- United Church in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands
The United Church in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands is a merged denomination dating from 1968 consisting of the former
London Missionary Society(operating exclusively in Papua), the relatively marginal Presbyterianchurch (largely confined to Port Moresbyitself) and the Methodistmission (largely operating in the New Guinea Islands, the western and northern Solomonsand the islands of eastern Papua).
The formation of the United Church pre-dates the merger of its corresponding (and missionary parent) denominations in Australia in 1977 in the
Uniting Church in Australiabut such cross-denominational mergers were common throughout the 20th century, particularly in Commonwealth countries: for example, the United Church of Northern India (1924) (now merged in the later and wider Church of North India, Church of Pakistanand Church of Bangladesh); the United Church of Canada(1925) and the Church of South India(1947). It is particularly strong on the Papuan coast, the Southern Highlands, eastern Papua, the New Guinea Islands (including Bougainville, also known as the North Solomons) and the Western Solomons.
Local and overseas affiliations
The United Church is a member of the
Papua New Guinea Council of Churches, Melanesian Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches. In matters of social policy it tends as with its sister denominations in other Commonwealth countries to be largely in accord with the Anglicanand Lutheranchurches.
Traditionally many of the United Church's personnel were recruited from earlier-established Methodist and Congregationalist churches in
Fiji, Samoaand Tongaand the United Church continues to have close relations with sister churches in these neighbouring island countries. Its theology and social policy tends to be somewhat more akin to these theologically conservative neighbouring countries' long-established evangelical Protestant churches than to those in Australia. On the other hand the Church is considerably more broad-minded in such matters than more recently arrived fundamentalist groups and it maintains the historic Methodist and Congregational strong emphasis on education and literacy in the broadest sense. As with the Anglican and Lutheran churches, the United Church has suffered some attrition in recent decades as a result of aggressive proselytising among its constituents by fundamentalist and pentecostalist groups originating in the United States of Americaand to a lesser extent Australia.
Many of Papua New Guinea's leaders have had a United Church background.
Eminent United Churchmen and Churchwomen
Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea
Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea
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