Tag: ACoM

ACoM Bishops Rt Revd James Tama and Rt Revd Rickson Maomaoru

Melanesian Bishops Visit The UK

New BishopsIn February, the Rt Revd James Tama, Bishop of Vanuatu and New Caledonia, and the Rt Revd Rickson Maomaoru, Assistant Bishop of Malaita visited the UK. First they attended the ‘New Bishops’ course in Canterbury with visits to Lambeth Palace and the Anglican Communion Office.

The Bishops went on to visit Wycombe Abbey, one of MMUK’s oldest supporters, which is also linked with St Patrick’s College in Vanuatu. The Bishops were interviewed by pupils and were able to give an update on St Patricks College, which was evacuated from the island of Ambae last year.

Bishops Rickson Maomaoru, Robert Atwell, Bishop of Exeter, and James Tama
Bishops Rickson Maomaoru, Robert Atwell, Bishop of Exeter, and James Tama

In Exeter Diocese, the Bishops met Rt Revd Bishop Robert Atwell, Bishop of Exeter and the Dean of Exeter Cathedral, the Very Reverend Jonathan Greener. Walking in Patteson’s footsteps, the Bishops also visited the home of Bishop John Coleridge Patteson (first Bishop of Melanesia), his family’s church, the church where he was curate, and memorials to Patteson’s ministry and martyrdom.

The Bishops then went to the Diocese of Chester, which is officially linked to the Province of Melanesia. They met representatives of local schools which have partnerships with schools in the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. They visited the retreat house at Foxhill, where they saw the new cross which has been made and presented by the Melanesian Brothers, and the Sisters of Jesus Way, who are now linked with the Sisters of Melanesia. They spent a day looking at mission projects across the diocese, ending with a dinner hosted by Bishop Peter at Bishop’s House, attended by many friends and supporters.

Both Bishops enjoyed a ‘quiet day’ on the Saturday, with Bishop James meeting up with family and Bishop Rickson spending the day with Reverend Jacky Wise, who had worked alongside him at Selwyn College, as part of the Chaplaincy Team. The two visited Liverpool Cathedral and Jacky was delighted to be able to return in some small way something of the generous hospitality that she had received in the Solomon Islands. The Bishops also took part in the Sunday morning Eucharist at Chester Cathedral, where Bishop James preached and Bishop Rickson gave the blessing.

Reflecting on his visit, Bishop Rickson said: “We learnt much about our historical links and connections. It was indeed a worthwhile visit in terms of the creative response towards climate change and holistic mission in our Anglican Network and how to address these issues globally with sustainable means for the future.

“God continue to sustain MMUK with his wisdom as it becomes a medium for transformation in our Anglican world today. God bless you all,” said Bishop Rickson.

Human Rights Training - The Team

Human Rights Training Continues

Due to fly out this week, Rachel Crossley, Christine Calderwood and Clem Noble report on the latest stage of Human Rights training in the Solomon Islands.

“We are all born free and equal. We have our own thoughts and ideas. We should all be treated the same way”
Article 1 United Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)

In November 2016, we travelled to Honiara as part of the project ‘Article 1: Free and Equal’ to deliver Human Rights Education training to teachers from ACoM Solomon Island secondary schools. ‘Article 1’ is a project to introduce human rights to the Solomon Islands, to increase understanding of human rights and how this integrates with existing Christian beliefs and values. Thereby helping to support efforts being made by Solomon Island Citizens to create peaceful and stable communities, and particularly to help reduce gender inequality and violence against women. We firmly believe that all learning and change starts with Education.

“Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause”
Isaiah 1:17

The workshops were attended by eleven teachers from six schools across the Solomon Islands. All of the teachers engaged enthusiastically with the workshops and successfully completed them, becoming ‘Human Rights Champions’ with a commitment to pass on their learning to colleagues and their wider communities.

Whilst there we were generously welcomed by both the Community of the Sisters of the Church and the Melanesian Brotherhood. Meetings also took place with a number of stakeholders (including the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development, the Ministry for Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs, the Solomon Islands Police Force, and the President of the Mothers Union). The project was positively received by all, and all agreed that national implementation of some form of human rights education would be beneficial and a positive contribution towards ongoing efforts to promote gender equality.

Since returning the team were pleased to receive very positive feedback and encouragement to apply for further funding by the British High Commissioner’s (BHC) Office, to continue and expand the Human Rights Education programme.

