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Gereja Kristen Sumba (GKS)

Partnership History

  • GKS grew out of the missionary work of the former Reformed Churches in the Netherlands (now Protestant Church in the Netherlands) which began in 1881. The church became autonomous in 1947. The GKS is organized according to the Presbyterian-Synodal tradition with a synod as the supreme governing body, meeting every four years, and councils of elders in the local congregations
  • In February 2014 GKS contacted WMC enquiring about cooperating and developing a partnership. This was formally agreed in 2015
  • Sumba is an island in eastern Indonesia in the province of East Nusa Tenggara. Sumba has an area of 11,153 km2 (Scotland is seven times bigger) and the population was 656,259 at the 2010 Census. It is one of the poorest islands in Indonesia but government investment has brought recent improvements in infrastructure
  • GKS has 32 presbyteries (called "Classes") and 150 congregations across the island's four regions. Some congregations have up to 28 stations with 10,000 members although a process is being implemented to create more congregations with more manageable sizes. There are 426,000 members (65% of Sumba's population) and the church is growing through evangelism and conversion
  • The vast majority of the church's ministries are in remote and isolated areas across difficult terrain. This poses particular challenges (e.g., travel, accommodation) for the growing number of women ministers
  • GKS has accepted women's ordination since the 1980s and the majority of new recruits to the ministry are women. This seen as promoting church growth and also transforming the church as women do not enjoy high status in Sumbanese society
  • HIV, drug and alcohol abuse are issues often associated with women returning from working abroad. GKS has a Women's Crisis centre as a response to the high incidence of domestic violence