Tag: Archbishop

Melanesian Brotherhood, Seven Martyrs and St Marks Day

Melanesian Brotherhood – April 2022 Update

The Melanesian Brotherhood commemorated the Seven Martyrs and St Marks day on April 23rd and 24th respectively at the Central Headquarters of the Melanesian Brotherhood.

  • Melanesian Brotherhood, Seven Martyrs and St Marks Day
  • Melanesian Brotherhood, Seven Martyrs and St Marks Day
  • Melanesian Brotherhood, Seven Martyrs and St Marks Day
  • Melanesian Brotherhood, Seven Martyrs and St Marks Day
  • Melanesian Brotherhood, Seven Martyrs and St Marks Day
  • Melanesian Brotherhood, Seven Martyrs and St Marks Day
  • Melanesian Brotherhood, Seven Martyrs and St Marks Day
  • Melanesian Brotherhood, Seven Martyrs and St Marks Day

The celebrant for these two events was the Father of the Brotherhood, the Most Reverend Leonard Dawea. The preachers were Revd Br Nelson Bako on Seven Martyrs’ day and the Principal of BPTC Revd James Fakafu on St Marks day.

The festival day was packed with people attending the events. At Tabalia there were eight Aspirants who became Novices and three Novices being made professed Brothers.

In other sections of the Melanesian Brotherhood there were also Novices being admitted into the order of the Melanesian Brotherhood. This year 2022, there were 80 Aspirants who have been admitted as first year Novices.

Revd Br NelsonSecretary to MBH

Alter

Easter Sunday Sermon – Saint Barnabas Provincial Cathedral

The Most Revd Leonard DaweaSaint Barnabas Provincial Cathedral, Honiara (DoCM) – Acts 10: 34-43; 1 Corinthians 15: 1-11; John 20: 1-18

Alter

In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen. Alleluia Christ is risen: He is risen indeed Alleluia. Our theme for today is ‘Jesus Christ accomplishes renewed life and relationship for Christians through his resurrection’.

Let me begin today from where the passion of Christ ended on Good Friday. I am not intending to recall the dark and sad events Christ went through, but to set the bearing for a message for today. The last word of Jesus on the cross on Good Friday was, “Father into your hands I placed my Spirit”, he said this and died.

What actually happened was death took place when the Body and the Spirit of Jesus parted – the body remains on the cross and was placed in the tomb later on, while God possess his Spirit. On the third day, the first day of the Week, when it was dark, God reunited Jesus’ Spirit to his Body; that reunion gives birth to the RESURRECTION. The Synoptic Gospels all mentioned these words, “He has been raised”, Matthew 28: 6; Mark 16: 6 and Luke 24: 6; an indication that the resurrection was God’s activity, Acts 10: 40. It is common knowledge that a dead body cannot do anything for itself.

In the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Christianity found her central foundation and doctrine. St. Paul says that without resurrection, Christianity would be meaningless and empty, 1 Cor. 15: 12-19. He believes that the resurrection unveils the power of God, Romans 1: 4.

Cross

Resurrection New Life

One of the greatest concepts associated with the resurrection is the concept of ‘NEW’. New life, new love, new relationship, new covenant, new experiences and new day of worship for Sunday worshippers. We know for sure that the resurrection of Jesus takes place against the backdrop of sin and death, so it dawns new life and salvation.

Let us use the experiences around the tomb that morning on the day of the resurrection of our Lord as justification to the above experience. There was real emptiness and sorrow brought forward from Good Friday. And it seems to continue when Mary first discovered the empty tomb. Instead of being renewed and reconnected, she was alienated and disconnected further when her attempt to reconnect was terribly denied by the empty tomb. Though the light of the first day of the week was already dawning, life for Mary was still engulfed in total darkness. Instead of being consoled from her sorrow, her heart was deeply pierced by sorrow and grief at the absence of the Body of Jesus; it had been taken away as she claimed.

But God has already reunited Jesus’ Body and his Spirit; resurrection had happened when it was still dark. So many times in life we don’t fully understand the work of God. And yet, in situations like this, He does not leave us alone, he leads and guides us to discover the risen Christ. Like Mary Magdalene, we need to be present, available and manifest our craving for our Lord Jesus Christ. We must bring our own emptiness and God will gradually guide us to discover our fullness in the risen Lord.

God lifts away our confusion, grief, pain and darkness, even without our knowledge. When it was still dark God had raised our Saviour from the dead, he had renewed and reconnected our relationship with him. The death of Christ brought disconnection and brokenness of our physical and spiritual relationship beyond human beings. On discovering the empty tomb, Mary ran to her male colleagues for help but they did not help at all. They left her again helpless and enveloped by her grief and darkness. She remained standing as she repeatedly investigates the scene of the empty tomb. Her real restoration, reconnection, renewal and transformation came only when she encountered Jesus who calls her by name.