Having secured further funding we are due to return in March of this year. The second stage project aims to extend the training to primary school teachers as well as providing further training for secondary human rights champions. The project was also picked up by the British High Commission in Papua New Guinea and we are delighted that we have teachers from PNG joining us for this stage. We have a total of 29 confirmed attendees and will also be holding at their request a one-day workshop for the four Anglican religious orders and the Mothers’ Union.

We are very grateful and thankful for the support of MMUK, ACoM and the British High Commissions in the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, without whom this project would not be possible.

Human Rights Training - Bishops
Christine Calderwood – Project Leader with Bishops James and Rickson, during their UK visit earlier this month

Prayer

Dear Lord
We ask your blessing on Christine, Clem and Rachel as they travel to the Solomon Islands.
May their work be filled with your wisdom.
May those who they work with be inspired by your Holy Spirit
and may they all work for the furtherance of your Kingdom.
May all be encouraged to obey your commandment of love
and may there be respect for all in every part of society.
We ask your blessings and encouragement in Jesus name.
Amen.

Christine and her team will be taking out with them letters and art projects from UK schools linked with schools in the Solomon Islands, as part of the ongoing school partnerships which MMUK facilitates. UK pupils are looking forward to seeing what Christine brings back from the pupils at the partnered schools.

Christine Calderwood

Nupani Atoll

Cyclone Oma

Cyclone Oma left a trail of damage, leaving many homeless in the Nupani Atoll. Homes were washed away by high storm surges submerging the atoll for ten days – killing taro and banana crops. In other parts of Vattu and Pele regions there was also extensive damage to food crops – breadfruit, banana, cassava, pawpaw and vegetables. It will take at least twelve months to recover. Food assistance is needed for six months.

Read the full Diocese of Temotu Disaster Assessment Report and Donate through the our giving channels.

Women On The Frontline Training

Women On The Frontline For Reconciliation And Restoration – Retreat And Training Report

The theme of the retreat & training was “Women on the Frontline for Reconciliation and Restoration”.

The aim was to empower women leaders in ACoM, especially Bishops’ and Clergy wives and women lay leaders to be equipped to become peacemakers, and to have courage to make steps to be at the frontline to become ambassadors of peace.

Mrs Caroline Welby the wife of the Archbishop of Canterbury and three staff from the Lambeth Palace, Mrs Sarah Snyder, Mrs Jane Namurye and Mrs Keren Lewis convened the retreat and training.

When Archbishop Justin Welby became the Archbishop of Canterbury, Mrs Welby had a vision to visit all Bishops’ wives within the Anglican Communion to encourage them in their role as they share the same calling and challenges.

The Anglican Church of Melanesia was the third province the team had visited to conduct the retreat and training.

The retreat was conducted for Bishops’ wives for two and half days and the second part of the programme was the training which included clergy wives and women leaders in ACoM. A total of twenty-eight women attended the training.

In his opening address, the Most Reverend George Takeli, Archbishop of the Province of Melanesia said this is the era of renewal and restoration in our society, and women must be in the frontline to lead. He views the training of women as a priority and is taking steps to make it happen. This includes:

  • Increasing the enrolment of girls in ACoM Schools
  • Increasing the number of women in the 2020 General Synod and Executive Council
  • Awarding of scholarships for women in theological training

The Importance of Retreat and Training:

The programme was unique, in that all participants were able to freely share and talk about their experiences and challenges. The method used at both the retreat and training was unique and of a high level with each session based on scripture, in which participants either used imaginary creative art or role-played characters from the chosen texts. These activities allowed participants to make connections to real life situations.

Participants who felt touched by what was being delivered and shared, were given opportunities to pray and share individually with Mrs Welby and her team. An opportunity was also given for anyone to have time with Sr. Veronica, the Sister Provincial and the only ordained woman in Melanesia. Seeing women queuing at the Sisters’ chapel to have their turn, speaks a lot on the Ordination of Women. Women share freely with women. Peace of Christ in our hearts was experienced by most of the women that attended this programme.

The programme was very effective like no other, because of the simplicity of Mrs Welby and her team and the process in the delivery method. Above all, the encouragement given in prayer life for the journeys we make in life.

What Next?

“How are we going to make steps forward in the implementation of what we have acquired?”, was the question at the last day.

