Reaching the Nations International Church Growth Almanac

Country reports on the LDS Church around the world from a landmark almanac. Includes detailed analysis of history, context, culture, needs, challenges and opportunities for church growth.

Grenada

By David Stewart and Matt Martinich

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Geography

Area: 344 square km. A small Caribbean island nation north of Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada consists of the main island of Grenada and several small islands part of the Grenadines. Administration of the Grenadines is shared between Grenada and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Volcanic mountains dominate the interior of Grenada, and tropical weather occurs year round. Hurricanes are natural hazards. Deforestation, erosion, and pollution are environmental concerns. Grenada is administratively divided into six parishes and one dependency.

Peoples

Black: 82.4%

Mixed black and European: 13.3%

East Indian: 2.2%

Other: 1.3%

Unspecified: 0.8%

Population: 112,207 (July 2018)

Annual Growth Rate: 0.42% (2018)

Fertility Rate: 2.0 children born per woman (2018)

Life Expectancy: 72.1 male, 77.6 female (2018)

Languages: Grenadian Creole English (95%), Grenadian Creole French (2%), standard English (3%). English is the official language. Grenadian Creole English shares many characteristics with English creoles spoken in Barbados and Trinidad whereas Grenadian Creole French is similar to Saint Lucian Creole French.

Literacy: 96% (2017)

History

Carib Amerindians drove most Arawaks from Grenada prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1498. Caribs warded off any European colonization of the island for a century after its discovery. The English sold Grenada to a French company in 1650. The French established a small presence on the island and defeated the Caribs shortly thereafter. The English retook the island in 1762 and formally annexed Grenada in 1763. The English began cultivating nutmeg and cocoa after recurrent challenges growing sugarcane due to natural disasters, which brought Grenada to greater prominence in trade. Between 1833 and 1958, Grenada became part of the British Windward Islands Administration followed by the Federation of the West Indies until 1962. The British granted full autonomy in 1967 and independence in 1974. Between 1974 and 1979, Sir Eric Gairy held the office of prime minister until a coup brought a Marxist-Leninist government to power. The communist government fell into chaos in 1983, resulting in military invasion by the United States and other Caribbean nations to restore order. Political order has been reestablished for several decades. Hurricane Ivan devastated the island and the economy in 2004, killing thirty-seven, leaving between 8,000 and 10,000 homeless, and destroying or damaging 90% of the buildings on the island. The economy has recovered but continues to suffer from debt generated from the rebuilding process.[1] However, the public debt-to-GDP ratio has decreased during the 2010s as a result of increased tax revenue and austerity measures.

Culture

African, French, British, and Indian cultures have influenced contemporary Grenadian culture. Blacks, Europeans, and East Indians have traditionally segregated themselves, but intermarriage has increased in recent years.[2] Christianity is a dominant social influence. Common cuisine includes fruit, coconuts, dumplings, soups, fish, pork, and curry. Many common Caribbean music genres appear in Grenada, such as reggae and Zouk. Alcohol consumption rates are high compared to the world average.

Economy

GDP per capita: $15,100 (2017) [25.3% of U.S.]

Human Development Index: 0.772 (2017)

Corruption Index: 52 (2017)

Hurricanes Ivan and Emily in the mid-2000s crippled the economy, which relied heavily on nutmeg and cocoa crops for stability and revenue. Some diversification of the economy has occurred in recent years, such as in construction, manufacturing, tourism, education, and financial sectors. St. George’s University is a private university that provides the main source of foreign exchange. Poverty remains a serious issue as one-third of the population lives below the poverty line. Timber, fruit, and deepwater harbors are natural resources. Services employ 69% of the workforce and generate 77.7% of the GDP, whereas industry employs 20% of the workforce and generates 15.5% of the GDP. Primary industries include food products, textiles, assembly, tourism, and construction. Agriculture accounts for 11% of the workforce and generates 6.8% of the GDP. Major crops include bananas, cocoa, nutmeg, mace, avocados, sugarcane, and corn. The United States, Trinidad and Tobago, and Japan are primary trade partners.