Our society, Churches, nation, family and individual lives has been challenged by so many issues. We are faced with so many health issues, including the current deadly Covid-19 pandemic. The environmental issues including climate change continue to threaten our lives, and in the national level, we continue to hear huge political decisions to be made.

As a nation, we have been working towards one direction to counteract these issues. Nations are pulling together to alleviate and address the issues and provide helping hands to small nations, but unfortunately these issues continue to take root in our societies. Take for example the Covid-19, our nation has been called into one direction towards containing and eliminating it.

We continue to hear kind support from our political allies. But if this nation is to rise again, it must be raised by God through our genuine hearts and good works. God raised Jesus from the death because he went through his sufferings to death with entire obedience and total surrender to the will of God. The resurrection of Christ calls to renew our heart and to be faithful to the work God is doing through us.

Easter

New relationship after the resurrection

Let us also consider the new way of relationship with the resurrected Christ. Mary craves for the risen Body of Christ, she wants to hold on to him, but Jesus forbids it. The post-resurrection relationship is based on faith, not on the mortal Body of Jesus.

One of the greatest significances of the resurrected Body of Jesus was that it was a spiritual Body, not that he possesses no Body, but that he is interdependent with his Spirit, as manifested after his ascension. It was viewed by sacred writers that the condition of our Lord after his resurrection was essentially a state of Spirit. In this new existence, as Spirit he indwells all believers at the same time through the Holy Spirit. Unlike the pre-resurrection Body, which only dwells amongst his believers. 

After his resurrection, we do not have to see Jesus face to face, we don’t have to hold on to his mortal Body; instead only Jesus can touch us with his indwelling Spirit. Jesus once said to Thomas after his resurrection and appearance to the disciples, “Happy are those who believe without seeing me”, John 20: 29. There is so much unbelief still present in our Church and society today; there are people out there who still want to see the mortal Body of Jesus in order to believe. But it is not the way after the resurrection.

With the concept of the indwelling Spirit, Jesus is present with us every day though we do not see him. He has the power to transform our personal lives, transform our national and domestic challenges, transform our mission activities and elevate our lives to him. Every day in the different experiences we encounter, Jesus calls us by name, he calls our nation, and he calls our Church and society by name. 

He calls us to diverge from continuing to reimagine the events in the Garden of Eden. There was figure pointing, no one was at fault, there was alienation from God and from each other.  In the midst of darkness, fear, confusion, alienation, grief, health issues, breakdown of social order and cultural norms, political disharmony, we are called into a renewed relationship with Christ. A renewed relationship bound and made permanent by love; a renewed relationship where Jesus is the unseen guest in our homes, where families are centred in Christ and where social classes become equal in Christ, Acts 10: 34.

Christ As A Melanesian

The Resurrection Call

Another area that we uncover in the gospel reading was the call to discipleship ‘go and tell’.  We are called to proclaim the message of Jesus and his relationship to the Father and his relationship to with us. We are to be as Mother Teresa prays, “the Body of Christ on earth, hands to do his work, feet to walk the gospel, eyes to love through, which his love can shine upon the troubled world”. 

In the midst of all the uncertainties of our national health, security, economic and livelihood in our nation, communities, Churches, families and individual lives, Christ send us forth to ‘go and tell’ that he is risen. We are to, and tell that love has defeated hatred and death forever. We are to go and tell that the new Light is shining upon this nation forever. He sends us forth to ‘go and tell’ that no night is night forever, no darkness is darkness forever, no sorrow is sorrow forever, and no death is death forever, and that God has destroyed death forever.

It is an assurance that no pain, despair, emptiness, distrust can hold us captive for ever. Christ’s love is stronger than death. The resurrection of Christ should illuminate all the dark secrets of our hearts, heals our broken relationships, and restores our vision, Luke 24:5 to see our neighbours.

Let us break free from the grave clothes. God’s love remerges from the tomb and never to return. Christ has accomplished renewed and eternal life through the resurrection of Christ. The resurrection is God’s gift and miracle to the world divided by war, Covid-19, political agendas, breakdown of our cultural and traditional norms. It is the gift of God for our neighbour in the broader meaning of the word. I wish you all again a blessed and peaceful celebration. The Lord be with you.

