Whereas Buddhists are well catered for in Koh Phangan in terms of places of worship, people of other religious denominations are not. This is not surprising since the majority religion on the island is Buddhism. In Baan Tai there is one Christian church called Victory Church
The church is a small wooden building on the main road between Baan Tai and Thongsala. It is a wooden shack with a pointed roof with a cross. Nevertheless, it is easy to miss as the building is small and unassuming.
For those interested about the Victory Church group it is Victory Apostolic Ministries and the church council is independent. The church was set up in 2006. The language of worship is Thai.
There is no information available as to the size of the congregation. The population of Koh Phangan is (according to the latest figures) just over 7,000. There are no figures as to how many of these are Christian.
While the message of the gospels is inclusivity the fact that the language of worship is Thai limits perhaps the spiritual succour that the pastor can give to non-Thai speakers.
I have a friend who married a Thai woman on Koh Phangan. He has strong religious convictions. He went to Victory Church and came back with glowing reports about the church group and the pastor. Naturally, he speaks very good Thai. Indeed, he was so impressed with the church that he underwent a second baptism in the sea at Baan Tai.
My friend’s baptism is relevant to this post in the sense that part of the core beliefs of the Victory Apostolic Ministry is that baptism through total immersion is essential as a public profession of a person’s faith (rather than being a simple naming ceremony or a means of being admitted to burial in consecrated land).
Another tenet of the church is that the Bible is the infallible word of God; it is the final word on all matters. This probably means the church is not keen on gay people. Also raises the question of translation: is the Thai version of the Bible as infallible as King James Bible or even the older Latin and Hebrew texts.
There is one YouTube clip of a Victory Church ceremony. I have included it below. It gives you an idea of how the Christian message is coneyed in this South East Asian setting. The costumes and fan dancing are an example of this. Few Westerners venture into the church; and yet it is free to go, and of course culturally connected to the experience of many Westerners. I am not suggesting religion be made a topic of tourism; rather that a church visit in Koh Phangan might produce cultural insights for people, as well as giving people the opportunity to interact with Thais outside a money nexus.
4/1 1 Sub District Ban Tai , District Ko Phangan , Province Surat Thani , Thailand