Cook Islands Christian Church
The Cook Islands Christian Church was founded by the London Missionary Society, which started working in the area in 1821. Gradually the mission spread and in 1852 the Cook Islands LMS Church as it was known then, was established in all the islands. The church remained under the authority and management of the LMS until 1965, with very strong ties to the church authorities in New Zealand. It became autonomous in 1968, under the name Cook Islands Christian Church. The faith of the church is based on the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds. The church is organized according to the congregational model. All the parishes share in the financial responsibilities for the overall budget, which is managed by an elected executive body. The contributions are fixed by the church assembly conference which meets every two years. Pastors are trained at the Takamoa Theological College in the capital Rarotonga, which is probably the first and oldest theological college in the South Pacific, and from where many pastors were sent out to take the gospel to other places, like Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, etc.
Immigration to New Zealand has always been a dominant factor in the life of Cook Islanders. In 1978 the church established its first congregation in Auckland. Today, through travel and attracted by various opportunities, Cook Islanders continue to migrate overseas. There are currently 19 congregations in New Zealand and 11 in Australia. The activities and priorities of the Cook Island Christian Church are focused on the gospel itself. For many people the Christian faith is no longer as central in their life as it was in the past. The church is encouraging its members to attend the worship services and other gatherings, and to live their lives according to the teachings of the Holy Bible. Bible studies are being organized, youth programmes are put in place and the church seeks to redirect the Christians to the source of life, God the Creator who sent his Son Jesus Christ for the salvation of humankind.