The Most Revd Leonard DaweaACoM Communications

Archbishop Greeting 2021

2021 Reflections and Aspirations for the Year Ahead

Reflecting on an eventful 2021 and looking forward to 2022, ACoM released a number of addresses over the Christmas period. Here are a few of them.

New Year’s Day reflection by Reverend Dr. Atkin Zaku

“How faithful have we been through 2021 with the responsibilities entrusted upon us on personal, family, community, nation, region and global bases?” – this was the question asked by Reverend Dr Atkin Zaku in his New Year’s Day sermon at the St Barnabas Provincial Cathedral.

Speaking to the hundreds who congregated at the cathedral to welcome in 2022 in church, Reverend Dr Zaku asked the people celebrating the New Year, to reflect on the doings of 2021 and their aspirations for 2022.

Reverend Dr Atkin Zaku  preached: “Whatever responsibilities we were entrusted with in 2021, these were all given responsibilities entrusted to us by none other than the Name Jesus. So have we done them with the authentic power and authority under the Name Jesus?

“The sin of corruption does not involve national issues alone, that involves what we normally termed as millions or thousands or hundreds of dollars or ill-decisions of high levels. The sin of corruption involves as little as 10cents within our own families. The little decisions we make in the affairs within our communities that interferes and denies improvement and progress of community life socially, religiously and economically.”

Reverend Dr Zaku also asked “With these responsibilities, have we held them with total love, mercy and grace? If we have done so, we would be a family and community of social, political and economic abusive-free. We would be a family and community of hatred-free. We would be a family and community of discrimination-free. We would be a family and community of acceptance and toleration of each other,” he said.

Reflecting on the past year we should be able to see our failures and weaknesses and make new resolutions for 2022. But we cannot do these if we forget the Name Jesus. Today we are called to a New Year resolution, to seriously consider and reflect on the Name Jesus with all our hearts, with all our souls and with all our bodies. There is no half-truth in the Name Jesus. There is no half-power in the Name Jesus. There is no half-life in the Name Jesus and there is no half-love in the Name of Jesus. Total life, love, power and truth is found and can only be found and experienced in the Name Jesus,” he said.

This comes to us with God’s blessings – a promise in return for our pronouncement of his Name. Only then as God commanded Moses to bless the people, as read in the book of Numbers 6:22-27, can also be applicable to us.

That blessing says: ‘May the Lord bless you and take care of you. May the Lord be kind and be gracious to you. May the Lord look on you with favour and give his peace’, Reverend Dr Zaku concluded.

ACoM Communications

Archbishop Leonard Dawea

Advent Sunday Sermon – “We Have Failed Again”

Archbishop Leonard Dawea

This was the message the Anglican Church of Melanesia’s Archbishop Leonard Dawea preached on Sunday as the church commemorated the first Sunday of Advent.

Members of the ACoM Council of Bishops were assigned to different parishes in Honiara with one message – to condemn all evil activities that happened on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday last week and to call for repentance and respect for all people.

Archbishop of the Church of Melanesia, Leonard Dawea, told the congregation at Saint Barnabas Cathedral that he could not believe how humanity in a so-called happy isles or Christian country has gone to such an extent.

“How Christians were able to put behind them the love of God and choose to walk in darkness.

“God who creates us all, regardless of (who) we are, hates to see his creation destroying each other.

“His heart bleeds for those who have been left homeless, who in the blinking of an eye lost everything they had,” Archbishop Dawea said.

He went on to say, what happened since Wednesday last week tested our true nature as Christians and Disciples of Christ.

“…unfortunately, we have failed yet again as a Christian nation, a happy isles.

“A lot of people, good Christian people found themselves caught in these unchristian actions and behaviours,” he said. “Christianity is not spoken, it is a lived reality; not theoretical, it is practicality,” he said.

World Mission - Sand Heart

Therefore, he urged Christians not to be misled by the pleasures and excitements of this world. It is so sad that a lot of Christians became too occupied with greed and hatred and cannot resist the temptation to looting those who are already victims.

“We have not been good neighbours, we have all acted as the priest and Levite who walk by the man on the road. We have not been the Good Samaritan,” Archbishop Dawea said.

He said the unfortunate events last week indicated that to some Christians, God is a temporary entity for good days.

Archbishop Leonard then challenged the church to ditch all ungodly behaviours, not just of the rioting and looting but in all areas of life.

“The Advent of Christ should open our horizons to see and value people as they are regardless of colour, language, race, ethnicity, social standing, gender and religiosity.

“It is most clear that we are all God’s handmade, underneath the physical differences lies the red blood of commonality.

“It is what speaks to each other of our common value, not only as Christians, but as people, human beings,” Archbishop Dawea said.

