Tag: Archbishop

Solomon Islands, Honiara, Main Street

Statement By The Archbishop Of The Anglican Church Of Melanesia On The Corona Virus

In recent weeks, the world was gripped by the impact of the corona virus in different countries including our own country, Solomon Islands. Last week, the World Health Organization declared the virus a pandemic. Governments around the world are taking various measures to prevent the entry and spread of the virus in their respective countries.

In our beloved Solomon Islands, the relevant government authorities through the Corona Virus Steering Committee have developed measures not only to prevent the entry of the virus into our country but also to prevent the spread of the sickness if it does get onto our shores. For example it issued its third Travel Advisory on the 13 March 2020. The Church appeals to its members and all citizens of our country to strictly comply with measures outlined in the travel advisory.

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services has issued a number of brochures and posters which explains in simple terms what we should do to protect ourselves, our families and communities. These includes guidelines on personal hygiene which we must practice in our homes, workplaces and in Church and community gatherings. We must not wait for a positive case of the virus to be reported before we start practicing these healthy habits.

Living with our extended families even in Honiara and other urban centres provides an environment for the easy spread of the virus. It might helpful to encourage relatives living with working families in Honiara to consider returning to our home villages if there are no urgent reasons to be in Honiara. Having a smaller number of people living in a home should help families in Honiara practice more effective measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

The Church also encourages its members to avoid any unnecessary travel overseas. And if the virus does enter the country, members are kindly asked to reconsider plans to hold large gatherings and celebrations. In Honiara, Church members are kindly requested to refrain from visiting public places and gathering unless absolutely necessary. We further encouraged members to avoid travelling from one house to another unless the visit is necessary.

The ACoM will be issuing further guidelines to our parishes as what we should or should not do as far as our public worship is concerned. Members are kindly requested to show understanding should some changes be made to our worship and liturgical practices. For now I call on all Christians in Honiara to steadfastly hold our beloved country in prayer; for the victims of the virus, the scientists researching for possible cure and for cessation of the spread of the virus.

Finally, I would like to once again appeal to all ACOM members, all Christian people and friends to support the efforts of the government authorities and other stakeholders by complying with instructions and follow public health messages issued to date. I understand that as Christians we have faith, I am asking us all to express our faith by taking full responsibility to work together with the Government, not only for our personal health but also for our families, communities and our nation of Solomon Islands.

ACoM Communications

Lambeth 2020 Postponed

The Lambeth Conference Reschedules To Summer 2021

With the worldwide rapid spread of COVID-19 and so many events being postponed, it is no surprise that the Lambeth Conference 2020 has been postponed until 2021.

Here the Archbishop of Canterbury explains why –

In recent weeks, the organising teams for the Lambeth Conference have been prayerfully thinking through the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the plans and preparations for this important event.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the Lambeth Conference Company has been monitoring the situation and following advice from public health authorities.

The public health risk of the coronavirus in the United Kingdom has now been assessed as ‘high’ by the UK’s Chief Medical Officers and a wide range of governmental measures are in place to respond to the health crisis.

Following consultation with the Lambeth Conference Design Group, Primates and trustees of the Lambeth Conference Company, The Archbishop of Canterbury has taken the important decision to reschedule the Lambeth Conference to the summer of 2021.

This significant meeting of Anglican bishops and spouses will continue to be planned – with an exciting and engaging programme, being held in the same venue at the University of Kent and Canterbury Cathedral – just one year on. https://www.lambethconference.org/rescheduling-the-lambeth-conference/

Once the new dates have been announced, MMUK will look again at the hospitality programme for our Bishops and their wives.

Lambeth Conference & The BIG Hello

Lambeth Conference & The BIG Hello

In the summer of 2020, over 1,000 Anglican bishops and spouses from across the globe will attend the fifteenth Lambeth Conference in Canterbury.

Convened by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Lambeth Conference is a once-a-decade meeting of bishops and spouses. People will travel from over 165 countries of the Anglican Communion – one of the largest Christian communities in the world, with tens of millions of members.

The Big Hello’ is a large hospitality programme that will see dioceses and churches in England, Wales and Scotland hosting guests for up to a week in advance of the event. It is open to every active bishop and spouse invited to the Lambeth Conference in 2020.

Getting ready for ‘The Big Hello’ from Lambeth Conference 2020 on Vimeo.

MMUK is delighted that the Archbishop and eight Bishops from Melanesia along with their wives will be attending the Lambeth Conference and will also be meeting friends in Cheshire, London and Devon as part of the BIG Hello programme. Over the next couple of months MMUK will be sharing details of where you can meet the Bishops and their wives at services and events.

