Baptisms up despite pandemic

Baptism in Navua, Fiji, in 2020.

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The South Pacific Division (SPD) was the only division of the world Church to have more accessions (baptisms and professions of faith) in 2020 than in 2019.

General Conference Archives, Statistics and Research director Dr David Trim has shared that the SPD had 58,091 net accessions in 2020, which was 7.25 per cent of the global total of accessions. By comparison, the SPD’s membership was just 2.8 per cent of the global total.

The results were largely due to disciple-making activities in the Trans Pacific Union Mission (TPUM) and Papua New Guinea Union Mission (PNGUM), which continued despite the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns. Both unions saw hundreds of people baptised.

In Papua New Guinea, churches were unable to remain open due to the lockdown, but people were still able to meet together in small groups.

“Many had been trained to do Discovery Bible Reading and were able to lead in group discussions,” SPD president Pastor Glenn Townend said. “People were able to get to know each other more closely and support each other as they grew in Jesus.”

In the Trans Pacific, members faithfully followed the disciple-making model of preparing the soil, sowing the seed, cultivating the plants, harvesting the crop and multiplying the harvest, a model outlined by Jesus in Mark 4. Hundreds were brought to Jesus as a result.

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