Protestantse Kerk in de Zuidzee-eilanden
(Bergenian Charismatic Evangelism)
|Countries||South Sea Islands (State Religion)|
The Protestantse Kerk in de Zuidzee-eilanden (English: Protestant Church of the South Sea Islands) is the largest religion in, and state religion of, the South Sea Islands.
Founded in 1506 by Pastor Jacob van Bergen, the church today has a significant presence in the South Sea Islands (with 65% of the population identifying themselves as active members) but is virtually non-existent elsewhere. The church's congregationalist structure provides each individual church congregation with a high degree of autonomy, and self-reliance is considered to be a cornerstone of the Protestantse Kerk in de Zuidzee-eilanden.
Following the foundation of the South Sea Islands as an independent nation in 1501, the territory experienced a significant influx of inbound migration, primarily from former territories of Nova England and the Britannic Empire. While the overwhelming majority of the islands'early population was Nazarene, a number of preexisting denominations attempted to impose themselves as the new nation's established religion.
In an effort to avoid any future conflict, and to rationalise the establishment of church buildings in the the South Sea Islands, Pastor Jacob van Bergen called for the creation of a unified church council in 1506. While not initially an attempt to merge the existing denominations, the close cooperation that followed led to the establishment of the Protestantse Kerk in de Zuidzee-eilanden in 1506. The new church's congregationalist structure allowed for considerable deviation based on the preferences of individual congregations, and the Dutch name was chosen to honour of van Bergen's personal contribution to the project.
The Protestantse Kerk in de Zuidzee-eilanden follows the standard creeds of the Universal Church, however church also places a high degree of emphasis on personal responsibility and self-reliance. The van Bergen creed is a notable example of this.
|van Bergen creed|
|O Lord, by whose labour all good things were made, we believe that you may guide us to be tools of your great task, that you may inspire us in all good works, strengthen us in all hard labour, guide us through every toil and comfort us through every failure. Believing that we may come to all goodness by your direction, encouragement and consolation, we beseech you only to show us the way. Amen.|
Unlike denominations who place a heavy emphasis on miracles and divine intervention, the Protestantse Kerk in de Zuidzee-eilanden encourages members to seek God's guidance through prayer and Bible study, and then act accordingly themselves.
Eleven church buildings currently exist within the South Sea Islands, spread across the two main islands. Each congregation appoints a Pastor to lead them, with annual votes of confidence being held to reaffirm the congregation's support. Currently, the following church buildings are in active use:
- Joseph Town Cathedral (Joseph Town)
- Port Egmont Mission (West Bay Point)
- Endeavour Point Chapel (Joseph Town)
- Church of Nightingale Bay (Westward Rise)
- Zuid-Richel Mission (Zuid-Richel)
- Montgomery Road Chapel (Zuid-Richel)
- Trinity Church (Zuid-Richel)
- Northern Mission Church (Port Harriet)
- Sheer Cove Chapel (Kleine Huisjes)
- New Church (Hogeland)
- West View Mission (Port Albemarle)
While extensive discussions regarding potentially controversial topics have occurred during the churches history, no congregation of the Protestantse Kerk in de Zuidzee-eilanden has ever voted to take a formal position on issues such as homosexuality, gender assignment or abortion. Such matters are traditionally held to be between the individuals involved and God, and therefore it is up to the individual to follow the path they believe God wants them to take.
There are no church-wide criteria determining who may or may not become a Pastor, however the majority of congregations have introduced restrictions based on age.