church family – Reformed Based in – Federated States of Micronesia, US
Background: Fiji was settled more than 3000 years ago in several migratory waves – among them the Lapita People. European records of Fiji begin in 1642 with the sighting by Dutch navigator, Abel Tasman. Sandalwood and whales brought traders to Fiji with missionaries arriving in 1830 and the Wesleyan mission was established in 1835. With the conversion of local chiefs, British influence increased and the islands were ceded to Queen Victoria in 1874. Indian labourers arrived in 1879 to work the sugar cane fields and since then Fiji has been a cosmopolitan country. As seat of the Western Pacific High Commission, Fiji provided higher education opportunities and training for several British colonies in the region, a position it retains even after independence in 1970. Fiji remains an aviation and shipping hub and its industries include tourism, manufacturing, gold and textiles. With a large diaspora community, the country’s economy has become increasingly reliant on remittances. Fiji has suffered four coups since 1987 and the country continues to struggle with ethnic and religious differences. It has become obvious that the church must become an instrument of peace, justice and unity in the multicoloured society of Fiji. Diocese of Polynesia: Tikanga Pasefika The Diocese of Polynesia serves Anglicans in Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and the Cook Islands, within the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia. The diocese's first bishop was consecrated in 1908 and its diocese's cathedral – the Holy Trinity Cathedral – is in Suva, Fiji. Under the new model of leadership now adopted by the Anglican Church in New Zealand, the Bishop of Polynesia is automatically one of the three co-presiding bishops and archbishops. Each of these three metropolitan archbishop to his respective tikanga, and informally they also share the primacy, although in practice they are required to elect one of their number to be the formal primate to serve on the international Anglican Communion Primates’ Meeting. The Anglican Church established its mission in Fiji in 1870 and has been involved since then in ministering to the Indian community and the descendants of ni-Vanuatu and Solomon Islanders who were trafficked to work on cotton and copra plantations. It continues to support the education system with 10 primary and secondary schools throughout Fiji. Church family – Anglican Based in – Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga Fiji Council of Churches The Fiji Council of Churches provided an ecumenical platform for work on social justice and national unity until the civilian coup of 2000 when the Methodist Church in Fiji took the leading role in the formation of the Assembly of Christian Churches in Fiji. The assembly sought to include Pentecostal churches in an effort to bring greater unity, healing and transformation. With the advent of the ACCF, the Fiji Council of Churches began to fade in importance and influence but it was revived in 2014 with the help of the pacific Conference of Churches. Its current members are the Anglican, Baptist, Methodist and Roman Catholic churches with the Salvation Army. Methodist Church in Fiji Three Tahitian teachers of the London Missionary Societ arrived in Fiji in 1830. But it was in 1835 that the Wesleyan Missionary Society (Methodist) from Australia began working in the islands. In 1854, many notable chiefs of Fiji became Christian. Following these conversions, many people openly confirmed their faith in the gospel. As the church grew, Fijians went out as missionaries to the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and North Australia. When British rule was established in Fiji in 1874, the government became the third strand in the Fijian consciousness, called Matanitu, along with the two other strands, the way of the land (Vanua), and Christianity (Lotu). For a century and a half, the Methodist Church in Fiji has enjoyed the close working together of these three strands. Starting in 1879, large numbers of Indians were brought to Fiji by the British, to work as indentured labourers in the sugar cane industry. They came with their religion, language, culture, and customs. The Methodist Mission responded to this new challenge by setting up the Indian Mission in 1892. Fiji’s churches have been actively involved in providing education throughout the country’s 300-odd islands. Church family – Methodist Based in – Fiji Membership – 212,680 Pastors – 430 Congregations – 2860 Website: www.methodistfiji.org Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Suva (CEPAC) The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Suva is a Metroploitan archdiocese in Fiji with responsibility for the suffragan dioceses of Rarotonga, Tarawa and Nauru, and the Mission Sui Iuris of Funafuti, The archdiocese was created in 1966 to succeed the Apostolic Vicariate of Fiji. In 1844 the first Catholic missionaries – French priests of the Society of Mary – arrived on Lakeba in the Lau Group but it was several years before a church was established at Levuka. Today, the church operates primary and secondary schools throughout Fiji along with a teachers’ college and the Pacific Regional Seminary. It is represented at the Pacific Conference of Churches by the Conferentia Episcopalis Pacifici (CEPAC) – the Episcopal Conference of the Pacific – an umbrella organisation for Catholic bishops outside PNG and the Solomon Islands. Church family – Catholic Based in – Fiji Membership – 64,000 Pastors – 88 Congregations – 2860 Website: www.aosfiji.org St Andrews Presbyterian Church In 1883 a Presbyterian Church was built in Fiji’s capital, Suva, and it developed over the years through the work of New Zealanders – most who worked for the colonial service – and the Gilbertese (i-Kiribati) community. Over the years, St Andrews became home to Presbyterians from the region who studied at the local university or worked in regional institutions. Since the late 1980s a number of Korean immigrant families have boosted the church’s congregation. Church family – Reformed Based in – Fiji Membership – 200 Pastors – 1
Eglise Protestante de Kanaky Nouvelle Caledonie: Protestant Church of Kanaky (New Caledonia) This church is the fruit of the work of the London Missionary Society (LMS) and the Paris Evangelical Missionary Society. From the very first contact of the LMS with the Pacific in 1779 in Tahiti, an in-depth effort was made to form Polynesians for the propagation of the gospel. Native agencies were set up in Samoa and the Cook Islands, from where Polynesian evangelists went to evangelize the islands of the South Pacific. They began working in what are now New Caledonia and the Loyalty Isles from 1841 onwards, well before the arrival of the first missionary from the Paris Missionary Society in 1902. During this period the Protestant Church in New Caledonia depended first on the LMS and was led subsequently by the Paris Mission. In 1958 a division occurred which resulted in the creation of two churches one of which, the Evangelical Church in New Caledonia and the Loyalty Isles, became autonomous in 1969. The church attaches much importance to its cultural identity. It seeks to accompany the Kanaky people in their search for dignity and the community in its quest for emancipation, in view of shaping a new identity. To this end, the church is involved in a major effort of training national leadership. Church family – Reformed Presbyterian Based in – Kanaky New Caledonia Membership – 30,000 Pastors – 60 Congregations – 90 Website: www.epknc.nc