Corruption appears less prevalent in Grenada than in many other developing Caribbean nations but remains a major issue. Concerns over corruption in government resulted in the passing of the Integrity in Public Life Act in 2007, which requires an Integrity Commission to review reported income and assets of government employees. Bribery is illegal, and corruption allegations are taken seriously. Grassroots organizations help monitor and report corruption.[3]

Faiths

Christian: 96.6%

Other: 3.4%

Christians

Denominations Members Congregations

Catholic – 40,320

Pentecostal – 19,264

Seventh Day Adventists – 14,110 – 51

Anglican – 9,520

Baptist – 3,584

Church of God – 2,688

Methodist – 1,792

Jehovah’s Witnesses – 595 – 10

Latter-day Saints – 425 – 1

Religion

Grenada has a homogenous Christian population. The largest denominations include Catholics (36%), Pentecostals (17%), and Seventh Day Adventists (13%). Denominations that account for over 2% of the population include Anglicans, Methodists, The Church of God, and Baptists.[4] Non-Christian religious groups include Baha’is, Hindus, and Muslims. Church attendance is high, as over 60% of Grenadians regularly attended formal religious services as of the late 2000s.[5]

Religious Freedom

The constitution protects religious freedom, which is upheld by the government. There is no state religion. To receive tax exemption status, a religious group must register with the Prime Minister’s Office, which also provides licenses for buildings and events. There have been no reports of societal abuses of religious freedom.[6]

Largest Cities

Urban: 31%

Saint George’s, Gouyave, Grenville, Victoria, Saint David’s

Cities listed in bold have no congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

One of the five largest settlements has a Church congregation. Sixteen percent (16%) of the national population resides in the five largest settlements. Over 90% of the national population resides on the island of Grenada.

Church History

A few Latter-day Saints resided on Grenada prior to 1985, some of whom attended medical school on the island. The West Indies Mission placed two full-time missionaries in May 1985 in Grenada and established the St. George’s Branch in the following September.[7] Church growth slowed in 1987 as a result of antagonism propagated by the local media, which resulted in senior missionaries being brought to court to testify about Latter-day Saint beliefs. Missionaries were removed from Grenada that year and did not permanently return until 1990 when six-month visas were granted to the Church. In 2001, the Church dedicated its first chapel in St. George’s.[8] Seminary and institute began in the mid-1990s. Some Grenadian members traveled to Trinidad and Tobago to attend a meeting with President Hinckley in 2002.[9] The West Indies Mission continues to administer Grenada. As a result of strong active membership and leadership growth in the late 2000s, mission and local church leaders in early 2010 were beginning to explore prospects of beginning a second congregation and mission outreach outside St George’s. However, as of 2018 no additional congregations have been established in Grenada.

Membership Growth

Church Membership: 425 (2017)

During the mid-1990s there were approximately one hundred members. Latter-day Saints totaled 116 by year-end 2000, increasing to 157 by 2002. Slow to stagnant membership growth occurred thereafter as membership reached 173 in 2005 and 176 in 2007. Membership declines occurred in 2003 and 2006. Raid membership growth occurred for most years in the 2010s as annual membership growth rates ranged from 10-20% between 2010 and 2014. Church membership reached 230 in 2010, 305 in 2012, 376 in 2014, and 416 in 2016. In 2018, membership was evenly divided between Grenadians and expatriates primarily from the United States. At the time about half of membership were in families with two parents. Most were from low socioeconomic status.

In 2017, one in 263 was a Latter-day Saint, or 0.38% of the national population.

Congregational Growth

Wards: 0 Branches: 1 Group: 1 (2018)

The St. George’s Branch is the sole official branch in Grenada. The branch is a mission branch of the West Indies Mission. No other branch has ever appeared to operate in Grenada.

The Church began some efforts to expand outreach in the mid to late 2010s. A member group briefly operated in Gouyave from 2016 until 2017. The Church organized the Grenville Group in approximately 2017.

