The Kiribati Uniting Church (KUC) formerly the Kiribati Protestant Church (KPC) has a long history. It is a United Church of Congregational; Babtist; Methodist; and Anglicans through its first missionaries who were sent by their United Mission Boards.
Christianity, through the Protestant Mission of the American Board for Commissioners for Foreign Mission (ABCFM), reached the shores of Abaiang Island in the Northern Kiribati on November 18th 1857 by Rev Dr Hiram Bingham, his wife Clarissa, and a couple from Hawaii. These were the first residential missionaries sent by the ABCFM which is known today as the United Church Board for World Ministries (UCBWM). These missionaries and those sent later by the ABCFM spread Christianity in the North and Central Kiribati.
In October 1870 another group of Missionaries from the London Missionary Society (LMS) in Great Britain arrived in the Southern Kiribati. The LMS is now known as the Council for World Mission (CWM). Rev Stephen Whitmee who landed on the island of Beru led the mission. One of its policies was that, no particular denomination should be emphasized by its members, but that the decisions about the form of church government are left to those converted. These missionaries and those sent later by the LMS spread the Gospel in the Southern islands.
The ABCFM served in the Northern Islands of Kiribati for 60 years. In 1905 ABCFM negotiate with LMS to withdraw from the Kiribati mission but, it was not until July 1917 that ABCFM withdrew from the mission field in Kiribati. The final letter that was received from the General Secretary Mr. James L Barton to the LMS regarding the handing over of the mission work was on July 19th 1917. The LMS missionaries continued the evangelisation work until 1968 when she withdrew from the islands, thus giving birth to the then Kiribati Protestant Church (KPC). As a Church, the KPC assembled for the First General Assembly, held February 25th March 1968, and declared to be the first and only Independent Church in the Republic of Kiribati.
The Ministry of the KUC is founded on the ministry of Christ. Those divinely called to this special ministry became servants of Christ, and will become servants of others in His name, through His Body the Church. The Village Church is divinely called to be the servant of God, to witness His Love and proclaim the Life and Work of Jesus Christ in word and deed. The Church is to witness what God has done and what He will do.
At present the KUC has over 20 female ministers and over 100 male ministers and over 20 lay preachers. There are over 30 ministers who are engaged with the administrative, managerial, bishopric, theological, church education, chaplaincy and missionary work. With approximately 40,000 members, and 136 congregations, the KUC is the second-largest religious group in Kiribati and accounts for approximately 36 percent of the population of the country.