Background: Kiribati – formerly the Gilbert Islands – is an independent island nation in the Central Pacific comprising 32 atolls and a raised coral island, Banaba, covering 811 square kilometres dispersed over 3.5 million km2 of ocean. It stands on the frontline of the battle against climate change with constantly rising sea levels, an increasing population and few options for relocation. Kiribati has bought land in Fiji which may be used to plant food or provide a relocation site. Kiribati gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1979. It is one of the least developed countries in the world and is highly dependent on international aid for its economy but its huge fisheries resources could change its economic circumstances. Kiribati Uniting Church The first resident missionary to today's Kiribati arrived with some Hawaiian pastors in 1857, through the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Mission (ABCFM). They settled in Northern Kiribati and established a school to teach young people to read and write. Although their success in evangelization was limited, their greatest contribution was the translation of the Bible, completed in 1893 and the translation of Christian hymns into the Kiribati language. In 1870 Samoan missionaries arrived in Sothern Kiribati with a missionary from the London Missionary Society (LMS). A boarding school, a training institution for pastors and a printing press were established in 1900. The ABCFM finally left in 1917 and entrusted all the schools and churches in Northern and Central Kiribati to the London Missionary Society. In 1920 local pastors started to help the Samoan pastors in the evangelization and recruiting for pastors from Samoa gradually ended. By 1945, after World War II, the local pastors gradually took over from the Samoans and started to prepare plans for autonomy which culminated at the first general assembly of the Gilbert Island Protestant Church in 1968. The name changed to Kiribati Protestant Church in 1979 when the Gilbert Islands - the larger part of the British Gilbert and Ellice Islands colony - became independent as the Republic of Kiribati. It was changed again to Kiribati Uniting Church at its general assembly in 2014, following the integration of other denominational families, including Congregationalists, Evangelicals, Anglicans and Presbyterians. The Kiribati Uniting Church now represents approximately one-third of the population of Kiribati. The Kiribati Protestant Church is actively involved in youth and Sunday school progammes, women's activities, mission to seamen (a joint venture with the Roman Catholic Church), chaplaincy work, vocational training for young men and women, and secondary schools. Pastors are trained at Tangintebu Theological College. Church family – Reformed Based in – Kiribati Membership – 40,000 Pastors – 209 Congregations – 136 Kiribati National Council of Churches Formed in 1979, the council brings together the Catholic Church, Church of God, Kiribati Protestant and Kiribati Uniting churches. Basis for membership is belief in the Holy Trinity. Roman Catholic Church (CEPAC) The Roman Catholic Diocese of Tarawa and Nauru is in Kiribati and Nauru. It is a suffragan diocese of the Archdiocese of Suva and was erected as the Vicariate Apostolic of the Gilbert Islands in 1897 and later elevated to as the Diocese of Tarawa 1966. There was a name change in 1978 and, in 1982, the diocese was split from the Mission Sui Iuris of Funafuti. The diocese has jurisdiction over all of Kiribati and Nauru. Catholicism entered Kiribati through labourers Betero and Tiroi who were converted by Catholic missionaries while working on plantations in the Pacific. The two men returned to Nonouti and instructed the local people about Catholicism. They built eight small churches, where people of different villages assembled each Sunday to sing hymns and recite prayers. Betero and Tiroi had baptized 560 people and were instructing an additional 600. The men wrote to many Catholic bishops requesting missionaries and priests who arrived in 1888 through the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart from Sydney, Australia. Church family – Roman Catholic Based in – Kiribati, Nauru Membership – 63,644 Pastors – 28 Congregations – 22 (1 in Nauru)
Background: Maohi comprises 118 geographically dispersed islands and atolls stretching over more than 2000 kilometres. Total land area is 4167 square kilometres. The territory was the site for French nuclear testing for 34 years on the atolls of Moruroa and Fangataufa. Local churches continue to seek reparation for damage to the land and sea and for illnesses caused to the population. Indigenous politicians have successfully called for Maohi to be included in the United Nations list of territories for decolonisation (C24). Traders and whaling ships also visited. In 1842, the French took over the islands and established a protectorate. The indigenous people of Maohi are skilled Polynesian sailors and craftsmen. France began its political control over the islands in 1842 to protect Catholic missionaries and has remained ever since. Maohi’s economy is reliant on tourism and French military forces. Etaretia Porotetani Maohi The church – previously known as the Evangelical Church of French Polynesia - grew out of the work of the London Missionary Society which arrived in Tahiti in 1797 The LMS was replaced by the Paris Mission Society in 1863 which, as of 1884, was assisted in its work by a senior council, later called general senior council (1927). The Evangelical Church of French Polynesia became autonomous in 1963. More than half of the population of the territory belongs to the Maohi Protestant Church. The official language is Reo Maohi (Tahitian). There is one francophone and one Chinese-speaking congregation. The church is organized according to the synodal-presbyterian system and is independent financially. The Maohi Protestant Church struggles with the issues of cultural identity and social development. Its role in preserving the language and traditional songs ("Himene Tarava") is widely recognized. Other important concerns of the church are alcoholism, and the impact of nuclear testing performed by France from 1966 to 1996 on the atolls of Moruroa and Fangataufa. Church family – Reformed Based in – Maohi (French Polynesia) Membership – 130,000 Pastors – 77 Congregations – 96 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/etaretiaporotetanimaohi/ Roman Catholic Church (CEPAC) The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Papeete is a Metroplolitan Archdiocese in Maohi (French Polynesia). It is responsible for the suffragan diocese of Taiohae o Tefenuaenata. The diocese was elevated to the Archdiocese of Papeete in 1966 Church family – Roman Catholic Based in – Maohi (French Polynesia) Membership –104,000 Pastors – 30 Congregations – 96 Website: www.diocespapeete.com
