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 Amid declines, diversity grows in U.S. church

By Heather Hahn Nov. 11, 2015 (UMNS)

Tongan childrens choir

Photo courtesy of Seattle First Tongan United Methodist Church                                                                                         

The Sunday School Choir prepares to sing at Seattle First Tongan United Methodist Church. In  2014, The United Methodist Church saw its Pacific Islander membership grow by nearly 7 percent.


First Tongan United Methodist Church in Seattle had grown so much that it needed to move to a larger building, which it shared for a time with a dwindling white congregation.

Last year, the white United Methodist congregation officially disbanded. But the Tongan church is still going strong, with more than 200 members and a flourishing youth group.

The church offers recent immigrants and their families the chance to stay connected to their cultural roots within a Wesleyan approach to spiritual development, said member Mele ‘Aho. “They like the way the church is structured, how we do our activities, our devotions, and our volunteering,” she said.  Continue Reading...



A Home in The United Methodist Church: The Pacific Islander Ministry Plan

By Monalisa Tui’Tahi

The Pacific Islander Ministry Plan, which was approved by the 2012 United Methodist General Conference, was developed over a four-year period by a committee of Pacific Islanders and Global Ministries staff members. The study explored ways to empower Pacific-Islander United Methodists to fully participate in the life of the church and to be agents of Christian love and service within the world community.


Having been approved by General Conference in 2012, the Pacific Islander Ministry Plan is the youngest ministry plan for Global Ministries and also the newest plan for the church as a whole. The people that the plan seeks to enable and empower have been recent immigrants to the United States, relatively speaking. The first generation is just beginning to get older now. My parents, who arrived from Tonga in the mid-1970s, were part of the early Pacific-Islander migration—which really boomed in the 1980s.  Continue Reading...


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