by Dr. Clifton L. Holland

(last revised on June 9, 2003)

Historical Overview:

Discovery by Christopher Columbus (over 700 islands form the Bahamas):                               1492

Puritan colonists from England arrive on Eleuthera Island:                                                       1648

British take control:                                                                                                             1797

The Bahamas become independent of Great Britain:                                                              1973


Number of North American agencies in 1969:                                                                            10

Number of North American agencies in 1996:                                                                            10        

Indicates European society*

Significant Protestant Beginnings or Events:

     1646       -    *Puritan colony on the Island of Eleuthera, a dissident group within the Church of England.


     1724       -    *Anglican chaplains arrive with British occupation; the Church of England becomes the Established Church until 1869; now known as the Anglican Diocese of Nassau and the Bahamas.


     1780       -    Baptist work begins among former slaves from the U.S., through the preaching of Frank Spence.


     1783       -    British colonists loyal to the British crown arrive after the U.S. Revolutionary War; many were Scottish Presbyterians; in 1798 they formed the St. Andrew’s Society, and in 1810 St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church was founded in Nassau, affiliated with the Church of Scotland.


     1786       -    *Methodist Church of Great Britain begins work under former slave Joseph Paul from the Carolinas.


     1833       -    *Baptist Missionary Society of Great Britain arrives.


     1848       -    *Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society of Great Britain; in 1968, the Methodist Church in the Bahamas became part of the Conference of the Methodist Church in the Americas and the Caribbean.


     1909       -    Pentecostal ministry begins by a Bahamian couple who were converted in Florida; later affiliated with the Church of God (Cleveland, TN).


     1928       -    An independent church founded in Nassau later becomes affiliated with the Assemblies of God; first Assemblies of God missionaries arrive in 1945; the Bahamian Council of the Assemblies of God was organized in 1955.


     1931       -    The Salvation Army


     1946       -    National Baptist Convention in the USA, affiliated with the Baptist Union


     1952       -    Christian Church and Churches of Christ


     1956       -    Gospel Missionary Union


     1968       -    Southern Baptist Convention, International Mission Board


     1974       -    Global Outreach Mission


     1988       -    United Pentecostal Church International


     1993       -    AMG International


Date of Origin Unknown:


                        African Methodist Episcopal Church Zion      


                        Baptist International Mission

                        Brethren Assemblies (Plymouth Brethren)

                        Church of God (Anderson, IN)

Church of God of Prophecy

                        Church of Jesus Christ Ministerial Alliance


                        Church of the Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith

                        Church of the Nazarene


                        Hall Deliverance Foundation


                        Overcoming Saints of God Church

                        World Team (formerly, West Indies Mission), among Haitian immigrants; affiliated with the Evangelical Church of the Antilles.



(1)       Dates listed indicate the earliest recorded ministry or in case of discrepancies, the date most frequently indicated.


(2)       North American Agencies include U.S. and Canadian.


(1) Daryl L. Platt, "Who Represents the Evangelical Churches in Latin America? A Study of the Evangelical Fellowship Organizations." Pasadena, CA: an unpublished Doctor of Missiology Dissertation, School of World Mission, Fuller Theological Seminary, June 1991. Used by permission of the author.

(2) PROLADES (Latin American Socio-religious Studies Program), international headquarters in San José, Costa Rica: www.prolades.com, prolades@racsa.co.cr

            (3) John A. Siewert and Edna G. Valdez, editors: Mission Handbook of U.S. and Canadian Christian Ministries Overseas (MARC 1997).

(4) Jean-Jacques Bauswein and Lukas Vischer, The Reformed Family Worldwide (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1999).

(5) Clifton L. Holland, editor, World Christianity:  Central America and the Caribbean (MARC-World Vision International, 1981)