Participants were divided into three groups to discuss what will happen next after this training. They resolved to take steps to be ambassadors of peace in their families, communities and country:

  • Bishops’ wives to meet once every year
  • Awareness to be carried out in each diocese
  • Diocese of Central Melanesia to be a pilot diocese to carry out training
  • Revise the position of Women’s Desk at the ACoM Headquarters by a six-member committee
  • A follow up visit by Mrs Welby and Team in the future

Acknowledgements:

  • First of all, we thank God for his grace given to women to be at the Frontline for Reconciliation and Restoration
  • We give thanks to God for calling Archbishop Justin Welby and Mrs Welby to shepherd the Anglican Communion
  • The love and passion that has brought Mrs Welby and her team to share with us and the humility and simplicity to be able to adjust to the life style so different from theirs. Also, for their commitment to prayer and encouragement to pray as a tool really stood out
  • For Archbishop George and Mrs June Takeli making this possible through their invitation to Mrs Welby to visit Melanesia
  • For the General Secretary and ACoM Administration for the support rendered
  • The Committee through the Provincial Mothers’ Union Office, who facilitated the visit in consultation with Archbishop George and Mrs Takeli
  • Sr. Veronica for celebrating for us daily and the love and care the sisters at Tete-Nikoli-Vuti (TNK), we couldn’t have chosen a better place. Just the right place for the Retreat and Training

News story and pictures from ACoM Communications

Flooding

Flooding in the Solomon Islands

The MMUK office was saddened to learn on reopening in early January, that the Solomon Islands had suffered from heavy rain over Christmas and new year. An estimated 100,000 people across six of Solomon Islands’ eight provinces had been affected by two weeks of torrential rain and strong winds.

FloodingSecretary to the Melanesian Brothers’, Alphonse Garimae reported: “Rain and wind on New Year’s Eve has badly affected the Melanesian Brotherhood Head Quarters. Flooding has damaged again food gardens and other crops, according to reports received from Head Brother. Gardens were swept away by rivers and some bush garden houses were damaged due to fallen trees.”

The Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACoM) has received numerous requests for assistance with food from various communities throughout Guadalcanal. The ACoM Disaster Committee met last week to look at the situation and coordinate with other relief agencies and the National Disaster Council to respond accordingly. Donations to support this work, can be sent to MMUK, with the reference 2018 SI Flood Appeal.


Community of the Sisters of Melanesia Flooding Report
Date: December 2018 – January 2019

Damage report from the headquarters of The Community of the Sisters of Melanesia in Verana’aso. Sisters, Novices and Staff have been affected, especially their daily food sourced from the root crop gardens. This will probably last for another four to five months whilst they begin to plant their food crops again. A few of the community’s temporary buildings also had their roofs blown off.

The pictures below show the major damage to the CSM food crops, vegetable and staff gardens.

News story and pictures courtesy of Companion Charlton Thegu – 1st January 2019 at Verana’aso

Bishop Willie Pwaisiho

Bishop Willie retires from his Parish in Chester Diocese

On Sunday 20th January 2019 a special service was held at St James, Gawsworth to celebrate Bishop William’s retirement from his parish in Chester Diocese. People came from all over the UK, with 180 people squeezed into church for this very special event. Speeches were made by Fr. Paul, Katie Drew from the Melanesian Mission UK, John Freeman from the Chester Diocese and a Companion of the Melanesian Brotherhood, the Parish’s Patron Rupert Richards and of course Bishop William himself. At the end of the service all the Pwaisiho family sang a farewell song to the congregation. A few handkerchiefs were seen in use around the Church.

Bishop Willie and his family are retiring in Chester Diocese, with Bishop Willie continuing his Assistant Bishop duties.

We pray…

Almighty God, the light of the faithful and shepherd of souls,
We give you thanks for the faithful ministry of your servant Willie (William) Alaha Pwaisiho:
For his service and ministry in New Zealand
For his guidance and leadership as Bishop of Malaita
For his love and pastoral care of the people of Gawsworth
For his inspiration as assistant bishop Of Chester.
We pray for Willie and Kate and their family as they prepare for retirement and continue in your service and witness,
Through Jesus Christ our Lord
Amen

News story and pictures from Gawsworth Parish

Archbishop George Takeli

Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia retires

In accordance with ACOM’s Constitutional Canons the General Secretary Dr Abraham Hauriasi advises that the current Archbishop George Takeli will be stepping down from office in March this year.

On 25th March 2019 Archbishop George Takeli will reach the compulsory retirement age of 60. He will have served as Archbishop for nearly three years and leaves the Church in good heart. Prior to his appointment as the primate of the Anglican Church of Melanesia, he served as Bishop of Temotu for six years and has been an ordained priest for twenty three years, following a career in the Solomon Islands marine division.

