Lindsay Cameron is a new PhD student in the School of Culture, History and Language. He currently lives in Melbourne and drives to Canberra once a month for campus events and library research. His research topic is “The Convergence of British and American Methodism in the South Pacific.” Dr Vicki Luker is the Chair of his supervisory panel.
Lindsay’s research is particularly relevant to the study of South Pacific history today as it is almost two hundred years since the first Methodist missionary arrived in Australia (1815). From Australia, Methodism spread to New Zealand, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji and other Islands of the Southwest Pacific. 2015 will mark the beginning of rolling bicentennial celebrations across the Pacific islands and will generate a heightened interest in the work of those early Methodists.
Lindsay is an ordained minister in the Wesleyan Methodist Church, a branch of the global Methodist family with its roots in North America (most Methodists in the South Pacific follow a Methodist tradition that is British in origin). In 2012, a new regional conference was formed for the Wesleyan Methodists in the South Pacific, initially incorporating four South Pacific national churches. Some of these churches have British heritage and others have American heritage. The key question being posed by these Methodist communities now is “What factors are still present in Methodism in the South Pacific that have resulted in the abiding identity as Methodists and the ready desire to belong to a wider Methodist affiliation?”