Please do pray for the Lambeth Conference and this hospitality programme.

People wishing to join the Prayer Journey for the Lambeth Conference can access a seasonal Prayer Diary. The journey also invites people to send in prayers, which will be displayed on a prayer wall to encourage those attending the conference. Some of these will also be featured on the Lambeth Conference website between now and the event.

Get your copy of the Prayer Diary and Join the Prayer Journey for the Lambeth Conference.

The Lambeth Conference Ltd

Archbishop and Bishops of Melanesia

Christmas and New Year Letter from the Archbishop of Melanesia and the Anglican Church of Melanesia

We send to you all greetings and blessings for a joyous Christmas celebrations and a happy and prosperous New Year 2020. (Greetings to you all!)

We celebrate Christmas and New Year to mark the closure of year 2019. Looking back into year 2019, we can only marvel with thanksgiving for the great mystery of God’s presence guiding us through the many challenges and opportunities of the year to enable us reach this transition point into another year of service in 2020.

Through the birth of Jesus Christ on Christmas day God had pitched into our human flesh making “God Emmanuel – God with us in Jesus Christ (Mt.1:18). Through this birth God had acted to reach out to touch and to heal our sinful humanity and to re-anoint and empower us to carry out the ordained purpose for His church in the new season called 2020.This Emmanuel Community ought to live in UNITY, LOVE, JOY and PEACE; respecting and valuing all members of our families, communities, Churches and nation regardless of our diversity.

This makes Christmas an important historical point marking the beginning of a new destiny for God’s Church in our nation Solomon Islands. For everything we will do in the New Year 2020 must draw their meaning and purpose from our encounter with the God Emmanuel – God with us in Christ on Christmas day. This divine encounter brings upon us a blessing and commission to rise up and build this new “Emmanuel Community – God with us in Jesus Christ in our families, in our churches and communities, in the leadership and governance of our nation Solomon Islands in the New Year 2020. This is the message of hope given to our families, the church, and our nation Solomon Islands through the Christmas and New Year festive season celebrations! This is the message of hope that we must carry with us into the New Year 2020. Indeed, this message of hope makes the New Year 2020 a truly happy New Year indeed!

We send you our love and our best wishes and our unceasing prayers for a prosperous New Year 2020.

ACoM Communications

Melanesian Brotherhood Great Conference 2019

Great Conference of the Melanesian Brotherhood – October 2019

What a huge joy it was to be in the Solomon Islands again and to spend two weeks at the Headquarters of the Melanesian Brotherhood at Tabalia. I was very privileged to be invited by the Melanesian Brotherhood to lead the Brotherhood Retreat and Workshop for Brothers and Companions for their Great Conference 2019. It was wonderful that two of our Companions from the UK Barbara Molyneux and Ruth Chesworth also took part and presented the report from our UK Companions.

The new Archbishop and Father of the Brotherhood The Most Revd Leonard Dawea attended the retreat, and chaired the election of new leaders and the conference presiding at the feast day of St Simon and Jude and the admission of 26 new Brothers. The Melanesian Brotherhood (MBH) elected Br. Jairus Honiseu as their new Head Brother and Br. Augustine Paikeni as Assistant Head brother. Br. Jairus is from Lenga village in Ulawa Island, Makira Ulawa Province and Br. Augustine is from Isabel. The brothers also elected Br. Alister Knights as the Regional Head Brother for Solomon Islands Region; Br. Enis David as Regional Head Brother for Southern Region, that includes Vanuatu, and Br. Joe Narui as the Regional Head Brother for Papua New Guinea.

Archbishop Leonard Dawea and the New MBH Leaders
Archbishop Leonard Dawea and the New MBH Leaders

I found the Melanesian Brotherhood in very good heart. The Headquarters at Tabalia is looking more beautiful than ever and we and many others were welcomed with such overwhelming generosity and hospitality. Brother Nelson Bako who studied with us at Chester College had done a wonderful job as Head Brother for the last three years. Huge gardens had been prepared so that all the many guests could be fed and we were overwhelmed by the care and planning that had gone into making this conference such an inspiring event. It really was like living the Beatitudes. The retreat I led focused on the foundation stones of religious life- silence, service, sacrament, scripture, sharing and stability and in the workshop we explored these themes with Brothers and Companions really participating. In the evenings we had talks, dance and music and it was wonderful to see a great production of Ini Kopuria about the founder of the Brotherhood, a play I first wrote for the community more than 20 years ago. I was also so pleased to be there with our UK companions Barbara and Ruth who really have served as such faithful Companions: our Companions and support and prayer for the Brotherhood in UK is so deeply appreciated and the Melanesian Brotherhood particularly asked me to convey to all Companions, the Melanesian Mission UK and all their friends- their greetings, thanks and prayers.

