St. Kitts (St. Christopher) & Nevis
Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis
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The Federation of St. Kitts (sometimes called St. Christopher) and Nevis is a group of two Caribbean islands in the Leeward Islands group. Covering an area of only 269 sq km (104 sq miles), the two islands are separated by a body of water called “The Narrows.” The population of approximately 45,000 is largely descended from African slaves brought to the islands to cultivate sugar and cotton plantations. The islands were once inhabited by Carib and Arawak Indians. On his second voyage in 1493 Christopher Columbus visited the islands. By 1624 the British had established their first West Indian settlement on St. Kitts. The French followed the next year but were later routed by the British, in 1689, and St. Kitts became British property in 1713. Self government was granted in 1967 with full independence coming in 1983. Today St. Kitts and Nevis remain linked to the British Empire as a constitutional monarchy with a single legislative body known as the House of Assembly. In 1996 Nevis announced the intention to withdraw from the Federation if legislators and a referendum of two-thirds voters ever approve the action. To date that approval has not yet come.
As was the case in the past sugar cane remains an important factor in the islands’ economy. Sugar cane is the major cash crop on St. Christopher while cotton and coconuts are the cash crop for Nevis. Agribusiness, some manufacturing and tourism are the major components of the island industry and export.
The religious spectrum of St. Kitts and Nevis runs the gamut of Protestant denominations including Anglican (36%), Methodist (32%), Pentecostal (5%), Baptist (4%) and other denominations (11%). The Roman Catholic tradition also captures a large segment of the population at 11 percent.
The history of the Stone-Campbell Movement on St. Kitts and Nevis can be traced to seeds sown through a Bible correspondence course directed by Ralph Wharton of St. Vincent in the late 1960s. As a result of these correspondence courses nurses Linetta Matthew and Iris Pitt came to know Christ. Two years later, in 1970, Bob Brown conducted an evangelistic meeting on St. Kitts that resulted in four baptisms. For a time Terry Thomas of St. Vincent worked with this small band of Christians but was unsuccessful in securing a permanent visa and was forced to leave the work. However the church continued and was later served by Andrew Solomon. During Solomon’s ministry a musician by the name of Wilmot Buchanan was baptized. Buchanan later left his government job to assume leadership of the congregation.
By 1973 a baptism occurred on St. Nevis. Sometime thereafter St. Kitts native Calvin Brown began services there for two Nevis natives. This work was supported by Wilmot Buchanan and Alfred Halliday of St. Kitts. By 1980 Denzil Robert of St. Kitts left his home for Nevis to work with the church. Two campaigns led by Don Starks resulted in 32 baptisms and campaign workers Carroll and Wanda Gregory returned to Nevis as missionaries in 1983, the only American missionaries of the a cappella Churches of Christ to reside in Nevis. The Gregorys, together with Emmanuel Jeffers, established a congregation at Brick Kiln in 1984. That congregation now meets in St. Lily. The visit of two medical-evangelism teams (1986 and 1988), under the direction of Albert Hill and Dr. Danny Smelser, resulted in 25 baptisms and a congregation planted at Sandy Point.
Churches of Christ in Alabama, Texas and Puerto Rico have aided the work in St. Kitts and Nevis.
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.
Disciples of Christ Historical Society, 1101 19th Avenue, South, Nashville, TN 37212-2112 (USA)
Telephone: (615) 327-1444
Website: http://www.discipleshistory.org (provides links to other historical sites and databases).
Online catalog: ALEX
Basseterre, St. Kitts
For online directories of a cappella Churches of Christ see: