World Convention is currently building a global reference for the countries and territories where we know there are Christian – Churches of Christ – Disciples of Christ Congregations. Of the 193 United Nations States, the Stone-Campbell Movement exists in 165. This listing includes other nations and territories, numbering 194 countries where there is at least one representation of our churches.
Rather than waiting for comprehensive, complete information we are putting up the details we have available. If you can correct or add to this information, please contact the World Convention Office with details at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Republic of Fiji is an archipelago of more than 800 islands, about 110 of which are inhabited. Early inhabitants were Melanesian islanders with western influence beginning in about 1643 with the arrival of Dutch explorers. It became a British colony in 1874.
The London Missionary Society sent three Tahitian missionaries to Fiji in 1830, introducing Christianity into the islands. Little progress was made until about 1849 when the Paramount Chief was converted. By 1875 the Fijian church began sending its own missionaries to Papua New Guinea, Australia, Belize, Costa Rica, Panama, New Zealand and Great Britain. Today Christianity makes up about 52% of the population, with 37% being Methodist and 9% Roman Catholic. Owing to the large population of people of Indian heritage, dating back to the importation of Indian labor by the British for sugar production, about 38% of the population is Hindu. Muslims make up about 8% of the population. Fiji became independent in 1970 though there have been a number of coups and several governments since that time.
The Movement began to have a presence in Fiji in about 1961 when American a cappella congregations sent Ronald Coleman, Dan Jenkins, Russell Wilson, and Bill Wates as evangelists. Later, Doyle Wright entered the Fiji islands as a full-time evangelist in the late 1960s. Robert and Mary Martin have seved in Fiji for many years. A number of mission methods have been employed, such as correspondence courses, radio, tracts distribution and personal evangelism. The World Bible School claimed 3,000 enrollees in 1990. Native preachers have been trained to carry out the work among the island people. Several American a cappella leaders are active in the work in Fiji.
The International Fiji Church is in Lautoka.
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada has been involved in Fiji since at least the early 1990s with ecumenical partnerships in the Pacific Conference of Churches in Suva and supplying personnel to Pacific Theological College and South Pacific Association of Theological Schools, both in Suva.
The Australian Churches of Christ, through Global Mission Partners (formerly Overseas Missions Board), opened a new work in Fiji in 1993, known as the Fiji Community Churches of Christ. Peter and Vivienne Clegg pioneered this effort. In 2013 the Community is looking forward to a September celebration marking twenty years of service in Fiji. A new effort is the Bible Training Institute which will offer diploma and degree courses by extension through Union Biblical Seminary in Western India. Church planting is another important effort which is seeking to train Fijian nationals to plant new congregations.
Clinton J. Holloway
National Profiles Editor
Revised by Gary Holloway, December 5, 2013
a cappella congregations on the web:
Web site: http://www.churches-of-christ.net/world/pacifica.html
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Division of Overseas Ministries
East Asia and the Pacific Office
130 E. Washington St.
Indianapolis, IN 46204-1986
Web site: http://www.disciples.org/dom/
Australian Churches of Christ Global Mission Partners
Web site: http://www.inpartnership.org.au/
Contacts in Fiji:
Bruce and Lisa Edwards