He said now is the time to be neighbours to the victims of fire, rioting and looting.

“We can pray, but our prayers need to be accompanied by genuine actions,” concluded the Archbishop.

Prayer for our Nation Solomon Islands
O eternal God, bless Solomon Islands, guide our rulers, guard our people and give us peace.
Grant to all our leaders a desire to serve and lead our country in ways of justice and peace.
Help us to love and serve one another and unite us in your Son Jesus Christ our Lord,
Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

ACoM Communications

Cross

Unrest In Honiara

STATEMENT FROM THE OFFICE OF THE ARCHBISHOP OF THE ANGLICAN CHURCH OF MELANESIA, THE MOST REV. LEONARD DAWEA.

Cross

The Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACoM), the Most Revd Leonard Dawea, is calling on all members of the ACoM in Honiara and throughout the country to refrain from participating in illegal activities including the wanton destruction of property and looting of businesses.

The Archbishop is very concerned about the destruction of both private and public properties as witnessed last week and pleads with ACoM members, in particular our youths, to respect one another and remain at home in this very volatile situation.

He also calls on all Church and Community leaders in and around Honiara to advise your youths against these activities.

Involving in violence can only hurt ourselves as we are now experiencing with the sudden lock down of Honiara which has now resulted in many struggling to survive.

The Archbishop acknowledges that people may be frustrated by what is happening in our country regarding our political leadership, but there are more peaceful means of resolving these than resorting to violence.

At the same time the Archbishop is calling on the political leadership of this country to listen to our people’s concerns and to appropriately address them.

ACoM Communications

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Richard Carter at the Patteson 150 celebrations

For Those We Would Gladly Give Our Lives

Richard Carter at the Patteson 150 celebrations
Richard giving his talk at Exeter Cathedral in September 2021

At this year’s AGM and Festival Day, Revd Richard Carter, the Archbishop of Melanesia’s UK Commissary, vicar at St Martin in the Fields, London, and former Melanesian Brother was asked to speak about Patteson’s Life and Legacy –

The first Anglican missionaries to Melanesia were men and women with whom one could feel proud to be associated. The word missionary today often conjures many negative associations in the western world, men and women who crossed continents and oceans in the name of God and left behind the very conditions in which material interest, colonialism, exploitation, and white superiority could flourish. Yet in the Solomon Islands the islanders themselves still talk with love and pride about their early missionaries who established a model of sacrificial service which still inspires the young and old. Bishop George Augustus Selwyn who became the first Bishop of New Zealand in 1841 believed there should be “an episcopate of love as well as authority.”

“Missionaries must be ready at a moment to put their lives in their hands and to go out and preach the gospel to others with no weapon but prayer and with no refuge but in God.[1]

A student at Oxford John Coleridge Patteson, from Feniton, near Ottery St. Mary in Devon, heard Bishop Selwyn speak and his message inspired him. Patteson had not been a particularly outstanding student at either Eton or Oxford and in fact, apart from moderate success at cricket, his youth seemed quite unexceptional. Once Patteson joined the Melanesian Mission as a young priest his gifts were seen to flourish. He was noted for his sailor’s gift for enduring hardship, his Christian gift for deep friendship and his compassion and a linguist’s gift for being able to master many different languages of the Pacific. We sense a man who had become animated and fully alive in this mission.

What was remarkable about his ministry, and which emerges in all his writings, is the quality of his connection with the people of Melanesia and the genuine trust and respect he gave to them: he developed a relationship with the indigenous people that challenged the whole foundation of colonial prejudice.

I have for many years thought that we seek in our mission a great deal too much to make English Christians of our converts. We consciously and unanimously assume English Christianity to be necessary. We seem to denationalise these races as far as I can see; whereas we ought to change as little as possible; only what is incompatible with the simplest form of teaching and practice… Christianity is the religion for humanity at large. It takes in all shades and characters of race.[2]

The secret of these islands is to live as equals. Let them know that you are divided from them but united in Christ’s love. I do not want to make English Christians but Melanesian Christians dressed in the rich warm colour of their own native skin.

Patteson also began to question the whole position of the European missionary in relation to potential converts.