Activity and Retention

In 2010, three students were enrolled in institute.[10] During 2009, church attendance in the St. George’s Branch increased from forty to eighty. The Gouyave Group had 10-15 who attended church in early 2016. The Grenville Group set a record for church attendance in mid-2017 of twenty-seven people. Returned missionaries who served in the mid-2010s reported approximately 150 people who attended sacrament meeting on most Sundays. In 2018, church attendance may have reached as high as 150. However, members report a significant number of local less-active or inactive members on the rolls.

National active membership is estimated at 150, or 35% of total membership.

Language Materials

Languages with Latter-day Saint Scripture: English.

All Latter-day Saint scriptures and materials are available in English.

Meetinghouses

The St George’s Branch meets in a church-built meetinghouse. Member groups have appeared to meet in rented spaces or member homes.

Humanitarian and Development Work

The Church has completed twenty-seven humanitarian and development projects in Grenada which have primarily consisted of community projects.[11] Medical supplies, hygiene kits, newborn kits, clothing, and powdered milk have been donated.[12] The Church sent sixteen pallets of hygiene kits and medical supplies to Grenada in 2004 following Hurricane Ivan.[13]

 

Opportunities, Challenges, and Prospects

Religious Freedom

Latter-day Saints face no government or societal restrictions regarding assembly, missionary activity, or worship. Foreign full-time missionaries serve on the island.

Cultural Issues

High rates of church attendance and religious interest create opportunities and challenges for Latter-day Saints, as most have a Christian background and have developed regular religious habits, but many are socially entrenched in their current churches. Competition between various denominations for converts can create a difficult environment for full-time missionaries to find, baptize, and retain new converts.

National Outreach

Thirty-six percent (36%) of the national population resides in St. George Parish, the only parish with an official branch. The Grenville Group operates in St. Andrew Parish where 25% of the national population resides. These two congregations function in administrative divisions inhabited by approximately 60% of the national population albeit there are many areas in both parishes without a nearby congregation.

The majority of the inland’s inhabitants reside in small communities and rural areas outside the capital in unreached parishes that have never had full-time missionaries consistently assigned. The small geographic size of Grenada and its population over slightly over 100,000 require few congregations to accomplish outreach among nearly the entire island population. A branch or member group in each of the six parishes would provide outreach to virtually the entire population on Grenada. The most populated lesser-reached or unreached parishes appear most suitable for future expansion of national outreach in the foreseeable future such as St. David. The creation of groups or dependent branches around a small nucleus of active members in these areas may help establish permanent branches over time. However, efforts to expand outreach in Grenada have heavily relied on full-time missionaries. With decreases in the number of full-time missionaries available, it appears unlikely that additional locations will open to missionary activity unless these efforts are undertaken by local leadership and members.

The Church has no country-specific Internet site for Grenada but has abundant English language materials online. A website tailored to the cultural conditions and circumstances of Grenada may assist in national outreach expansion and finding.

Member Activity and Convert Retention

Grenada has historically experienced modest member activity rates. Reactivation efforts by full-time missionaries and local members doubled member activity rates from 20% to 40% in 2009. These efforts have been sustained for nearly a decade. Local members generally appear well involved in member-missionary activity and reactivation work, working together with full-time missionaries.

Ethnic Issues and Integration

Transient medical students from the United States who attend St. George’s University pose challenges for stability in the branch. However, there do not appear to be any significant challenges with integrating locals and foreigners into the same branch per several local member reports.

Language Issues

Local members utilize materials in standard English. There are no materials translated in Grenadian Creole English. Prospects for future translations in this and other Caribbean English creoles appear unlikely due to few speakers and the use of standard English in official settings.

Missionary Service

Few, if any, Grenadian members have recently served full-time missions. Emphasizing seminary and institute attendance may help increase the number of local members who serve full-time missions. The St. George’s Branch has had five or more missionary companionships assigned for at least a couple years – a significant number for a congregation of approximately 150 or fewer active members. The assignment of multiple missionary companionships to the same branch can result in problems with local member and leader self-sufficiency, especially if full-time missionaries undertake responsibilities traditionally reserved for local members.

Leadership

Local leadership has matured in recent years. In 2009, all three members of the branch presidency were local members. A second branch has likely not been organized in St. George’s due to few priesthood holders who are active. Member groups outside of St. George’s lack sufficient local leadership to permit the organization of official branches.