Archbishop Takeli’s term of office has seen a number of changes and initiatives. Shortly after his installation he oversaw the first Bishops’ training in the Diocese of Vanuatu and New Caledonia, highlighting the very close working relationship with the dioceses in that part of the Province. He also forged close relationships with important mission partners including the Melanesian Mission Trust Board and the Church in New Zealand, Melanesian Mission UK, and other key partners both regionally and internationally.

In November 2017 he presided over the 14th General Synod in Port Vila, Vanuatu and encouraged open discussions on a number of important issues including changes to the ACOM Canons aimed at modernising the Church in line with changing social conditions, the ordination of women and the establishment of a number of task forces.

In May 2018, at St Barnabas Cathedral, he re-launched the decade of Evangelism and Renewal Programme, which will be implemented in all Dioceses within ACOM from early next year.

Archbishop Takeli said: “I have worked to implement the vision God placed in my heart for this Church to build ACOM and help the church grow and mature in all aspects of spiritual, socio-political, economic and cultural well-being.”

The process of selecting a new Archbishop will commence following the Archbishop’s retirement and will be take place in accordance with Church Law.

News story and pictures from ACoM Communications

Vanuatu, Ambae Volcanic Ash

Request for prayers and assistance from the Bishop of Vanuatu

Following ongoing volcanic activity and falling ash from the volcano on the Vanuatu island of Ambae, the government has ordered a complete evacuation and the permanent closure of all institutions. This has made over 9,000 people homeless and also the loss of a Melanesian Brothers’ Household and the Church flagship school St Patricks.

The Rt Revd James Tama, Bishop of Vanuatu and New Caledonia has made this appeal to UK friends.

Please pray for our situation here and the displaced families from Ambae, over 2,000 in Maewo, over 7,000 in Santo and over 2,000 scattered all over the islands in Vanuatu with immediate family members. I have

over 40 families, a total of 110 staying with me at the bishop’s residence. I do sympathize with them and had to organise fundraising for them, since the government is still to respond with immediate needs. We are looking for some plots of land, somewhere suitable for farming and the stronger men will then go there and begin clearing the bush ready for farming. The women will stay back with the children who are attending school. We have partitioned part of the Diocesan office into 3 rooms where the children of over 5 schools from Ambae attend daily from kindy, class 1 – class 6.

My wife and I have started the psychological first aid support with the mothers, gathering them, allowing them to express freely their feelings and the needs for their families, then we decided out of our own pockets provide wool for knitting, printing materials, crochet knitting, sewing materials, and other life-skills to occupy themselves and at least do something that they can sell and earn small money to help their families since the state of emergency is now extended until 26 November. My humble request is if you can share our stories of the difficult situation we are facing at the moment, and for anyone who may wish to support our mothers with little funds to resource their home life-skill training would be very much appreciated.

Many thanks with love and prayers +James Tama
Diocese of Vanuatu and New Caledonia

Many thanks to those individuals, parishes, schools and Companions of the Melanesian Brotherhood who have already sent in donations to support those affected by the volcano. If you would like to make a donation to help Bishop James provide for these displaced families, please send your donations to the charity with the reference Ambae relocation. The charity is planning to transfer another round of donations before Christmas.

In 2019 MMUK hopes to receive the plans for the rebuilding of St Patricks School, and will launch a fundraising campaign to support this large project. You will find details for this, at the time of launch, on our donations page.

Vanuatu, Ambae Volcanic Ash
Vanuatu, Ambae Volcanic Ash
World Mission

The World Shrinks – God Expands

‘The world shrinks, and perceptions of God expand’ was the main finding from research conducted into what happens when Christians experience positive cross-cultural encounter.

From 2014 to 2016 I was engaged on a fascinating piece of research asking questions about Diocesan Companion Links. These are the relationships, some as long as 40 years, which dioceses have with different parts of the Anglican Communion and wider ecumenical links. Questions about the nature of Companion Links relationships were paramount. What sort of relationships were they? What were the challenges and joys faced in these relationships? How were they developing into the future?

I took a case study approach to this research. Three Church of England dioceses agreed to be part of the project. They were the diocese of Bath and Wells in its relationship with the five dioceses of the Anglican Church of Zambia, the Diocese of Chelmsford and their relationship with the five dioceses of the Mount Kenya East region and the diocese of Liverpool and the diocese of Virginia in the Episcopal Church of the USA.World Mission

These three case studies provided a rich picture of following Christ in different contexts with access to vastly different resources but who were similar in worshipping and following Christ through the Anglican tradition.

