Corporate entry: Remnant Church



The Remnant Church is a small Malaitan religious movement formed by Christopher England Kwaisulia (Igilana Kwaiga), grandson of the great passage master Kwaisulia (q.v.), and Zebulun Sisimia in 1955. Both had a SSEM background and Sisimia spent a short period at Betikama Seventh-day Adventist Primary School in 1949. The Remnant Church was charismatic and revelatory, full of dramatic signs of the Holy Spirit, celebrated Sabbath on Saturdays and was syncretic in its Malaitan cultural elements. At one meeting at Radefasu, twenty-four kilometres south of Auki, the whole congregation was possessed by the Holy Spirit and Kwaisulia claimed to have had a vision of Jesus Christ, who told him to observe the Jewish Saturday Sabbath. This caused a break with the SSEM and the Remnant congregations built new villages, one near Radefasu and another named Heaven near Kavikolo village, on the Lau-Baegu-Bealelea border. They took the Church's name from the Old Testament prophet's teaching about the Remnant of Israel. The followers observed Jewish laws regarding menstruation and food purity.

The Remnant Church claimed to be the only true church, with biblical connections reaching back to King Solomon's time, and links to a lost tribe of Israel that migrated to America, New Britain, New Guinea, Fiji, Guadalcanal and Malaita, landing first at Mbina Harbour on Malaita. The founder was Beldigao, son of Solomon and from the Levites priestly line. With his wife, named Malaita, he eventually moved into Kwara'ae's central mountains, and their children are said to be the ancestors of all Malaitans. As a direct descendant of Medigao, the first son, Sisimia claimed to be the paramount chief of all Malaita. The Remnant Church's flag had twelve stars for each of the tribes of Israel, an eagle representing obedience to God and to visions, and four colours: red for purity, white for righteousness, green for unity and love, and gold for loyalty to duty to God and man. Sisimia espoused independence under God's laws and opposed government taxation and control. Some church members were gaoled for refusing to be taxed in 1958, and others served short terms for non-cooperation with the 1959 census. Sisimia and several followers were gaoled in 1960 but escaped and hid out until 1963.

When HMS Cook surveyed Mbina Harbour in preparation for the arrival of HMS Britannia and Prince Philip in 1959, it was taken by Church followers to be a sign confirming the centrality of Mbina to the Beldigao story. The Church was most powerful in the 1950s and 1960s but began to decline during the 1970s. The branches of the Church led by Kwaisulia and Hamuel Afurara declined when they died in the 1980s, although Sisimia's branch remained strong with around one hundred members in the mid-1980s. (Maetoloa 1985; Trompf 1983; Burt 1983, 1994; Maeliau 1976)

Related Places

Published resources


  • Burt, Ben, Tradition and Christianity: The Colonial Transformation of a Solomon Islands Society, Harwood Academic Publishers, Chur, Switzerland, 1994. Details

Book Sections

  • Maetoloa, Meshach, 'The Remnant Church: Two Studies', in Carl Loeliger;Garry Trompf (ed.), New Religious Movements in Melanesia, University of the South Pacific and University of Papua New Guinea, Suva and Port Moresby, 1985, pp. 120-148. Details

Journal Articles

  • Burt, Ben, 'The Remnant Church: A Christian Sect of the Solomon Islands', Oceania, vol. 53, no. 4, June, pp. 334-346. Details
  • Trompf, Garry, 'Independent Churches in Melanesia', Oceania, vol. 54, no. 1, 1983, pp. 51-72. Details


  • Maeliau, Michael, The Remnant Church: A Separatist Church (Long Essay written at Christian Leaders Training College), Banz (Papua New Guinea), 1976. Details