A Brief History and Description of the Current Situation in 2013
The Rev John Goldie and his wife Helena arrived in what is now known as the West Province of the Solomon Islands in 1902. They came at the invitation of Solomon Islanders who had been taken to Queensland against their will by the process known as Blackbirding. They were essentially slaves, working in the rapidly growing sugar cane industry which was centred around Bundeburg, where they came across the Christian faith. The Methodist church was established in the very centre of the head-hunting area of the Solomon Islands; the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches did not venture here!
John Goldie established a mission station (a church) at Kokeqolo (Munda) with a coconut plantation for financial support. The hospital and school came later, mainly as a result of the work of his wife Helena. In the 1950’s, several local people were training for the ministry in Kokeqolo, including one named Silas Eto. In 1959, a separate movement developed under his leadership, and this became known as the Christian Fellowship Church in the early 1960’s. This was partly an independence movement against the British Protectorate, but it developed into a separate church, with Silas as the 4th member of the Godhead. There were many miracles reported at this time, and the island of Rendova was described as free of illness for a 2 year period. The C.F.C. church worshipped behind closed doors in the “Methodist” church buildings throughout the West Province and Choiseul.
After the death of Silas, his eldest son became the Spiritual Authority, and he continues today as the head of the church. However, since 2011, his younger brother Jobe Tausinga M.P. has been encouraging members of the C.F.C. church to return to their roots. On Thursday 23rd May 2013, the 111th anniversary of the establishment of the Methodist Mission Station at Kokeqolo, Jobe spoke to over 300 C.F.C. church members in the United Church building at Kekehe. Over the last 2 years there has been persecution and violence between C.F.C. group A people (who wish to remain C.F.C.) and C.F.C .group B people, who wish to move back to the United (Methodist) Church of the Solomon Islands. Some houses have been destroyed and many people threatened on both sides of this dispute. Hopefully there will be a peaceful resolution to this situation.
Many people from the C.F.C. have risen to prominent positions in government and civil service, but they feel that they are regarded as 2nd class citizens as a result of their religious allegiance.