Richard Cater and Most Reverend Leonard Dawea
Richard Cater and Most Reverend Leonard Dawea

The Brotherhood Conference focused on the work in all the Regions including Papua New Guinea Vanuatu and Philippines. Particularly moving were the stories of how the Brothers had soi bravely faced the volcano on Ambae in Vanuatu and relocation of their household. Other exciting developments were the training programme and library at Tabalia, the new mission household in Australia and the new household planned for the Torres Straits and the courage and perseverance of the the Brothers in Palawan in the Philippines. I was particularly impressed by the wise and careful strategic planning and financial management of the Melanesian Brotherhood through the wise oversight of Alphonse Garimae. His very important role and dedicated work was acknowledged by all at the conference. Our new Father of the Brotherhood and Archbishop presided over everything with such a wonderfully refreshing humility, wisdom and grace. It was so wonderful to be back with this inspiring community and to worship and pray with them again.

Revd Richard Carter

MBH Head Brother Jairus Honiseu

New Leaders For The Melanesian Brotherhood

THE MELANESIAN BROTHERHOOD (MBH) elected Br. Jairus Honiseu as their new Head Brother and Br. Augustine Paikeni as Assistant Head brother last month. Br. Jairus is from Lenga village in Ulawa Island, Makira Ulawa Province. He was admitted into the Brotherhood in 2016 and was posted to Chester Rest House as brother in charge. Seven months before being elected Head Brother he became the elder Brother at Tabalia, the headquarters of the Brotherhood, west Guadalcanal.

Br. Augustine from Isabel was admitted into the Brotherhood in 2016 and held several posts at Tabalia, Chester Rest House and recently in Australia before being elected.

The brothers also elected Br. Alister Knights as the Regional Head Brother for Solomon Islands Region; Br. Enis David as Regional Head Brother for Southern Region, that includes Vanuatu, and Br. Joe Narui as the Regional Head Brother for Northern Region (Papua New Guinea). Br. Alister Knights from Isabel was admitted to the Brotherhood in 2017 and was posted to Welshman Section Headquarters in the Diocese of Ysabel. Br. Enis from Vanuatu was admitted to the Brotherhood in 2014 and had served at the Regional Headquarters for Southern region at Tumsisiro in Vanuatu. Br. Joe from Papua New Guinea was admitted to the Brotherhood in 2008 and had served at the Section Headquarters of the Brotherhood in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

The Most Reverend Leonard Dawea, father of the Brotherhood, declared the results straight after the election.

Br. Enis David and Br. Joe Narui will be blessed by their section fathers in their respective regions by their regional fathers.

The Archbishop of the Anglican Church in Papua New Guinea, the Most Reverend Allan Migi, also came to witness the ceremony and the great conference of the Brotherhood.

Keep our Brothers, especially the new leaders, in our prayers as they prepare to take on the responsibilities in their respective areas.

Archbishop Leonard Dawea and the New MBH Leaders
Archbishop Leonard Dawea and the New MBH Leaders

The Melanesian Brotherhood

 

MBH 14th Great Conference

The Melanesia Brotherhood 14th Great Conference

THE MELANESIAN BROTHERHOOD (MBH) hold their ‘14TH GREAT CONFERENCE’ this week.

The two week programme began with a welcome ceremony on Saturday 12th October. This was followed by an opening Eucharist Service on Sunday, which was led by the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia and Father of the Brotherhood, the Most Reverend Leonard Dawea.

The Great Conference first week begins on Monday 14th and will have all the Brothers, Novices and MBH Companions coming together for retreat, workshops and Bible reflections. This will be followed by the election of new leaders for the community taking place on Saturday 19th.

Monday 21st and Tuesday 22nd will the Brothers Conference followed by the Companions Conference on Wednesday 23rd and Thursday 24th.

Sunday 27th is MBH feast day; Saint Simon and Saint Jude and all Companions, supporters, family members and friends in and around Tabalia (MBH Headquarters, West Guadalcanal) are welcome to join the brothers in this feast day.

Apart from other activities that would be staged throughout the two week programme are Bible reflections, praise and worship, dramas, Evangelism and Intentional Discipleship talks, Health and awareness talks to name a few.

The Melanesian Brotherhood has regional headquarters in Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands. They also have working households in the Philippines and Australia and Companions across Melanesia, the UK and Canada.

The Theme for this year’s great conference is: ‘Empowering the Values of the Melanesian Brotherhood and Companions’.