Background: The Marshall Islands is an independent island country near the Equator in the Northern Pacific. Its population is around 58,000 people living on five islands and 29 atolls with a population density of 295 people per square kilometre. Island colonists reached the Marshall Islands on canoes in the 2nd Millennium BC using traditional stick charts. The first Europeans arrived in the 1520s. Spain claimed the islands in 1592 and some of the islands were sold to Germany in 1885, becoming part of German New Guinea, Japan occupied the Marshall Islands in 1920 and control shifted to the United States after World War II. In 1979 the Marshalls were granted independence in free association with the US. The majority of the citizens of the Republic of Marshall Islands, formed in 1982, are of Marshallese descent, though there are small numbers of immigrants from the United States, China and the Philippines. United Church of Christ in the Marshall Islands The work of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (now the Wider Church Ministry of the United Church of Christ) led to the formation of the United Church of Christ in the Marshall Islands. Most of the mission work was carried out by Pacific islanders, giving the church a predominantly indigenous life. When the United Church of Christ came into being in the USA in 1957, the church in the Marshall Islands took the same name. Full autonomy was achieved in 1972. After some internal difficulties a dissident group established the Reformed Congregational Church, and the UCCCIM took its present name. The church runs nine elementary schools and four high schools. Its pastors are trained at the Marshall's Theological College. The highest authority of the church is the assembly. A board of directors composed of seven men provides leadership in between the meetings of the assembly. The Church Women Fellowship has its own executive board. The UCCCMI has some congregations in the Los Angeles, Honolulu and Eugene (Oregon). Church family – Reformed Based in – Marshall Islands, United States Membership – 40,225 Pastors – 52 Congregations – 38
Background: Nauru was first inhabited by Polynesians and Melanesians while contact with European whalers began in the late 18th century. Germany annexed the island in 1888 and Christianity arrived in Nauru at the end of the 19th century, and began to impact Nauruan culture. After Germany’s defeat in World War I, Nauru was jointly administered by Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain until Japanese occupation in World War II. In 1968, Nauru adopted its Constitution and became one of the world's smallest independent, democratic states. Phosphate mining made Nauru a rich country but mismanagement saw the loss of real estate assets in Australia and the United States. In the mid-2000s the island became a refugee processing site for people trying to enter Australia. Nauru Congregational Church The Nauru Congregational Church is the largest religious denomination on the island. In 1887 the first members of the London Missionary Society arrived. The NCC is a Protestant Congregationalist denomination with seven congregations on the island. It has recently ordained its first women pastors. More than 60 per cent of Nauruans are protestant. Church family – Congregational Based in – Nauru Membership – 10,000 Pastors – 7 Congregations – 7 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Nauru-Congregational-Church-453117751878171/
Background: Traditionally known as the Rock of Polynesia, Niue is located in a triangle between Tonga, samoa and the Cook Islands, 2400 kilometres northeast of New Zealand. Its population is around 1600 with many Niueans living in New Zealand with which it is in free association. Niue is self-governing. It is a coral atoll surrounded by a coral reef. The islands was annexed by New Zealand in 1901 and became self-governing in 1974. Niueans are citizens of New Zealand where 90 per cent of its people live. Niue comprises 14 villages, each with an elected chairperson. Each village elects a member to Parliament. Niue’s econpomy consists of subsistence farming, some cash crops, and some processing industry. Postage stamps for collectors are a source of income for the government. Many Niueans have migrated to New Zealand to find work, which has a negative impact on economic prospects. Ekalesia Kerisiano Niue Christianity arrived in Niue in 1846 through a Niuean missionary who received training in Samoa. Later on the work was supported and consolidated by Samoan pastors and missionaries from the London Missionary Society (LMS). The church became autonomous and took the name Ekalesia Niue in 1970, and is officially recognized as the Ekalesia Kerisiano Niue (Congregational Christian Church of Niue), which represents 75 percent of the total population. In 1996 a branch of the Ekalesia Niue was established in Auckland, New Zealand, to minister together with its partner churches, the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand and the Congregational Union of New Zealand, to the migrant community of Niueans there. The agreement between the three churches was signed in 2001. Emigration is one of the main problems the church is facing. It is related to questions of unemployment, low standards of education and the economic situation of Niue. The Christian education section of the church provides Bible lessons to the only two government schools, as well as to the Sunday schools of the congregations. The training of the laity, and ministry to the youth, Boys’ and Girls’ Brigades are among the main activities of the church. The women’s fellowship known as the Federation of Christian Women plays an active role in the church; it is made up of fellowships from each of the congregations and includes also women from other denominations. The Ekalesia is ecumenically committed and active in the Pacific Conference of Churches. Church family – Reformed Based in – Niue, Aotearoa New Zealand Membership – 10,000 Pastors – 20 Congregations – 14 Niue Council of Churches The Niue Council of Churches includes the Catholic Church and the Ekalesia Niue, plus some smaller churches. The Ekalesia Niue is the largest church. Besides the Catholic Church and the Anglicans, there is a Seventh-day Adventist community and small groups of Jehovah's Witnesses and Latter Day Saints.