The pride of race which prompts a white man to regard Melanesians as inferior to himself, is strongly ingrained in most men’s minds, and must be wholly eradicated before they will ever win the hearts, and thus the souls of the people.[3]

His sermons express this  inclusiveness: a God who loves without prejudice irrespective of colour, tribe or creed, a God whose love knows no boundary:

And this love (of God) once generated in the heart of man , must need pass on to his brethren; that principle of life must needs grow and expand with its own inherent energy… No artificial or accidental circumstances can confine it, it recognises no human ideas of nationality or place but embraces like the dome of heaven all the works of God. And love is the animating principle of all.[4]

Patteson believed passionately that the initiative for mission should come from the Melanesians themselves and committed himself to their preparation and training, which  must involve equality and mutual respect. Patteson was convinced that Melanesians could not only become priests but better priests than many of their European counterparts:

I solve the difficulty in Melanesian work by saying ‘Use Melanesians.’ I tell people plainly:  ‘I don’t want white men!’ I have no intention of taking any more (clergy) from England, Australia or New Zealand. I sum it up thus: They cost about ten times as much as Melanesians (literally) and but a very small portion do the work as well.[5]

While Patteson may question the way in which the Christian faith is expressed, never does he doubt the relevance of the Christian message itself. In all of his letters there is a constant longing that Melanesians may know Christ and experience God’s promises. Charles Fox notes “the spirit of prayer” and “thanksgiving” which pervades all his writings. He is rigorous in his faith too, fearing sentimental attachment which would patronise the converts and overlook the need for  “true religion, sound learning and useful industry.”[6] Neither does he glamorise Melanesian culture or overlook the reality of blood feuds, tribal wars, head-hunting, and pagan practices:  he remains totally committed to the mission to bring the Gospel of Christ

What becomes increasingly obvious however is how personally and intimately he becomes involved in and respects the lives of those he seeks to convert and teach: his missionary methodology is the result of that deep care. For example in 1863 while he was training Melanesians at St. Andrew’s Kohimarama, New Zealand, there was an outbreak of dysentery which took the life of six Melanesian students and made twenty others seriously ill.

Even harder for Patteson to accept was the death of two of his most devoted Norfolk Island assistants in 1864, when they were fatally wounded in an arrow attack while returning with Patteson from the shore to the ship in Graciosa Bay, Santa Cruz.

It was relationships of genuine care and concern which had the power to convert. George Sarawia, who was to be the first Melanesian priest to be ordained, describing Patteson and the missionary example, wrote in his autobiography:

This is what they did for the sick. They were not ashamed to carry the bucket of waste matter and take it to the sea, they washed out the bucket and brought it back into the sick room. Then I thought they were doing what the Bishop had taught us in the school, that we should love one another and look after each other with love, without despising anyone, we should help the weak. All this they did to those who were sick. Then I thought it was true, if anyone taught…the things that Jesus did he must follow it himself and humble himself.[7]

Patteson’s own death became a parable for the people of Melanesia, perhaps even more powerful after his death than before it.  Before he died there is the sense of premonition of the event to come. On board the mission ship the Southern Cross he is said to have been teaching about the death of St. Stephen and to have said: “This might happen to any of us, to you or to me. It might happen today.” They reached the island of Nakapu near the Reef Islands in Temotu where Patteson requested to go ashore. It was 20th September 1871.Four men rowed him ashore but the tide was too low for them to cross the reef in the boat so the Bishop got into a canoe and went on without them although they tried to persuade him against this. He lay down to rest in the canoe house almost like sacrificial offering.  While he was lying there he was beaten to death with a club used for making bark cloth. His body was wrapped in a mat and put into a canoe and across his breast had been laid a palm branch with five knots in the leaves which led to the belief that his death was carried out in vengeance for five native men that the ‘black-birder’ slave traders had carried away from the island. Indeed in accounts we are told that Patteson’s body received five wounds, like the wounds of Christ, and only his face remained untouched.[8] It was also told that after he died darkness covered the islands and people went about with torches even at noon.

Some men then attacked the four others in the boat who were anxiously waiting for Patteson just beyond the reef: Joseph Atkin was hit by an arrow in his left shoulder, John Ngongono one in his right, Stephen Taroaniara had six arrows in him. Joseph Atkin reaching the Southern Cross immediately requested “I am going back for the Bishop who will come with me?” Then Joe Wate a boy of fifteen stepped up and said “Inau” (I), and also Charles Sapi, another fifteen year old.  They discovered the body of the Bishop floating in the canoe, one of the boys crying out “those are the bishop’s shoes.” The body of John Coleridge Patteson was buried at sea. Atkin wrote:

“It would only be selfish to wish him back. He has gone to his rest, dying as he lived, in his Master’s service. It seems a shocking way to die; but I can say from experience that it is far more to hear of than to suffer. In whatever way so peaceful a `life as his is ended, his end is peace. There was no sign of fear or pain on his face-just the look he used to have when asleep, patient and a little wearied. What a stroke his death will  be to hundreds! What the mission will do without him, God only knows Who has taken him away. His ways are not our ways.”[9]

Patteson’s followers we are told by Yonge “had deeply to drink of the cup of agony” Atkin was to die on the 27th from tetanus “his whole nervous system being jerked and strained to pieces” and his last words “I want nothing but to die.” Stephen lingered on in agony with an arrow wound in his lung, dying from tetanus on 29th of September. Bishop Patteson was 44 years of age, Atkin was 29, and Stephen about 25.