Let us keep our Brothers and Companions in prayer for this great event.

CANDIDATES FOR THE ELECTION OF MELANESIAN BROTHERHOOD LEADERS

19TH OCTOBER 2019, TABALIA HEAD QUARTERS, SOLOMON ISLANDS.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA REGION

  1. BR. MARTIN OGOBA
  2. BR. DAVID IGARA
  3. BR. RODNEY GEARUA
  4. BR. JOE NARUI

SOUTHERN REGION, VANUATU

  1. BR. ENIS DAVID
  2. BR.FELIX RAYMOND
  3. BR. FRANKLYN SALE
  4. BR. ABRAHAM HURI

SOLOMON ISLANDS REGION

  1. BR. GEORGE BUGORO
  2. BR. AUGUSTIN PAIKENI
  3. BR. JAIRUS HOUNISEU
  4. BR. ALISTER KNIGHTS

The election date will be on 19th October 2019 at St. Marks Chaple, Tabalia 10.00am to be conducted by the New Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia, Leonard Dawea.

Thanks

Alphonse Garimae

Article & Photos – Melanesian Brotherhood

Archbishop Leonard Dawea and ACoM Bishops

Sermon for Archbishop’s Enthronement and Installation

Archbishop Leonard Dawea
Exodus 12: 37-42; 1 Cor. 12: 12-30; Matthew 8: 23-27

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Theme: A spiritually United Church.

May I extend a very warm welcome to all of you again; those of you are present at this service and those of you are praying with us via television or radio broadcast. I welcome you all as members of the Church or in the words of St. Paul, we are the Church; the living Saints.

When one revisits the history of the Church from her beginning, the Church journeyed around the world, even to Melanesia in people or missionaries. But the Church also carries people on their spiritual journey in anticipation of the Kingdom of God. It is the role of all Christian Churches, to carry and safe guide people on their journey and relationship with Christ. But it is also a spiritual avenue where Christians meet, create relationships and even socialise for the sake of Christ.

What begins to surface here is that the Church is a body. It is a living organ, so like any living organ, the Church encounters challenges in her growth and development. The people of Israel as we heard in the Old Testament after their slavery and experiences of oppression, started out on a journey with God, but it was not a smooth ride. They complained, they became thirsty and hungry, they were bitten by poisonous snakes.

But they also experienced the power of God; he rained down manna from heaven, gave then water from the rock and divided the red sea for them to go through. In the end they archived nationhood; they became a nation of their own in the Promised Land.

In the Epistle reading we heard Paul describing Christ to the people of Corinth as one body with many parts. He helped them to value and respect each part as invaluable for the wellbeing of the one body. They are to correlate and not to dispute each other’s functions. He goes on to say that each one of them is part of the same body. He also described the different ministries we have in the Church in the same way.

Practically there may be rooms for disagreement with each other, but the call is to respect, value and appreciate each individual Christian and every ministry there are in the Church. Because there is no division in the body, the different parts should have the same concern for one another, v. 25. That gives us assurance that all of us are to be participants in the life of the Church, even the least ones. The different parts of the body reflects a picture of united individuals and ministries in the Church.

Archbishop Leonard DaweaThe gospel reading is a story of a united church. It is on a journey. Matthew reshapes the story to instruct the Church after the resurrection. In this story the Church carries the people as represented by the boat. And literally Jesus was in the boat; he got into the boat first before his disciples. We shall use this faith story to weave a message for our Church today?

The Church is Christ’s Church; before we became members of the Church, he himself was already in the Church, he owns the Church. We were not told in the passage who owns the boat; Jesus did not seek permission from anyone. It was wrong from the society’s point of view. But seeing the boat as representing the Church, Jesus had no need to seek permission because he owns the Church.

Like the disciples, most people don’t know why they became members of the Church and where they were heading. St. Mark’s gospel tells us that they were going to other side of the lake. He went on to say that the disciples took Jesus with them, Mark. 4: 31. This is an interesting picture of the Church; Jesus was in his Church, but the disciples took him with them. The Church belongs to Jesus, but only we can take him and his gospel forward.

As soon as the disciples got into the boat with Jesus, the journey began. Both Matthew and Mark used the word ‘suddenly’ to describe the prompt arrival of a fierce storm against the boat. It came against the boat so hard that it was in danger of sinking. It continues through the unity, commitment and hard work of the disciples.

The journey of the Christian Church suddenly shattered her early beginning. The Church travelled everywhere in inhuman circumstances of torture, persecution, martyrdom, even to our own Church of Melanesia. But we are assured that Jesus controls it and can never, ever sink.