Background: Papua New Guinea comprises the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and its offshore island in the South Pacific. It is the world's third largest island country with an area of 462,840 km2. After being ruled by Germany, Great Britain and Australia since 1884, Papua New Guinea established its sovereignty in 1975. Papua New Guinea is one of the most linguistically diverse countries in the world with 851 known languages. It is also the most rural, as only 13.25% of its 8,000,000 people live in urban centres. The country is one of the worlds least explored, culturally and geographically. Classified as a developing economy by the International Monetary Fund, PNG’s people live a mainly subsistence life. Their social lives combine traditional religion with modern practices, including primary education. PNG has huge gold and gas deposits and millions of hectares of forests. Evangelical Lutheran Church of PNG The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea is fruit of German missionaries from the Neuendettelsau Mission Society (1886) and the Rhenish Mission Society (1887). During World War II all missionaries left the area, and many mission stations, churches, schools and hospitals were damaged. But the indigenous church leaders and local Christians stood firm in the work of the church. Lutheran churches in Australia and North America helped reconstruct the church in Papua New Guinea. Expatriate missionaries and indigenous church leaders gathered in 1956 to form the present indigenous church. At the time of its founding the church was called Evangelical Lutheran Church of New Guinea (ELCONG), and its founding bishop was an expatriate missionary from the American Lutheran Church, USA. The first indigenous bishop was elected in 1973. In 1975, on the eve of the country's independence, the name of the church was changed to Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea (ELCPNG). In 1977 the church was officially declared autonomous and another local Lutheran church organized by the Australian Lutheran Mission joined with the ELCPNG. The ELCPNG believes that the church is the body of Christ on earth so that people can grow in faith and live as brothers and sisters. This function of the church is seen in the preaching of the gospel and the administration of the sacraments, bringing people closer to God so that they may inherit eternal life. The church runs 12 health centres, 170 primary schools, six high schools, one teacher training college, a nursing college, five girls' Bible schools, three seminaries and a training centre for evangelists. Church family – Lutheran Based in – PNG Membership – 900,000 Pastors – 800 Congregations – 2000 Website: http://www.elcpng.org.pg Catholic Bishops Conference of PNG and the Solomon Islands The CBC Secretariat is the central office of the Catholic Church in PNG and SI. The Secretariat relates to all the Archdioceses and Dioceses, mainly in a coordinating function. It organises the Annual General Meeting of the CBC and helps to implement the decisions of these general meetings. It coordinates the various meetings to evaluate and promote the Conference Pastoral Plan. And finally, it coordinates the ministries of the various commissions – Family Life, Youth, Health Services, Caritas PNG, Social Services and Migrants and refugees. Catholicism arrived in what was then Papua in 1848 through priests of the Society of Mary. Church family – Roman Catholic Based in – PNG, Solomon Islands Membership – 2,000,000 Pastors – Congregations – Website: a href="https://www.pngsicbc.com">https://www.pngsicbc.com PNG Council of Churches The council was formed in 1965 out of the Christian Council of Papua New Guinea. Members are: the Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea, Baptist Union, Catholic Church in Papua New Guinea, Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea, Gutnius Lutheran Church, Salvation Army, and the United Church in Papua New Guinea. The council also has a number of associate members. Mission statement: We believe that by joining together in study and work, by accepting one another as members of the one family of God and by witnessing together we are proclaiming the unity to which God calls us. Therefore we hereby constitute this council to further the attainment of this unity. United Church of Papua New Guinea In 1872 the London Missionary Society began its work what is now Papua New Guinea and was joined by several groups of Christians from the Pacific islands, including Fiji. The Australian Methodist Church, now the Uniting Church in Australia, responded to the request to join the pioneering work. The Methodist mission covered three independent areas, called districts. These joined together in 1950 in mission work in the southern highlands. In 1962 the LMS, together with the mission of the Presbyterian Church in New Zealand and another mission body, formed the Papua Ekalesia, at the time the largest single church in Papua. A further union took place in 1968 involving the Papua Ekalesia, the Methodists and the Union Church of Port Moresby, which together established the United Church in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. In 1996 the general assembly of the UC-PNG/SI resolved that the United Church in Papua New Guinea and its Solomon Islands counterpart become autonomous churches. The UCPNG runs elementary, primary and secondary schools under the national education system, a teachers' training college, a theological college for the formation of its pastors, and a lay leaders' training institute. It supports Bible schools in each region of the country. Developing and training people for mission and training of women and youth are among the priorities of the church. The UCPNG has been involved in efforts to solve the conflict in Bougainville between secessionists and the government of Papua New Guinea, and is participating in programmes of reconciliation and reconstruction. The high level of crime in a country that is officially 98 percent Christian is a major challenge to the church. Church family – United and Uniting churches Based in – PNG Membership – 600,000 Pastors – 400 Congregations – 2600 Website: http://ucpng.com
