Federated States of Micronesia
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Oceania’s Federated States of Micronesia consist of four states: Yap, Chuuk (Truk), Pohnpei and Kosrae, made up of four island groups spread out over an area of 3,200 sq km (2,000 sq miles) of ocean. The total area of the islands is 702 sq km (271 sq miles). Formerly known as the Caroline Islands, they are located in the northern Pacific about halfway between Japan and Australia. The population of 131,500 is made up mainly of Micronesian and Polynesian peoples divided into roughly nine separate ethnic groups.
Believed to have first been settled in about 1000 B.C. the islands were visited by Spanish explorers in 1565 and subsequently were annexed by Spain in 1874. In 1899 Spain sold the islands to Germany who lost them to Japan at the beginning of the First World War. After the Second World War the United States took over administration of the islands which ended in 1986 with the signing of a Free Compact between the two entities. Micronesia was granted self-government with the United States retaining responsibility for the country(s defense.
The Federated States of Micronesia is largely a Christian country with 50% of the population affirming the Roman Catholic tradition and 47% of the population following protestant traditions. In 1983 an a cappella Church of Christ was established at Kolonia on the island of Pohnpei. In recent years this congregation has been served by American Roy Jones. Other work in Micronesia has been carried out by Don Starks in Moen on the island of Chuuk (Truk) beginning in 1992. Since that time World Bible School material has been used to teach some of the residents the gospel but no other congregation has, as of yet, been formed.
The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada shares in an ecumenical relationship with the Micronesian Council of the United Church of Christ through their partnering with the United Church of Christ in the Common Global Mission Board.
Clinton J. Holloway
National Profiles Editor
For further historical reference:
Churches of Christ Around the World, Lynn, Mac, 21st Century Christian Publications, Nashville, TN, 2003.