Kiribati Uniting Church
The Kiribati Uniting Church (KUC) (formerly the Kiribati Protestant Church and earlier, the Gilbert Islands Protestant Church) is a united Protestant Christian denomination in Kiribati. With approximately 40,000 members, and 136 congregations, the KUC is the second-largest religious group in Kiribati and accounts for approximately 36 percent of the population of the country.
Protestant missionaries (e.g., Hiram Bingham) 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 pastors from Hawaii, Samoan and Tuvalu until the early 20th Century, after which Tuvaluans and I-Kiribati, trained at Rongorongo, on Beru Atoll, took on this role. In 1968, 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. The church was originally established as a Congregationalist denomination.
In 2014, after a Church Bi-annual Assembly (Maungatabu), which was held on the island of Arorae, the Kiribati Protestant Church changed it name to Kiribati Uniting Church. The word "uniting" reflects that the church is now a union of several Protestant denominations in Kiribati, including Congregationalists, Evangelicals, Anglicans, and Presbyterians. The change of the name from KPC to KUC violates Clause 95, 96 and 97 of the KPC/KUC Constitution 2006. This 2006 KPC/KUC constitution was later amended in 2014 making the name legal.
The KUC 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 KUC are trained at Tangintebu Theological College, which is owned by the church.
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