School children in Devon have been working on a special project to commemorate the life of the first Bishop of Melanesia, who died 150 years ago this month and also to voice their concerns about climate change in the pacific.
Pupils at Feniton and Tipton St John Church of England Primary Schools in Devon, have a very special bond with school children in Melanesia in the pacific. For the past ten years the schools have welcomed guests from Melanesia and sent teachers to volunteer at Melanesian schools. During this time the pupils have learnt about the first Bishop of Melanesia, John Coleridge Patteson, who came from Devon, and have also heard about the devastation of climate change in the Melanesian islands today.
Executive Head, Colin Butler, said: “The children at Feniton and Tipton care deeply about what is happening to children in Melanesia because of climate change. They also wanted to commemorate that a young man from Devon went to Melanesia and died as a missionary out there 150 years ago.
“At the end of last term, the children painted pictures of Patteson growing up in Devon and then travelling to Melanesia. They have also written prayers about caring for the earth and asking for forgiveness for when we are wasteful and uncaring. The teachers at both schools are very proud of what the children have produced, and we hope the children in Melanesia like the work and see how much the children care for them and their first Bishop. Copies of the pictures and prayers will also be on display when the Archbishop of Canterbury visits St Andrew’s Church, Feniton on 18th September. “We have also just received prayers and drawings from the Melanesian school children, and we will be sharing these with the children as they return to school this week. It is wonderful to have this special relationship with children, teachers and schools over 10,000 miles way, all because a young man from Feniton, left Devon to become a missionary in Melanesia over 150 years ago,” said Mr Butler.