Protestant Church in Western Indonesia
(Gereja Protestan di Indonesia bagian Barat, GPIB)
The Protestant Church in Western Indonesia (GPIB) is a member of the Protestant Church in Indonesia (GPI). It was set up in 1948 to provide a spiritual home for those members of the other member churches of the GPI (situated in Eastern Indonesia) who for various reasons had migrated to the western part of the country. The GPIB has grown considerably, partly because of the natural increase of the families that formed the initial membership, but also because others have joined the church. It is a national and multi-ethnic church, scattered over 25 of the 32 provinces of Indonesia. The GPIB has many congregations in remote areas, which are marked by poverty and lack of means of communication. Spiritually these communities are very much alive. Apart from the Sunday morning worship, weekly services are held in people's homes, which are attended by as many members as come to church on Sunday. The life of the church is characterized by the differences between these financially poor, rural congregations and the congregations in the cities. In order to bridge the inequalities the GPIB has introduced a centralized fund for salaries from which all the pastors are paid, according to a fixed salary scale. The system functions well. From the time it was founded, the GPIB has never been dependent on any external financial assistance. The church is self-reliant.
The GPIB is organized in 17 regional coordination offices, which have a large amount of autonomy. The highest governing body is the synod which meets once every five years. A smaller annual synod decides on on-going matters of programme, budget, etc.