Background: Samoa is an independent state known as Western Samoa until 1997. Settled by the Lapita proplr around 3500 years ago, Samoa developed its own language and identity. The people were skilled seafarers and craftspeople. The country was a colony of the German Empire from 1899 to 1915, then came under a joint British and New Zealand colonial administration until January 1, 1962, when it became independent. Many Samoans live in New Zealand or Australia and the United States. The country’s economy focuses on tourism, fisheries, copra and cocoa. Congregational Christian Church of Samoa: Ekalesia Fa' apotopotoga Kerisinao I Samoa The Congregational Christian Church in Samoa traces its beginnings to the arrival in 1830 of missionaries of the London Missionary Society, accompanied by missionary teachers from Tahiti and the Cook Islands and a Samoan couple from Tonga. They arrived at a time of fierce warfare and fighting between local chiefs, and the people who were weary of violence and bloodshed readily received the missionary's gospel of peace. When a renowned paramount chief of a much respected family lineage officially accepted the new religion, all his followers and kinsfolk immediately followed suit. Within a few years, virtually the whole of Samoa was converted to Christianity. A burning zeal for the gospel was engendered within the spirit of the newly converted nation. Huge numbers of people soon offered themselves for overseas mission work. In 1839, only nine years after the arrival of the LMS, the first 12 Samoan missionaries left for mission work in Melanesia. Samoans have taken the gospel message to Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Niue, Tokelau, Kanaky (New Caledonia), the Solomon Islands, Wallis and Futuna. Many of these early Samoan missionaries never returned home; they occupy many of the un-named and unmarked graves in the islands of the Pacific. In Samoa, the LMS missionaries developed a Samoan alphabet and put the language into written form. They set up of the first printing press in Samoa, only the second in the Pacific region to bring the people to understand the gospel through the written word. By 1855 the whole Bible was translated into Samoan. The missionaries also introduced a monthly journal - the Church Chronicle - which continues to this day. Malua Theological College was established in 1844, with the main objective to teach and educate local students so that each village of Samoa would eventually have a theologically educated pastor as spiritual leader. By the end of the 19th century, a pattern of ministry had emerged. It was modeled on the Samoan village structural organization and aimed at preserving, as much as possible, the value systems of the Samoan way of life. The church community functions in the same way as the village, where five main groups - matais (titled men), spouses of matais, untitled men, unmarried women, and children - each have their own individual and corporate roles and responsibilities for the maintenance of order and welfare. The village congregation is the basic unit of the CCCS with the pastor as the spiritual leader. The Samoan church during the missionary period engaged itself in the "social redemption of humanity". This vision was based on the church's understanding of God's sovereignty. It saw the divine purpose of redemption not in individual terms only but also in corporate, social and political terms. The newly acquired faith had its focus on the transformation of life and society. That legacy remains a motivating force in the nation's idealism as well as in the church's commitment to active social efforts. The church has been able to maintain five high schools, one girls' college and one theological college. Since the second half of the 20th century, the Samoan church has continued to forge ecumenical relationships with other churches locally, regionally and internationally. It is now a transnational church with eight districts (synod or diocese) outside Samoa. Church family – Reformed Based in – Samoa, American Samoa, Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, US Membership – 70,000 Pastors – 350 Congregations – 327 Diocese of Polynesia (Anglican) Anglicanism arrived in Samoa around 1890 with the first baptisms and confirmations seven years later. The Anglican Church in Samoa falls under the Diocese of Polynesia. Methodist Church in Samoa About 2000 Samoans were following Lotu Tonga (Tongan religion) when the Methodists arrived in 1835. They worshipped in rough chapels, observing a few basic Christian practices taught by a Samoan chief who had embraced Christianity in Tonga and on his return had become a missionary to his own country. In 1839, it was ordered that Methodism be abandoned, and the missionary left the country. Some Methodist Christians returned to paganism, and some went over to the Roman Catholic Church. But Methodism survived, and for 18 years it was served by Tongan and Samoan teachers. In 1856 the conference in Australia decided to resume the work in Samoa. Towards the end of the 19th century Samoa suffered badly from civil wars and political conflicts. The beginning of the 20th century was marked by several developments. The church began to realize that its task was to be a sending church, not only a receiving church. It sought to become financially independent and to rid itself of illiteracy and ignorance. The political independence of Samoa in 1962 was followed by the autonomy of the Methodist Conference in 1964. Since then notable changes have taken place. The number of ordained ministers has increased and lay people participate in the work of the church. Present programmes of the church extend to areas such as land development and home economics. The life of the church is based on the tradition and culture of the people. Education at all levels is a priority. The MCS has a primary school and three secondary schools, a technical college and Piula Theological College near the capital, where the ministers are trained. It also has very active women and youth departments. Church family – Methodist Based in – Samoa Membership – 35,983 Pastors – 279 Samoa Council of Churches Founded in 1961, the council develops sincere fraternal fellowship and cooperation among member churches and to work together towards true Christian unity. It brings together the Congregational, Methodist, Anglican, Baptists and the Church of the Nazarene.
Background: The Solomon Islands, a sovereign country of six major islands and over 900 smaller islands in Oceania lies east of Papua New Guinea and west of Vanuatu It has a land area of 28,400 square kilometres and a population of 652,858. The islands were settled since at least some time between 30,000 and 28,800 BC, with later waves of migrants, notably the Lapita people, mixing and producing the modern indigenous Solomon Islanders population. The Spanish navigator, Alvaro de Mendana was the first European to visit them. In 1893, Britain declared the islands its protectorate. The archipelago was the scene of fierce fighting between Japanese forces and troops from the US and the Commonwealth – mostly New Zealand and Fiji. The Solomon Islands gained independence in 1978. Fisheries, logging, gold and palm oil are the country’s economic drivers although development has been hampered by ethnic and political tensions which led to civil unrest in 2000. Anglican Church of Melanesia The Anglican Church arrived in Melanesia in 1849 through mission efforts from New Zealand. Later, missionaries from Australia and the UK joined. At first they concentrated on New Caledonia, the New Hebrides (now Vanuatu) and the Solomon Islands. The first bishop of Melanasia was consecrated in 1861. His goal was to form a native clergy who would train and guide local lay teachers of the Christian faith. To train these catechists, a school was first set up on Mota, and later on Norfolk Island. Because of the much larger area and population of the Solomon Islands, most of the effort by the mission was soon directed towards the Solomon Islands. Missionaries worked together with local clergy to develop Christianity in Melanesia into a local expression of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. Since independence in the 1970s, the church has been experiencing growth in areas previously untouched by Anglicanism. The ethos of the Church of Melanesia is catholic, with a lively liturgical worship including the daily offices and the celebration of the seven sacraments with full appeal to the five senses. The liturgies are usually in English or a local language, following ecumenical patterns, but celebrated with a local style of singing and native dancing. There are four established religious orders with about 500 brothers and sisters. The oldest is the Melanesian Brotherhood, the largest religious order in the Anglican Communion. The martyrdom by torture and death of seven brothers in 2003 brought international outcry and challenged the Church of Melanesia to go deeper into the mystery of faith. The church operates a Christian care centre for battered women and abused children in a rural area near Honiara. The church runs several church schools, secondary and primary, and one tertiary institution where most clergy are trained. Other clergy are trained in ecumenical cooperation with the Presbyterians in Vanuatu and at diocesan training centres. Primarily for married women, the Mothers' Union in the Church of Melanesia has many young, educated women working for women's equality and rights in the church and other social spheres. The Union concentrates on the needs of developing Christian family life, literacy and hospitality programmes. Church family – Anglican Based in – Solomon Islands Membership – 200,000 Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Honiara The Archdiocese of Honiara, the successor of the apostolic prefecture of the British Solomon Islands which was erected in 1897. The ecclesiastical province of Honiara was created in 1978 and contains two suffragan sees – Gizo (1966, formerly the Vicariate Apostolic of Western Solomon Islands) and Auki (1982). French Marists were sent in 1837 to the South Pacific by their founder, Jean-Claude Colin, at the insistence of Pope Gregory XVI. The first bishop in Melanesia, Jean-Baptiste Epalle, was mortally wounded three days after his arrival at San Cristobal, after he had refused to gift his episcopal ring to a hostile tribe. Shortly after the assassination of Bishop Épalle, the Marist Fathers established the first mission station at Makira Bay. There Fr Verguet learned the local language, Kahua, and wrote a basic catechism for the locals. Today the Catholic Church operates a minor seminary, secondary and primary schools throughout the country. Church family – Roman Catholic Based in – Solomon Islands Membership – 60,300 Priests - 48 Parishes - 13 Solomon Islands Christian Association The association was founded in 1967 and comprises the Anglican, Catholic, Seventh-day Adventist, South Sea Evangelical, and the United Church in the Solomon Islands and the Church of the Nazarene. The Solomon Islands Christian Association is a fellowship of churches and organizations which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according to the scriptures and therefore seek to fulfill together their common calling to the glory of the one Triune God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Mission statement: We as a national body commit ourselves to promoting the spirit of unity and solidarity both with SICA and non-SICA member Christian churches. United Church in the Solomon Islands The United Church in the Solomon Islands broke with the United Church in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands after independence. The UCSI’s history goes back to the Australian Methodist Church, now the Uniting Church in Australia, which began missionary work in Papua New Guinea in the 19th century, and in the Solomon Islands in 1902, in what is now the western province. The Methodists became the predominant denomination in that region. The Methodists together with the Papua Ekalesia and the Union Church in Port Moresby formed the United Church in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands in 1968. The western province of the Solomon Islands has remained the area of concentration of the United Church. In the 1980s the church started spreading out to other parts of the country, including the capital Honiara. The church runs several primary schools, a hospital and some clinics. It is involved in training people for mission, and in overcoming distances, ethnic and linguistic diversity in mission, particularly with Kiribati. Women participate in decision making at all levels of the church, and the United Women's Fellowship is very active in the local congregations. The church supports the Boys’ and Girls' Brigades, and youth camps. Programmes of the church include urban ministry among young people, skills training for school drop-outs and the unemployed, and the improvement of literacy. The United Church is concerned with the issue of the damage done to the environment because of excessive logging. Church family – United and Uniting Based in – Solomon Islands Membership – 50,000 Pastors – 73 Congregations - 191
