Trinidad and Tobago - (North America)

Information about Trinidad and Tobago

5128 square kilometres
Roman Catholic 29.4%, Hindu 23.8%, Anglican 10.9%, Muslim 5.8%, Presbyterian 3.4%, other 26.7%
Christian (%)
Protestant (%)
Reformed (%)

Presbyterianism came to Trinidad in the early 19th century. In 1834, due to the majority of British settlers being Presb Scots, a Trinidad Presb Association was formed to petition the Governor for a Presb ministry to them. The Missionary Society of Greyfriars Original Secession Church decided to choose Trinidad as a mission field. The first church was established in 1836 in Port-of-Spain. In 1846 the church integrated a group of Portuguese Prot of Free Church background who had left Madeira and settled in Port-of-Spain.
Missionary work among the Indian population was started in 1868 by Canadian missionaries, the first being John Morton, a Canadian of Scottish descent. Indians had been brought to Trinidad as cheap labor. They worked on sugar cane plantations. In the beginning they were confined to the plantations they were assigned to. After a certain period they were allowed to move out and were given their own plot of land (usually of second-class quality). Missionaries worked within that system. They preached in the plantations and later helped to build Indian villages providing churches and schools. The first primary school was opened in 1871. In 1892 the Presbyterian Theological College was founded; in the following decades high schools for boys and girls were started. Today the church administers 72 primary schools and five secondary schools.
For Indians, joining the Presb Church meant overcoming dependence, getting a job, acquiring education, and becoming part of the middle or even upper class. The first ordained Indian was Lal Bihari, a highly educated Hindu who had converted to Christianity. Many church buildings are called by Hindi names, and Hindi Bhajans are often used in services.
The communities founded by either Scottish or Canadian missionaries were incorporated into one presbytery in 1891. The presbytery was recognized in Canada but not by the churches in Scotland. Thus two Mission Councils — one Scottish and the other Canadian — continued to exist.


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