It was the news of the martyrdom of Bishop Patteson which stirred the British Government into passing laws to control the labour trade for the Queensland and Fijian plantations in the South Pacific.[10] Professor Max Muller predicted in a letter to The Times in 1872: “In the distant future, depend upon it, the name of Patteson will live in every cottage, in every school and Church of Melanesia, not as the name of a fabulous saint or martyr, but as the never to be forgotten name of a good, a brave, a God-fearing and God-loving man.”[11] This was not to prove an exaggeration, rather Muller had underestimated the legacy of his friend. Today not only do hundreds of Melanesians name their children after him but also their churches. Thousands attend his feast day and by the people he is remembered as both saint and martyr. The cross in Nukapu which marks the place where he was killed reads “His life was taken by those for whom he would gladly have given it.”

As I re-read the accounts of this story I am struck by two things. Firstly, how prophetic Patteson was to predict the indigenous growth of the church and secondly how closely the shape of this story of these missionaries’ deaths is to be repeated one hundred and fifty years later, this time by a group of indigenous missionary Brothers. Their death will also be an offering: there will be first the death of one and then the still more agonising death of those who risk their lives for him.  There will be sacrificial courage, and a tragic and seemingly futile loss of  innocent lives. It will seem that prayer has failed, and even God abandoned them. Their deaths will also rock the church and the nation, and shock all with the sacrilegious brutality of the murder of men of peace. Their deaths will seem to defeat everything they have strived for- and yet these men will also become catalysts for peace and symbols of hope. “God’s ways are not our ways” Is it simply the way we tell the story that gives it meaning and creates its shape? Or can we see something more? That here are the marks of the incarnation, and that the shape is the shape of the Gospel -Christ, his love, his death and resurrection, revealed in our own lives?

Revd Richard Carter


[1] Sermon of George Augustus Selwyn delivered at University of Cambridge 1854

[2] Charlotte Yonge 1874 Life of John Coleridge Patteson. Vol.2. London. Macmillan. 164-167

[3] Ibid. Vol.1 p.405

[4] Ibid. Vol 1  p.297

[5] The first ordination of a Melanesian was George Sarawia in 1868.

[6] Charles Fox Lord of the Southern Isles p19  The motto for St. John’s College New Zealand

[7] George Sarawia. They Came to My Island (translated and first published in 1968).Melanesian Press

[8] Margaret Cropper Shinning Lights: Six Anglican Saints of the Nineteenth Century, London 1963. p.50-67

[9] Yonge. Life of JCP. Vol 2. p.572

[10] 1872 British Government passed Pacific Island protection Act controlling the unregulated recruitment of labour.

[11] Sir John Gutch.1971 Martyr of the Islands. London: Hodder and Stoughton

Archbishop of Canterbury - Festival and AGM - Exeter Cathedral

Festival and AGM 2021

A Coming of Age

MMUK Trustee, Revd Martin Cox, reflects on the charity’s AGM and Patteson Festival Day at Exeter Cathedral on Saturday 18 September.

Archbishop of Canterbury - Festival and AGM - Exeter Cathedral

All the ‘clicks’ of the liturgical Rubik’s cube had been made and there was full alignment around the sides of the cube. This was through the hard work and negotiating skills of Katie Drew, Executive Officer of MMUK. So it was that MMUK trustees’ past and present gathered with the Archbishop of Canterbury and his wife and party, the Diocesan Bishop of Exeter, the Dean and Chapter of Exeter Cathedral, a researcher from the University of Southampton along with supporters of MMUK for this year’s Festival and AGM on a warm day in September in Exeter Cathedral.

Festival and AGM Eucharist - Exeter Cathedral

There was a significant poignancy to this year’s event as we gathered to mark the 150th commemoration of the death of Bishop John Coleridge Patteson on 20 September 1871 in the very same Cathedral where he had been ordained Deacon and Priest. The liturgical colour was red; the side of the Rubik’s cube was complete.

