London Missionary Society in Papua New Guinea

The London Missionary Society (LMS) was established in 1795, and began work in Polynesia in the following year. It was supported by evangelical Protestant churches, especially the Congregationalists. It began work in the islands of Torres Strait and along the southeast coast of New Guinea in the 1870s. It established permanent headquarters at a site which is now part of the city of Port Moresby in 1874. By 1884 there were almost 2,000 students at the Port Moresby mission and 1,000 students at 20 other stations along the south coast and in adjacent islands. The British missionaries brought in Polynesian assistants and trained local preachers and teachers. Encouraged and partly funded by the colonial Administration, the LMS established schools which taught basic literacy and numeracy as well as religious instruction. LMS missionaries translated scriptures into several local languages. Work was seriously disrupted during World War II when many missionaries were killed and mission stations destroyed. In 1961 the LMS handed over its activities, staff and property to its Melanesian congregations, which adopted the name Papua Ekalesia. In 1968 Papua Ekalesia was joined by the Methodist church to form the United Church in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

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