The Christian Fellowship Church: A Revitalization Movement in Melanesia

Harwood, Frances Hine

     This dissertation consists of a socio-historical account and analysis of the Christian Fellowship Church, a revitalization movement in the form of a separatist church which has taken hold in the Western District of the British Solomon Islands Protectorate; it 'traces the history of the CFC and attempts to account for its emergence, insofar as it is possible to do so sociologically. . . . The first three chapters outline the history of the Methodist mission in the Western Solomons, the development of a local variety of Methodism under Silas Eto in the 1930's and 40's and its rapid spread in the form of a revitalization movement, followed by the separation from the Methodist mission in 1960. Succeeding chapters describe the phase of tataru, the emergence of Silas Eto as the charismatic leader of the CFC, the organization of the church, and the content of its belief system. The final chapter attempts to place this movement in the context of similar phenomena in other areas of the British Solomons. A brief introduction to the area, its geography and ethno-history gives the necessary background for an understanding of the movement.
     I . . . resided in Paradise village, New Georgia Island, from October 1966 to October 1967. I used this village, one of the main centers of the CFC, as my base and traveled widely by canoe around New Georgia and surrounding islands participating in church activities and interviewing prominent men and leaders of the church. . . . In this manner data were collected on the history of the movement, its leaders in each village, on its present social structure, and its religious doctrine.

David M. Schneider (chair), Nur Yalman, Lloyd Fallers, Harold Scheffler