“The Mango Tree Church”
“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.” (Revelation 22:1-6)
In The Mango Tree Church, a history of the Protestant Christian Church in Bali (GKPB), author Douglas McKenzie wrote:
From a small seed planted in the rich Bali soil, the mango grows into a massive, productive tree. The Church likens itself to this tree and aims to be a vital, spiritual presence in the life of the community, productive in all branches of its work. (Former) Bishop I. Wayan Mastra has a special reason for choosing the mango tree as a symbol. He explains that although the mango tree is highly visible, it adapts itself in a way that blends in with its rich, green, tropical environment. It provides welcome shade in a hot climate and produces refreshing fruit. Dr. Mastra identifies the mango tree with Revelation 21-22 where the writer sees a ‘New Jerusalem’ coming into being and containing the throne of God. From this spiritual center, comes a river of ‘living water’, like the steams that flow from Bali’s sacred mountains.
Dr. Mastra’s vision is to see the Christian Church in Bali become a spiritual center for the life of the Balinese people. From this spiritual center he sees streams of living water flowing—satisfying streams of God’s mercy, love and grace. Like the tree in Revelation, he sees the Church perpetually bearing fruit to satisfy the deepest hunger of those who search for life’s meaning.
English Language Ministry
Worship in English for expats in Bali has been an integral part of the GKPB understanding of the church universal, the eternal ongoing life of the Spirit of Christ in our midst. The ministry in English was to be both an opportunity for the expat community to worship, but also a visible expression of the universal church. In this spirit, Dr. I Wayan Mastra, as the only English speaking pastor in the Bali Church, held services from 1972 to 1980 at the Bali Beach Hotel in Sanur. During Dr. Mastra’s time away in the States In 1980 Rev. Roger Lewis, a missionary of CM&A took over the services, but Dr. Mastra continued with them on his return until 1988. This was the seed of the now Gateway Christian Church, an English worship service in Sanur as CM&A congregation.
In the 1992, recognizing the opportunity and responsibility to serve the throng of tourists coming to the Kuta district, the Protestant Christian Church in Bali (GKPB) began to conduct English-speaking worship services at the Philadelphia (Legian) Church. Present Bishop Wayan Sudira Husada was the pastor of the Philadelphia at that time, and was instrumental in inviting English speaking pastors and missionaries who were known to be visiting or living in Bali. Among the first were Rev. Doug McKenzie from the Uniting Church of Australia and Rev. Eddy Trotter, a missionary from Australia who was active in prison ministry in Bali.
In 1993 retired Sumatra Wesleyan Methodist missionary Rev. W.L. Armstrong served as one of the pastors and then set up the current VIM program of recruiting retired clergy to hold worship services in English.
In 1999 a second service was added to serve the Nusa Dua area in the newly constructed church known as Bukit Doa. Rev. Wendell Karsen, a Reformed Church in America missionary, was assigned to begin a morning English language service in the new Bukit Doa Church that was shared by the Bukit Doa Indonesian Church. The first service was held in January 1999 with four people in attendance. By the end of Karsen’s service in May 2000, the church was organized with the ordination of elders, with some 75 people in attendance.
Now serving two congregations Rev. Armstrong continued to coordinate the VIM ministry until 2003 when Rev. Tom Aiken became coordinator. Rev. Lyle Predmore became the coordinator in 2004 and continues to serve in that role.
In 2008 under the leadership of VIM Pastor Richard Solberg’s two year ministry the Bukit Doa Congregation (BDIC) became an official congregation of the GKPB
In 2010 The Legian congregation became the Kuta International Christian Church (KICC) and a recognized congregation and member of the GKPB. KICC continues to share the sanctuary and facilities of the Philadelphia Congregation. An additional building is to be finished in mid 2010 that will provide much needed space for both Congregations for their ministries close to the bustling Kuta shopping and tourist district.
In January 2011 Rev. Kade Mastra, a GKPB pastor was assigned to the two International Congregations to work as a team with the two assigned sort term VIM clergy. The GKPB pastor gives more continuity to the pastoral work in both congregations as well as making the ministry better stewards of the talents and gifts of each VIM pastor. The Constitution was changed to reflect Rev. Kade’s ministerial work in our midst and our relationship to the wider ministry of the GKPB.