The western part of the island of New Guinea was administered by the Dutch government until the early 1960s. It now constitutes two provinces of Indonesia. It was populated by a hundred Papua tribes, most of whom were ancestor worshipers. In 1855 some Dutch Reformed missionaries started mission work in New Guinea, which was, however, not very successful until 1907. After 1907 complete clans were converted and baptized, and a number of Christian congregations were established. The method of conducting missions was that of a comprehensive approach, proclaiming the Gospel, establishing schools and hospitals, and social work.
In 1950 the region of Inanwatan was transferred to the Dutch Mennonite Mission Association. R. E. H. Marcus was sent to this field in 1950, and P. Messie in 1953, as well as a number of teachers, physicians, and nurses. P. Messie returned to Holland in 1956. The center of the Dutch Mennonite activity by the mid-1950s was no longer Inanwatan but Teminabuan.
In 1956 the churches of New Guinea constituted the autonomous Evangelical Christian Church, governed by one general and several regional synods composed of native ministers, with the Dutch missionaries as advisers. In this Evangelical Church Mennonites cooperated with the Reformed, but were free to preach the Gospel in Mennonite manner and to administer adult baptism. The design of the foundation of this Evangelical Church was to renovate the old Papuan society into a Christian community from which pagan traditions and the practice of magic and ancestor worship would be eliminated.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 3, p. 861. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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To cite this page:
MLA style: Golterman, W. F. "New Guinea." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1957. Web. 26 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/N4918.html.
APA style: Golterman, W. F. (1957). New Guinea. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 26 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/N4918.html.