Kiribati Protestant Church
The Kiribati Protestant Church (KPC) (formerly the Gilbert Islands Protestant Church) is a Congregationalist Protestant Christian denomination in Kiribati. With approximately 40,000 members, and 131 congregations, the KPC is the second-largest religious group in Kiribati and accounts for approximately 36 percent of the population of the country.
Protestant missionaries sent by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions first arrived in Kiribati in 1857, and missionaries from the London Missionary Society arrived in 1870. The Protestant converts were served by visiting Samoan pastors until 1968, when the first general assembly of the Gilbert Islands Protestant Church met to organise an autonomous church. In 1979, when the Gilbert Islands was renamed Kiribati, the church changed its name to the Kiribati Protestant Church.
KPC has present 20 women ministers and 100 male pastors, and over 20 lay preachers. The majority of church members are fisherman or copra cutters. Membership is increasing and churches in villages are expanding.
The KPC is a member of the World Council of Churches, the World Communion of Reformed Churches, and the Council for World Mission. The pastors for the KPC are trained at Tangintebu Theological College, which is owned by the church.
- World Council of Churches: Kiribati Protestant Church, oikoumene.org, accessed 2008-03-04.
- United States State Department, "Kiribati", International Religious Freedom Report 2007, state.gov, accessed 2008-03-04.
- Thomas Scarborough, Kiribati Protestant Church (K.P.C.) : 2003 report on the church from a South African missionary from the London Missionary Society