Background: Tonga is a Polynesian kingdom and archipelago consisting of 169 islands – 36 inhabited - scattered over 700,000 km2 of the Southern Pacific Ocean. It stretches 800 km with Fiji and Wallis and Futuna being its closest neighbours. First inhabited roughly 2500 years ago by the Lapita civilization, Tonga's Polynesian settlers gradually evolved a distinct and strong ethnic identity, language and culture, establishing a powerful footing across the South Pacific known as the Tu’i Tonga Empire. Tonga expanded during this period, conquering or controlling parts of the Solomon Islands, New Caledonia and Fiji, Samoa, Niue and Maohi (French Polynesia). In-fighting among the royal household saw the gradual loss of control in other Pacific islands although cultural and linguistic influences remain today. From 1900 to 1970, Britain protected Tonga under a Treaty of Friendship. In 2010, Tonga took a decisive step away from its traditional absolute monarchy and became a fully functioning constitutional monarchy after partial representative elections. Many Tongans live in Australia, New Zealand and the United States from where their remittances boost the small local subsistence economy. Catholic Archdiocese of Tonga (CEPAC) The Diocese of Tonga is an ecclesiastical territory of the Catholic Church. It was erected as part of the Vicariate Apostolic of Central Oceania in 1842 and had subsequent name changes in 1937 and 1957 before being elevated to the Diocese of Tonga on June 21, 1966. The Catholic Church operates a number of primary and secondary schools in the kingdom. Church family – Roman Catholic Based in – Tonga, Niue Membership – 17,000 Priests - 17 Diocese of Polynesia (Anglican) The Anglican Church in Tonga falls under the Diocese of Polynesia. Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga The first Methodist missionaries arrived in Tonga in 1822. After a difficult start the work progressed, and by the middle of the 19th century the whole population was Christianized. There was a split in the church in 1885 which was partially resolved in 1924. Tonga was a conference within the Methodist Church of Australasia until 1977 when the Uniting Church in Australia was formed, and the Free Wesleyan Church gained its autonomy. The relationship between the king and the Free Wesleyan Church has been strong since the foundation of modern Tonga under Taufa'ahau Tupou I in 1845. The reigning monarch confirms constitutionally the elected president of the church in office. The church is often seen as the state religion, though this is not so. Yet the influence of the monarch and the hereditary nobility remains strong in the church, and prevents it from exercising a full critical ministry in matters related to politics, society and culture. Education and evangelism are strong features of the work of the church. While the government is responsible for most primary education, the church has six primary schools and at the secondary level caters to the needs of 60 percent of the students in three middle schools, five senior secondary and three district schools. In addition the church has three agricultural schools and a theological college. Since inception, the Wesleyan Church of Tonga has been involved in carrying the gospel beyond Tonga. Missionaries work in Northern Australia, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Hawaii and the west coast of the USA. Church family – Methodist Based in – Tonga, Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia, United States Membership – 38,692 Pastors – 216 Congregations - 157 Tonga National Council of Churches In 1973, the Tonga National Council of Churches was formed. Basis of membership: The Tonga National Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according to the scriptures and therefore seek to fulfil together their common calling to the glory of the one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Its members are the Anglican, Catholic and Wesleyan churches. Mission statement: Praising one God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and reconciling all people to God, through Jesus Christ, the way, truth, and life.
Background: Tuvalu was formerly known as the Ellice Islands and is an island country in Polynesia. Tuvalu is composed of three reef islands and six atolls with a total land mass of 26 square kilometres. The first inhabitants of Tuvalu were Polynesians about 3000 years ago. Long before European contact with the Pacific islands, Polynesians frequently voyaged by canoe between the islands. Navigation skills enabled them to make elaborately planned journeys in canoes.Scholars believe that the Polynesians spread out from Samoa and Tonga into the Tuvaluan atolls, which then served as a stepping stone for further migration. In the late 19th century, Great Britain claimed control over the Ellice Islands, designating them as within their sphere of influence as the result of a treaty between Great Britain and Germany that demarcated their respective spheres of influence in the Pacific Ocean. From 1916 to 1975, they were managed as part of the Gilbert and Ellis Islands colony. Administration was separated in 1974 and on October 1, 1978, Tuvalu became an independent nation. Climate change has become a major issue for Tuvalu as sea levels rise and threaten the security and livelihood of the people. Ekalesia Kelisiano Tuvalu With origins in 1861, the EKT or Congregational Christian Church of Tuvalu came under the influence of the London Missionary Society began in 1864. Tuvalu was also a mission field of the Samoa Congregational Christian Church. The church became autonomous in 1968. Its doctrinal bases are the Apostolic and Nicene Creeds. About 96 percent of the population of Tuvalu belongs to the church, which plays an important role in the cultural, socio-political and religious development of the society. The primary schools and one of the two secondary schools established by the LMS have been taken over by the government. The church has kept and revived the other secondary school, and celebrated its centenary in 2005. The church is concerned with the effects of global warning on Tuvalu, issues of violence and morality, the prevention of AIDS and problems of transport and communication affecting the country. The church seeks to enrich the faith of its members, to enhance the use of the Tuvaluan language and musical tradition, and to promote the full participation of women. There is as yet no ordained woman pastor. Women are very active in organizing church and community events, and celebrations. Other priorities are the development of island communities' churches in the capital for Christians who have migrated from the smaller islands, and the publication of a new hymnal and of the first study Bible in Tuvaluan. The church has appointed a full-time chaplain to the hospital and the prison, and hopes to establish also a chaplaincy for seamen. The church has fraternal relations with the Methodist Church in Fiji, the Congregational Christian Church in Samoa and in American Samoa, the Protestant Church in Kiribati, the Uniting Church in Australia and the Methodist and Presbyterian Churches in New Zealand Church family – Reformed Based in – Tuvalu Membership – 9715 Pastors – 29 Congregations - 13
