Flows of Faith pp 143-159 | Cite as

The Gateway to the Fly: Christianity, Continuity, and Spaces of Conversion in Papua New Guinea

  • Alison DundonEmail author


By foregrounding space and the role it plays in the experience and recollection of conversion, Dundon illustrates how people conceptualise conversion to Christianity as meaningful. Her analysis of cultural continuity in terms of the parallels between practices and experiences of the ancestors and those of the missionaries draws attention to the importance of the places in which Gogodala live and move, and how they imagine the place to which they will travel to when they die (Wabila/Heaven). Conversion to Christianity, instigated by UFM missionaries and the establishment of the first UFM stations, churches and educational and health facilities, is perceived as a rupture, but not as traumatic and destructive. Rather, conversion is understood as a disjuncture between ‘before’ (when the ancestors did not know where they came from and its significance) and ‘now’ (when this has been revealed to them over time and through the spaces opened up between mission, church and community).


Conversion to Christianity cultural continuity UFM missionaries Gogodala christianity in Papua New Guinea church and community 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Discipline of Anthropology and Development StudiesThe University of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

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