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Sunday, 25th September  2022 1:33:am

For the Cook Islands, and in particular Aitutaki, Christianity is a big part of life. This has been so since the first Missionaries from London, England, arrived outside the reef in 1821. For well over a hundred years, their church was called the LMS Church, (London Missionary Society). This was later changed to CICC or Cook Island Christian Church. Many a story about the coming of Christianity has been written but it was due to two Polynesians men who were landed on Aitutaki, that the conversion of the local tribes from Heathenism (Cannibalism) to God feaimage031Cook Islands Christian Churchring Christians took place within one year.

Today there are many different religions on Aitutaki from the CICC to the Catholic faith, the Seventh Day Adventists, the Mormons, the Baha’i plus a couple more but less well known creeds.

The main church of the Cook Island Christian Church stands in Arutanga, the commercial “hub” of Aitutaki. The services in this huge, made from coral rocks, Church is still the centre of religious life on Aitutaki. The 10.00 o’clock service on Sunday is one of the many special experiences one can and should enjoy, together with the local church community. The singing during the service is well known and is a delight to listen to.  This church was built after Papehia and Vahapata, the 2 Tahitian missionaries landed in 1821 and seven years later, was completed.

The Catholic worshippers have their Church and meeting house close to the Post Office and celebrate Sunday mass at 10.00. The Catholic Church is fairly new and bigger than the original one which was little more than a chapel. Beside the Sunday mass there is a daily mass at 6 pm and visitors are encouraged to visit the church.

The church for the Seventh Day Adventist faith is just up the road and their service there takes place on Saturdays about 10.00.

Despite the many Christian faiths on Aitutaki, there is great harmony amongst the different religions. Aitutaki has a Religious Advisory Council (RAC) where the heads of the different groups meet and hold regular monthly prayer meetings.

Aitutaki Lagoon