Companions of the Melanesian Brotherhood Pilgrimage to Holy Island Saturday 17 June

In a English heat wave Companions of the Melanesian Brotherhood from the UK and European Region made their annual pilgrimage to Holy Island. It has a special place in the story of how the Gospel came to England with both St Aiden and St Cuthbert making their home at the monastery on this island. It was the most beautiful weather for our crossing at low tide. We began with prayer as we remembered the life and example of Ini Kopuria and his call to live the Gospel among the people, with truth and simplicity, giving everything he had in the service of Christ. At three different places we paused to pray and remember Ini’s early life, his family and friends, and his hospitality, and sense of community and mission. Arriving on Holy Island we held the most beautiful Eucharist in the garden surrounded by flowers, grass and friendly sparrows. At the end of the Eucharist we gathered in a large circle and sang and danced in true Solomon Island tradition before sharing a feast of roast chicken, sausages, baked beans, vegetarian sausages and the most delicious cakes and strawberries. It was a particular delight to be joined by Jennifer Probets and Alison and Tony Sparham with Roderick and Duncan their grandsons who seemed to love the pilgrimage, behaved like saints and want to come again.

It is the most incredible place and made us all feel close to the saints and the things of God and as the tide comes in one feels very close to our Melanesian Brothers who we prayed for and gave thanks for. It is indeed they who have inspired us to live simply, generously and with compassion the joy of the Gospels. This was a real chance in the UK to experience that Melanesian Spirit and we would like to thank all those who joined us and prayed for us on this very special day. Thank you to Barbara Molyneux who organised the logistics and all those who came to share. It was also good to see John Freeman looking so well and to Cath Duce and Sarah Crompton who helped make this time possible

The Brotherhood has indeed shown us the true way of service and we pray that you will continue to pray for our brothers and Companions in all places where they are living and working. I do hope you can join us next year for this pilgrimage it really is a highlight to the year

With love, joy and peace at a time when our nation needs it so much and in the true Spirit of Service shown to us in the Brotherhood and Sisterhood.

Fr Richard Carter