Christian Evangelical Church in Minahasa
(Gereja Masehi Injili di Minahasa, GMIM)
Minahasa is a region in the northern part of the island of Sulawesi. A few Dutch missionaries worked in the area in the 17th and 18th centuries. In 1827 the Netherlands Missionary Society was invited to work there. A teacher-train-ing school was opened as early as 1851. Assistant pastors were trained but not allowed to administer the sacraments. By 1880 the Christian population had grown to 80,000 members which was about 80 percent of the Minahasa population. In 1876 the church became a part of the colonial state church, later called the Protestant Church in Indonesia. At the first synod meeting at Tomohon in 1934, the church was proclaimed autonomous and took its present name. Besides a few Dutch pastors there were only twenty indigenous "assistant pastors". Most congregations were being cared for by "teacher-preachers" of the teacher-training school. The GMIM suffered greatly under the Japanese occupation from 1942-45 but it also learned during this time to stand on its own feet. The church now believes in the necessity of formulating its own theology and ecclesiology, and of cooperating responsibly with fellow citizens who adhere to Islam or other religions.
The church offers many educational opportunities to young people with scholarship possibilities. It runs kindergartens, primary, secondary, and high schools, vocational schools, and a university where the school of theology is housed. It further operates several hospitals, polyclinics, maternity clinics, mother and child-care stations and family planning clinics. Lay training courses are regularly conducted which concentrate on social justice and stewardship education and the participation in village cooperatives. In recent years many new denominations have established themselves in Minahasa which has caused loss of membership to the GMIM, the majority church in an area where 90 percent of the population is Christian. Although many GMIM members live in other parts of Indonesia the church maintains its policy of not forming congregations outside Minahasa.
Particular relations exist between the GMIM and the Uniting Church in Australia, United Church of Christ in Japan, Presbyterian Church in Korea, Reformed Church in America, Protestant Church in the Netherlands, the Evangelical Mission in Stuttgart, Germany and the Evangelical Church in South-West Germany.