It was wonderful to gather together in person with several hundred others for the Festival Eucharist. The Book of the Gospels was processed in on a processional canoe. The Archbishop of Canterbury preached from the Martyrs Pulpit and spoke movingly of Patteson as a red and white martyr. Bishop Robert presided and beautifully intoned the Eucharistic prayer. Bishop Willie led the prayers of intercession in the way that only Bishop Willie can! We were reminded of the faithfulness of God and the call upon us all to be faithful. A presentation was made by the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Dean and Chapter of the Cathedral of a copy of Bishop Patteson’s letter asking for more resources.

After our pre-booked packed lunch and conversations, another side of the Rubik’s cube where the clicks had led to perfect alignment, we held our Festival and AGM. Revd Richard Carter and Bishop Willie Pwa’isiho both spoke movingly of Bishop Patteson’s legacy of a spirit of service and mission, of equality of relationships in and through Christ, of the call to live simply and close to God and one another, of the importance of education and a holistic approach to mission, of the role of women who wrapped Bishop Patteson’s body following his death before he was buried at sea so his love for the people could be washed upon the shores of the islands. Bishop Willie ended by leading us in the Lord’s Prayer in Pidgin English.

We moved from looking back to the past to thinking about the present. Marie Schlenker from the University of Southampton and Kate Pwa’isiho spoke of Faith and Science in the Care of Creation. Their equally moving presentation drew attention to the impact of climate change on rising sea levels and the way of life for many. Marie spoke of the climate change observatories to collect much needed data. Kate spoke of the immediate impact on Fanalei Island. Images of coral bleaching and sand dunes in the church made a powerful impression on those gathered together. We were left with the challenge to reflect on our own lives as the decisions we take do affect the lives of others. We know this instinctively, but Marie and Kate highlighted the challenge powerfully.

Before he departed, Archbishop Justin responded to the presentations. His Grace spoke of the capacity of the Anglican Communion to tell the story of climate change, of how the Melanesian church is engaged in holistic mission and speaks the voice of the Spirit, of how peace and reconciliation are vital to create the space to engage with climate change issues: “If it’s not dealt with for everyone, it’s not dealt with for anyone.”  Archbishop Justin concluded his remarks by reflecting to us that Bishop Patteson set an example for us all, commenting that when we are at war with the world we are war with God.

Following the departure of the Archbishop of Canterbury and his party the Festival heard a recorded message from the Archbishop of Melanesia. Archbishop Leonard spoke of how Bishop Patteson was truly Melanesian oriented and how Melanesians claim him as their own for ever.  Bishop Mark Rylands, Chairman of MMUK interviewed Revd Brian Macdonald-Milne about his book, ‘Seeking Peace in the Pacific’. Brian reminded us of how God’s grace transforms human failure and failings. The Annual General Meeting of MMUK followed with a presentation to Marie in token of her work as an intern over the last year the presentation of the accounts by Steve Scoffield, Honorary Treasurer of MMUK who spoke of the need for wise decision making and a trust in God’s faithfulness going forward.  Following the re-election of three trustees’, Bishop Mark concluded the AGM by assuring us of God’s blessing.

Brian Macdonald-Milne with Mark Rylands

It was a real joy and privilege to attend the Eucharist and to be present for this year’s in-person Festival and AGM. Those I spoke to during the day echoed these sentiments and were grateful for the way in which the day had been organised. As I left the Cathedral as one of the re-elected trustees’ I was conscious that the pieces of the liturgical Rubik’s cube were now being scrambled again having been in alignment for our day together. It was ever thus. However, as a result of this year’s Festival and AGM, the occasion, the location, the participants, the presentations and the way in which the sides of our Rubik’s cube had been aligned for the moment, I was also conscious that MMUK and our support for the mission of the Anglican Church of Melanesia had somehow come of age.

Blessed are you, Lord God, King of the Universe.
By your word the evening comes,
by your power the day dawns.
You are the Lord of the tides and season.
You have set the stars in the sky.
You have placed a limit on the sea.
In your love you created all things.
By your love all has been redeemed.
Through your love all creation is sustained.
Blessed are you, Lord God, King of the Universe.

(Island of Light: An Illustrated Collection of Prayers by David Adam, SPCK 2002)

Revd Martin Cox, Diocese of Manchester, MMUK Trustee

Archbishop Leonard Dawea

New Year Greetings

Archbishop Leonard Dawea
Archbishop Leonard Dawea

Greetings and blessings of 2021 to you all, friends of the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACoM). Despites the persisting gloom of the global pandemic, may you continue to undertake your mandates under the protecting hands of our Almighty God. 

