Papua New Guinea - (Ocenania)

Information about Papua New Guinea

Port Moresby
462840 square kilometres
Roman Catholic 22%, Lutheran 16%, Presbyterian/Methodist/London Missionary Society 8%, Anglican 5%, Evangelical Alliance 4%, Seventh-Day Adventist 1%, other Protestant 10%, indigenous beliefs 34%
Christian (%)
Protestant (%)
Reformed (%)

Christianity came to Middle Melanesia in three waves. First came the historic confessions in the 19th century. The churches resulting from their efforts are today federated in the Melanesian Council of Churches (MCC). Second were the conservative evangelical and fundamentalist missions which are today collaborating in the Evangelical Alliance of the South Pacific Islands. After World War II Pentecostalism began to appear as the third force.
RCath work began on the Solomon Islands in 1845 through Marianists; after failures at first they made a new and more successful beginning in 1898. Angl activities started on the Solomon Islands in 1855 and in northeast Papua in 1891. German Luth missionaries appeared on the scene in the ’80s. Today the churches which are united in the United Church owe their existence to the Congreg London Missionary Society (LMS), which initiated activities along the coast of New Guinea in 1871, and to the Australian Meth, whose work began in 1875 and concentrated on the Bismarck archipelago and the islands east and south of the main island, among them Dobu, a center of traditional beliefs. J. Chalmers, a LMS missionary, together with 11 indigenous believers, paid with their lives for their witness among the Gaoribari (1901).
At a relatively early stage both the LMS and the Australian Meth Mission began to prepare for the independence of the churches. In 1963 the Congreg Church was constituted, and five years later Congreg, Meth, and the United Church of Port Moresby (two congr serving primarily expatriates and being part of the United Church of North Australia) formed the United Church of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. Leadership of both churches was to a large extent indigenous, and soon local congr became financially independent. The life of the church took roots in the Melanesian culture. The work of the United Church began to extend into the interior of Papua.
In 1996 the United Church in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands decided by mutual agreement to separate into the United Church in Papua New Guineas and the United Church of the Solomon Islands (for details, see Solomon Islands).



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