The Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACOM) the Most Reverend Leonard Dawea together with members of the Council of Bishop held a farewell Dinner for their retiring brother bishops; Bishop Alfred Karibongi and Bishop Nathan Tome and their wives at the at the Archbishop’s residence at Bishopdale, west Honiara in late August.
In his speech at the function, Archbishop Dawea explained; “The dinner was organised to thank the Retired Bishops for their many successes and achievements not only in their respective dioceses but for the whole Anglican community in the Province of Melanesia”.
“Bishop Nathan Tome and Alfred Karibongi had contributed a lot to the many important decisions in the highest decision-making bodies of the Church; and it was through their wisdom and experiences as senior Bishops of ACOM that we have had made fine and fair decisions,” Archbishop added.
Bishop Tome and Bishop Karibongi came into their respective episcopal offices when the late Sir Ellison Pogo was still the Archbishop of ACOM. Hence, Archbishop Leonard would be the fourth Archbishop they had served under.
“Though I am your Archbishop, I still see you two as my senior Bishops who I can run to for advice.” Archbishop Dawea said in his speech.
The retired Bishops thanked the ACOM for the privilege to become Bishops in ACOM. They encouraged the remaining Bishops to keep the unity of being brothers and Melanesians in their decision making either within ACOM or in the Anglican Communion.
“Remember, we are shepherds but servants of our people at all levels,” Bishop Tome said in his speech.
Former Archbishop of the Church, Governor General of Solomon Islands the Rt Rev Sir David Vunagi and Madam Vunagi whom the two retired bishops also served under were also invited to the farewell dinner.
Rt Rev Alfred Karibongi came into the office of the Bishop in the Diocese of Hanuato’o on the 30th September 2008 and retired on 9 June 2020. He served as Bishop for 13 years.
The Rt Rev Nathan Tome on the other hand came into the office of the Bishop on the 24th May 2001 in the Diocese of Banks and Torres in Vanuatu and later became the first Bishop of the Diocese of Guadalcanal when it was inaugurated on 23rd June 2013. He officially retired as Bishop of Guadalcanal on September 20th 2020. He served as Bishop for almost 20 years.
Twice in the last five years, Bishop Tome as the senior Bishop of ACOM also supervised the office of the Archbishop during transition periods. The Archbishop together with the council of Bishop and the ACOM family wishes Bishop Nathan Tome and wife Selina and Bishop Alfred Karibongi and wife Esther together with their family a happy and fruitful retirement.