Moravian Church in Suriname
The mission in Suriname started from Hernnhut (Germany) in 1735 and was continued after 1928 from Zeist in the Netherlands. Mission among the American Indians began in 1748 and continued later among the (African) slaves and the bush negroes (fugitive slaves). After 1835 several congregations were established in various parts of the country. Mission among the East Indians (Hindustanis) began in 1873 and among the Javanese in 1909. As several members of the Moravian Church in Suriname emigrated to the Netherlands Antilles and the Netherlands, especially after the second world war, the church in Suriname is also working in the Netherlands Antilles. In 1963 the church became an autonomous province of the Moravian Church, with its own synod meeting every three years. The provincial elders conference, the governing body of the community, is assisted by two other boards, one for church affairs and the other for mission affairs. The president takes care of those issues which are not entrusted to either of the two boards.
The Moravian Church in Suriname is of the opinion that mission is of the highest importance for the church of Christ. The church has been called and sent into the world as a representative of Jesus Christ, the first apostle. This means that all actions of the church should have a missionary dimension. In 1997 the provincial synod decided in favour of a restructuring of the province. In the new structure the dichotomy between church and mission was banned and since then, every congregation is supposed to be a missionary community. Due to the fact that there are congregations in almost all parts of the country, it seemed helpful to introduce a regional structure. Now there are 14 regions, consisting of about 60 congregations and outstations. The synod is the highest governing body. The provincial board is the governing body in between sessions of the synod.
The church has several departments: for boarding schools, socio-diaconal service, medical assistance to the bush negroes and the Indians, and for agricultural promotion. Clergy and evangelists and all volunteers are trained at the training college. Some 900 teachers teach 25,000 pupils in several kinds of schools.