I travelled to all the dioceses involved in England, Africa and the USA. I asked two simple questions – what is your experience of the link and where do you see it developing in the future? Meetings and interviews took place in churches, schools, under the mango tree and over many shared meals.

The conclusions fell into two categories – discipleship and friendship. It became clear that positive cross-cultural encounters were a source of growth and transformation for many involved in links.

Discipleship seems to be the theme of the moment. Everyone in the churches, it seems, is talking about discipleship. However, I haven’t heard a lot about the contribution of cross-cultural encounters to ongoing discipleship. What became clear early in the research was that positive cross-cultural encounter can encourage and inspire discipleship.

Here’s a story. A tragic and sudden death of a parish link co-ordinator in Bath and Wells Diocese shocked everyone. Catherine was loved in her parish and by the parish in Eastern Zambia where she had visited several times. The parishioners in Eastern Zambia were unable to attend the funeral but at the same time as the funeral was taking place in the UK the church in Zambia came together to give thanks for Catherine’s life and commit her to God. The effect of this in both places was a stronger personal link between very different places and an inspiration to follow and witness to Christ more faithfully.

A further example was found in the link between Liverpool and Virginia dioceses. A clergyman from Liverpool witnessed work with refugees in Virginia and was inspired to begin a similar work. Young people from Liverpool said that their Youth Pilgrimage helped them to talk about their faith at home. It was clear that whether experiences were between north to north contexts or north to south contexts the effects were similar.

Friendship was the major way in which links described their relationships across cultures. Friendship is an important way of expressing our common belonging in the Body of Christ through practical expressions such as visits and gift-giving. It became apparent that while the English partners were good at giving we were less happy about receiving from less materially affluent partners. There is learning to be done that recognises the wide variety of forms of gifts and that giving and receiving of gifts gives dignity to all.

The Melanesian Mission is an important expression of these principles. Encouraging discipleship and friendship is at the heart of being a mission agency.

A full copy of the research report can be accessed at; www.churchofengland.org/more/church-resources/world-mission

Janice Price, World Mission Adviser, The Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England.

Chester School Links - Margaret and Salome

Chester School Links Go From Strength To Strength

Over the last two years, the programme of partnerships between schools in the Diocese of Chester and the Province of Melanesia has blossomed.

Chester School Links - Margaret and Salome
Chester School Links – Margaret and Salome

Links between two Church of England primary schools, in Warmingham and Frodsham, and St Francis School, Vaturanga (Guadalcanal) have been in existence for some time. A member of staff from St Francis, Salome Vuthia visited our two partner schools in 2015, and children in all three schools have been keen to exchange letters and presents, and to learn about life on the other side of the world.

The number of partner schools has now grown substantially. More primary schools are coming into the programme from across the diocese, pairing with schools in the Solomons and now also in Vanuatu. In all, there are now eight primary schools from across the diocese in such arrangements.

Chester School Links - Salome and Margaret at Frodsham
Chester School Links – Salome and Margaret at Frodsham

One of our church secondary schools has now joined the scheme as well. Woodchurch Church of England High School (Birkenhead) has entered with great enthusiasm into a partnership with St Nicholas Senior School, Honiara, signing a formal partnership agreement in 2017. A team from the chaplaincy at Woodchurch, led by Rachel Hsuan, visited the Solomon Islands this spring, making three excellent and innovative films about life in the islands and in St Nicholas’s School, for use in collective worship back at Woodchurch. These are proving invaluable in helping children here to gain vivid insights into life in Melanesia, covering topics as diverse as the practicalities of daily life, Christian worship, education and the challenge of climate change.

The Diocese of Chester sees these schools partnerships as a key element in the link as a whole, as we look to involve a whole new generation. Friends from the Anglican Church of Melanesia visit regularly, and each time, visits to our partner schools have been an important part of the programme. It has been a joy for our schools to receive visits from Archbishop George Takeli and Mrs June Takeli, Dr Abraham Hauriasi (Provincial Secretary), Fr Nigel Kalaepa (Mission Secretary), Father Nelson Bako (Head Brother, Melanesian Brotherhood), and Brother Michael (Section Elder Brother, Tabalia).

Venerable Mike Gilbertson, Archdeacon of Chester, Trustee MMUK