May I render on behalf of ACoM immense gratitude and acknowledgement to you for all your support in 2020. Though our historical relationship underscores reciprocity in spiritual and physical support, it is obvious that ACoM, in notable degree, weighs heavier as recipient of practical support from you. That has been the trend over the many years the relationship has existed up until 2020; a year globally acknowledged as difficult. ACoM gives thanks and praise to God for the wisdom to give birth to such a relationship and those who have made it workable and beneficial on both ends over the years up to the present. You are true friends and mission partners for the glory of God and his word of saving grace.

During this dark spell over the global community, as true friends and partners, we offer and welcome that spiritual embrace through prayers for each other. Truly we have been denied that physical visitation and presence, but nothing surpasses the prayers and thoughts genuine friends and partners give each other even from distance. ACoM holds you and the communion family unceasingly in prayers.

Let me just provide you with some updates on the upcoming events of ACoM. This month, the Electoral Board will assemble at Hautabu to elect a new bishop for the Diocese of Hanuatoó. On 28th February, we will have the consecration and installation of the Rev. Benedict Loe as the second Bishop of the Diocese of Guadalcanal. The consecration and installation of the new Bishop of Hanuatoó takes place on 21st March at St. Peter’s Cathedral, Kirakira. It is important to have the new bishops installed early to allow progress in their respective dioceses. Ideally, the first three months of this year see these major events. We will then wrap up this year with the General Synod in November.

The Southern Cross
The Southern Cross

In brief, let me inform you of certain ACoM’s ongoing projects. The Southern Cross has been agreed by both the Council of Bishops and Management Board to go on tender. While some ACoM members have raised concerns of deep affection and connection to it, the need for a bigger boat is obvious considering the unpredictable weather patterns emanating from the climate change. The proposed new Provincial office complex in Honiara has not started yet. A small committee composed of staff members was appointed to oversee this project. They are putting together a concept design and site clearing plans before actual work can begin, hopefully this year. Another huge undertaking is the JCP University project which has been around in the Church for almost two decades. Currently there is obvious enthusiasm to push it forward with the involvement of some prominent laities and academics of our Church. Aside from these, there are ongoing projects in the Board of Mission and Education departments.

COVID Awareness Sessions
COVID Awareness Sessions

On COVID 19 situation, both Solomon Islands and Vanuatu lost their COVID-19-free statues late last year. Following the repatriation of our citizens abroad, Solomon Islands in a very relatively short space of time recorded seventeen cases. Vanuatu still record a smaller number in comparison to Solomon Islands. Both Countries are managing well to contain the cases within the quarantine centers. According to the Prime Minister’s nationwide address this week, out of the seventeen, only two still remain positive in Solomon Islands. The two are among the footballers who returned from England last year. While we all acknowledge that it still far from over, life in the two countries is fairly normal despites the lingering fear and cautiousness.

We will continue to uphold each other in prayers, knowing that when the world seemingly fails us, God remains truthful to his promises to be with us. He comes to us on Christmas in the thickness of not just the bleak winter, but also the darkness of the COVID -19. Against that backdrop, he came and lived among us; he is Emmanuel. He is with us, not just literally with us, but supporting us through all manner of situations. As always, please continue to uphold the events and projects of ACoM in your prayers.

God bless our friendship and partnership always.

Thank you

The Most Rev Leonard Dawea, Archbishop of Melanesia

ACoM Communications

The Feast of St Simon and St Jude 2020

The Feast of St Simon & St Jude 2020

As UK Companions to the Melanesian Brotherhood were unable to gather for this year’s St Simon and St Jude services due to COVID-19, UK South West Companions organised an online service and meeting on 28th October. Seventeen Companions from across the UK were joined by Revd Br Nelson, MBH, who is currently studying in Fiji. During the service, led by Ven John Rawlings, the Lord is My Shepherd was sung by the congregation at Tabalia.

At the meeting Companions shared news from their regions and from the Brotherhood, and watched the Address given by the Archbishop of Melanesia, the Most Revd Leonard Dawea.

Watch these films and revisit the slide content shared during the online service and meeting;


At Tabalia, the Headquarters of the Brotherhood, 41 Novices were admitted as Brothers, 12 Brothers renewed their vows, and 8 were released.

The Melanesian Brotherhood (MBH) was formed by Ini Kopuria, a policeman from Maravovo village, Guadalcanal in 1925. Brothers take the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience for three years, which can be renewed. They train for four years as Novices and normally make their vows to become Brothers at the Feast of St. Simon and St. Jude.

Today, the work of the Brotherhood has reached out to other countries beyond Solomon Islands, including Vanuatu, the Philippines, Australia and Canada. Companions around the world support the Brotherhood through prayer and financial support. For more information on becoming a Companion, contact MMUK.