Antigua & Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda
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Three islands in the eastern Caribbean comprise Antigua and Barbuda. The largest was visited by Columbus in 1493 who gave it the name Antigua. Barbuda is located 40 km or 25 miles to the north and the third island, Redonda is an uninhabited islet southwest of Antigua. It became a British colony in 1667 and by the eighteenth century there had developed a flourishing sugar plantation system using African slaves. The sugar industry closed in 1971 leaving tourism as the major source of revenue for the islands. Independence from Britain was achieved in 1981 but it remains a constitutional monarchy. A dual legislative body made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives govern the islands. Major political control is held by the Antiguan Labor Party and the Byrd Family, which have held power almost constantly for five decades. The official language is English.
Protestant denominations account for 90% of the religious population. The remaining ten percent are Roman Catholic.
Prior to 1970 a few Antiguans enrolled in Bible correspondence courses sponsored by American a cappella Churches of Christ. This led Cornelius George, a native of Saint Vincent, to move to the capital city of St. John’s in 1971 to begin mission activity with the support of the Church in Vero Beach, Florida. A congregation was begun with one Christian who had done the Bible correspondence work. In 1978 Don Starks led the first of three campaigns to Antigua and the following year Wayne Stubblefield became the first American missionary in the country. Through his efforts the Villa congregation in St. John’s was established. Since that time a number of other American missionaries have gone to Antigua and employed a variety of evangelistic methods, including radio, television and evangelistic campaigns. Other congregations were formed. Later four of these merged to form the Liberta congregation in All Saints.
Other efforts to evangelize in the islands have been carried out by Caribbean Evangelism, Inc. and White Fields Overseas Evangelism, both supported by American Christian Churches and Churches of Christ. Caribbean Evangelism, Inc. is under the direction of Vincent and Alice Graham, based in Kingston, Jamaica. The Grahams work with multiple teachers in several of the islands. White Fields Evangelism has supported Oscar Cottam to establish a congregation, the Scotts Hill Christian Church, which first met in the Cottam home and later under a tent provided by White Fields and supporting congregations.
Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has a partnership with the Caribbean Conference of Churches http://www.ccc-caribe.org/eng/index.htm, the recognized Regional Ecumenical Organization (REO) of the Caribbean and one of the major development agencies at work in the Caribbean today. Currently comprised of 33 member churches in 34 territories across the Dutch, English, French and Spanish speaking territories of the region, it was founded in 1973.
Clinton J. Holloway
National Profiles Editor
Revised by Gary Holloway, September 12, 2013
For further historical reference see:
Churches of Christ Around the World, Mac Lynn, 21st Century Christian Publications, Nashville, TN, 2003.
St. John’s, Antigua
Caribbean Evangelism, Inc.
P.O. Box 1272
Joplin, MO 64801
P.O. Box 20
White Fields Overseas Evangelism
P.O. Box 1089
Joplin, MO 64802
Web site: http://www.white-fields.org