Background: Vanuatu was the condominium of the New Hebrides, ruled jointly by France and Britain until independence. Today, tourism, kava, coffee, beef and copra are the economic mainstay of this Melanesian republic. Settled by the Lapita people around 3500 years ago, Vanuatu was first seen by European discovers in 1616. In the 1880s, France and Britain claimed parts of the archipelago, and in 1906, they agreed on a framework for jointly managing the archipelago. An independence movement arose in the 1970s, and the Republic of Vanuatu was founded in 1980. Anglican Church The Anglican Church falls under the Anglican Church of Melanesia in the Solomon Islands. Conference of Churches of Christ Vanuatu Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu The Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu was inaugurated in 1948. At that time the New Hebrides Presbyterian Mission Synod marked the mission's centenary by handing over the responsibilities to indigenous leadership. The Presbyterian Churches of Nova Scotia, New Zealand, Australia and Canada, and the Free and Reformed Presbyterian Churches of Scotland, all contributed to the Presbyterian mission in the New Hebrides, now Vanuatu. The PCV is a stable and still growing church, despite the challenges it is facing. A recent development is the decentralization of leadership, in order to strengthen the presbyteries and sessions. The church is also doing a national review of its work, and establishing a national development plan. Other activities include a school of evangelism, Presbytery Bible colleges, mission training, and a refocus on outward mission to neglected areas in Vanuatu as well as mission outside Vanuatu. The church operates three secondary schools and three rural vocational training centres. An average of six pastors graduate every year from the Talua Ministry Training Centre, which the PCV agreed to develop as an ecumenical institution. The Church of Melanesia and the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu signed an agreement to provide training together for the future leaders of Vanuatu. Church family – Reformed Based in – Vanuatu Membership – 78,000 Pastors – 200 Congregations - 400 Roman Catholic Diocese of Port Vila (CEPAC) The Roman Catholic Diocese of Port-Vila in Vanuatu is a suffragan diocese of the Roman catholic Archdiocese of Noumea. The first Catholic mission in Vanuatu was started in 1887 at Mele on Efate Island by four Marist priests and a brother. The greatest growth of Catholic converts took place in the North - Espiritu Santo and Malekula islands - where the French influence was strong. In 1901 it was first erected as the Prefecture Apostolic of New Hebrides In 1904 it became a Vicariate Apostolic and in 1966 it was it was elevated as the Diocese of Port-Vila. Church family – Roman Catholic Based in – Vanuatu Membership – 29,500 Vanuatu Christian Council Founded in 1967 (as the New Hebrides Christian Council, which became the Vanuatu Christian Council in 1980), it comprises the Apostolic Church, Catholic Church, Church of Melanesia, Churches of Christ and the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu The Vanuatu Christian Council is a fellowship of churches which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according to the scriptures and therefore seek to fulfil together their common calling to the glory of the one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Gereja Injili Di Indonesia: Evangelical Church of Indonesia This mission church was initiated by three people from the UFM Mission Agency and APCM, namely Hans Veldhuis, Fred Dawson, and Russell Bond. After establishing posts in Senggi including opening Senggi's first airfield (1951-1954), on January 20, 1955, the three missionaries and seven young men from Senggi flew from Sentani to Baliem Valley in Hitigima. Then they continued the mission on foot from the Baliem Valley to the west of the Jayawijaya Mountains through the Pyramid hamlet. From the Pyramids, cross the Baliem river and follow the Wodlo river and arrive at Ilugwa. After they rested, they continued their journey towards the mouth of the Ka'liga (Hablifura) river and finally arrived at Archbol Lake on February 21, 1955. This indigenous church grew rapidly so the founders in collaboration with the Three Mission Boards APCM, UFM and RBMU agreed to establish a church with its own name. On February 12, 1963, they agreed to name the church, Evangelical Church of West Irian (GIIB) Irian Jaya. In 1971 the name of the GIIB church was changed to GIIJ (Irian Jaya Evangelical Church). In 1988 the name of this church changed to the Evangelical Church in Indonesia (GIDI) in accordance with the development and growth of the church from the land of Papua to spread to the islands throughout the Indonesian archipelago. Church family – Congregational Based in – Papua Membership – 976,000 Website: http://gidi.church Gereja Kristen Injili di Tannah Papua: Evangelical Church in the Land of Papua The GKI in Papua was established on October 26, 1956 as a result of the evangelism initiated by Ottow and Geissler on February 5, 1855. Since its inception, GKI in Tanah Papua has been an ecumenical church, and not a tribal church. Members of the GKI congregation come from Papuans themselves and non-Papuans from various ethnicities and nationalities as well as from various church membership backgrounds. The GKI has been involved for six decades in the journey of Papuans in their struggle for self-determination from Indonesia. It has also played an integral role in highlighting human rights abuse and genocide caused by Indonesian security forces. The presence and existence of GKI in Papua is God's will to present real signs of the Kingdom of God in the midst of isolation. The GKI rejoined the Pacific Conference of Churches in 2014. Church family – Reformed Based in – Tannah Papua Membership – 650,000 Congregations - 1237