Christianity was first introduced in 1861 by Elekana, a deacon of the church in Manihiki in the northern Cook Islands. He was a member of a party of nine people whoarrived fortuitously after drifting for eight weeks in a storm. He was given permission by an island chief to teach the Gospel. After four months he went to Malua, Western Samoa, where he trained as an Islander missionary and returned to Tuvalu, which thereafter came under the supervision of the London Missionary Society (LMS). For more than a century LMS missionaries were stationed there. Later Tuvaluan Islander missionaries, trained in Samoa, served on the eight inhabited islands, where 97% of the people now belong to the church. Only a few British missionaries of the LMS have resided for any length of time in Tuvalu. The last among them assisted in the Bible translation into Tuvaluan from the (cognate) Samoan previously used as church language. Between 1959 and 1968 British missionaries helped to frame a constitution and paved the way to independence for the church in 1969. Many families from Tuvalu have worked abroad, as Islander missionaries within the Pacific, on ships, or in phosphate mines in Kiribati. One of the Tuvalu islands has a dialect close to the language of neighboring Kiribati; the two independent island states and their Prot churches stay in close contact and share similar systems of church government.
Today the church has congregations in Fiji and New Zealand and attempts are being made to astablish churches in Hawaii, Australia and in the Marshall Islands. The year 2003 will witness the reopening of the church's secondary school, Fetuvalu High School, that was once handed over to the government. Full time chaplancies to the hospital + prison and to the Tuvalu Maritime Training Institute and seamen and government has been approached for Financial assistance.
The church is a member of the World Association for Christian Communication, the Bays Brigade International Fellowship, and the Tuvalu Association of Non-Governmental Organisations.
Ekalesia Kelisiano Tuvalu (EKT)
PO Box 2, ValukuFunafuti