Temple

Grenada pertains to the Caracas Venezuela Temple district although few members likely attend their assigned temple. Temple trips for the branch do not appear to be organized regularly, and most members likely attend the temple on an individual basis. Prospects for a temple closer to Grenada are unlikely due to few Latter-day Saints in the region.

Comparative Growth

Grenada ranks average among Caribbean nations and territories in regards to the size of Church membership and scope of national outreach. Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines have all experienced similar membership growth trends during the 2010s as evidenced by steady membership growth and minor efforts to expand mission outreach. Some of the most rapid active membership growth in the Caribbean occurred in Grenada in the late 2000s and early 2010s. Member activity rates appear average for the region. The percentage of Latter-day Saints in the population is slightly higher than most Caribbean nations.

Several Christian groups have experienced rapid, sustained church growth over the past several decades. Pentecostals and Seventh-Day Adventists are among the most successful. Seventh-Day Adventists experienced robust church growth between 1998 and 2008, as membership increased by 50% and congregations grew from twenty-nine to forty-four. Adventist membership growth has slowed in the past decade albeit approximately 250-400 new members are baptized each year – two or three times the number of active Latter-day Saints in the entire country. Jehovah’s Witnesses have reported no significant change in the number of active members during the past decade. However, Witnesses operate ten congregations scattered throughout the country.

Future Prospects

Sustained increases in the number of active members, improvements in leadership development, and efforts to expand missionary operations into additional areas outside of St. George’s are welcome developments in Grenada, which in the past has experienced low member activity and inadequate numbers of active members to fill leadership positions. Sustained growth will be most clearly measured by the creation of additional branches in the coming years as active membership grows too large to be administered by one congregation. Youth regularly preparing and serving full-time missions and remaining in Grenada will add greater stability and promote long-term growth. There is a need for greater local Grenadian member and leader involvement in the expansion of the Church into additional areas of the country. The Grenville Group may become a branch once there is adequate local leadership to staff essential callings. A district may be organized once there are at least three branches in Grenada.


[1] “Background Note: Grenada,” Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, 8 November 2010. http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2335.htm

[2] “Grenada,” Countries and Their Cultures, retrieved 11 November 2010. http://www.everyculture.com/Ge-It/Grenada.html

[3] “2010 Investment Climate Statement—Grenada,” Bureau of Economic, Energy, and Business Affairs, March 2010. http://www.state.gov/e/eeb/rls/othr/ics/2010/138074.htm

[4] “International Religious Freedom Report for 2017.” Accessed 22 January 2019. https://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/irf/religiousfreedom/index.htm?year=2017&dlid=281074#wrapper

[5] “Grenada,” International Religious Freedom Report 2009, 26 October 2009. http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2009/127391.htm

[6] “International Religious Freedom Report for 2017.” Accessed 22 January 2019. https://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/irf/religiousfreedom/index.htm?year=2017&dlid=281074#wrapper

[7] “Grenada,” Country Profile, retrieved 11 November 2010. http://beta-newsroom.lds.org/country/grenada

[8] “Grenada,” Deseret News 2010 Church News Almanac, p. 494.

[9] “Visit to West Indies because ‘We love you,’” LDS Church News, 1 June 2002. http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/41901/Visit-to-West-Indies-because-We-love-you.html

[10] “Grenada,” Institute of Religion Locator, retrieved 11 November 2010. http://lds.org/institutes/locate/0,10049,1397–1–36–0–134,00.html

[11] “Where We Work,” LDS Charities. Accessed 22 January 2019. https://www.ldscharities.org/where-we-work

[12] “Projects—Grenada,” Humanitarian Activities Worldwide, retrieved 11 November 2010. http://www.providentliving.org/project/0,13501,4607–1–2008–111,00.html

[13] Swensen, Jason. “Hurricane Ivan batters Gulf Coast,” LDS Church News, 18 September 2004. http://www.ldschurchnews.com/articles/46151/Hurricane-Ivan-batters-Gulf-Coast.html