The biblical tradition holds the sea as symbol of disorder and chaos. It was very rough on this particular scenario. All around the boat, the sea must have been white like a lake of snow. And together with the wind, the sea feared the disciples. Because the water that spilled into the boat can kill. If it is not bailed out, it will sink it and the disciples will be exposed to the ravages of the sea and the wild sea creatures.

But it is the very sea that the boat travels on. The sea is here portrayed as the society. The society persecuted and humiliated the Church as soon as she was started by Christ. And this has been the road the Church travelled around the world. The society forces different situations and issues on the Church which sometimes seems as it will sink her. Though the society rocks the Church; it is the same society that carries the Church. It is the Church’s situated context. But like the boat in the lake, the Church will never ever sink. Whatever people might think, feel or say about the Churches we belong, it is important that we remain in the Church for that’s where Jesus is; it is our spiritual sanctuary.

We are encouraged here to remain in the Church or be part of a Church no matter whatever we might say or think about our Churches. In the midst of the storms of society, the Church can carry us forward. It might be rocking, it might in danger of sinking, it might be full of unrighteousness, but it’s safe because Jesus is always present in it.

Let us look at how the Bible portrays the disciples in this passage; it presents them in plural or inclusive form. There was no use of personal pronoun in reference to any particular disciple except for Jesus. They were all in total danger, but there was never any shout of frustration; they most probably rowed, bailed out, control the sail and worked hard together in their time of crises. Peter, the leader of the disciples was never mentioned as giving orders; he most probably led the disciples through this crises with practical leadership. But certainly there was indication of ongoing talks between them; they were united through their ongoing dialogue in the middle of the storm; they continue to find a way forward out of the pressing situation.

Their unity in this time of crises helped them to realise something important; something that would change their whole life. They realised that Jesus was with them; they made the decision together to wake him and they woke him up. Peter did not go alone to wake Jesus; they all went. It is a picture of a truly united Church. Through our working together, we can realise every day that Jesus is with us in the Church, he is in control, even though sometimes he is asleep through our ignorance.

The disciples woke Jesus up saying,Lord, save us – we are about to die’. We said that the disciples did not know the reason for their travelling. But in the midst of their crises, one thing came out very clear through their words to Jesus. They crave for life. They need Jesus to give them life; the Church is where we seek life in Jesus Christ. The disciples prayed, asking Jesus to save and give them life. They realised that their source of life was in the boat, Jesus Christ himself.

The prayer ought to be our prayer in our Church. It is a confessional statement of craving for life eternal with God. The Church can be lukewarm, it can be buried in its human nature, it can be neglected, it can be tossed about by the changes and chances of this world, but it has within it life giving spirit which offers life eternal. We need not only work together for the physical welfare of our Church, but like the disciples, we must also pray together to Jesus to save us from our daily encounters with life, deliver us from our spiritual weakness and give us life eternal.

This works with faith and I like Jesus’ response to the disciples in Matthew because it is an assurance that we have faith, even though it is little. Little faith presupposes some faith, but faith that has grown weak, paralysed to act and lukewarm to make any real impact in our society. But at least there is faith, little as it may be, it has great opportunity to grow and impact hugely in our society and Church.

The disciples in this scenario learned faith. They witnessed their Lord giving orders to the wind and the waves. The disciples were seen together as one when Christ measured their faith and together they learned to practice their faith. Jesus sleeps through most situations facing our Church because we think we know it all. Peter and the other disciples were called from the lake; and understood it very well. It was like their play station, but in this encounter, their knowledge of the lake seems inadequate and fake. However, they were correct to wake Jesus, he may knew nothing about the characters of the lake, but he knows the created order. In our everyday struggles with the issues of our Church and society which we think we understand better, we ought to make Jesus part of us for he knows far more than us.

We need to see the real nature of Christ and his saving power. In their realisation and amazement the disciples said, ‘who is this man, even the wind and waves obey him?’ It is Jesus the Son of God who has complete control over his Church. It is his Church, he knows it better than all of us, but leads the Church forward through us.

We need to pray together, ‘save us Lord, we are perishing’. Some areas of our Church are perishing lukewarm-ness, disunity, hatred, poor Church attendance, lawlessness etc…., but we need to remain united, to talk, plan, decide and think together. Our Lord is here with us; our saviour is right here, and our help is right here.

This is the model Church for our Province where Jesus is always behind the wheel and all her members are all co-participants. In most instances, Jesus is a sleep in our Church because we deceive ourselves by thinking that we are alright, but it is clear from this story that we need Jesus.

The state of the boat in calm waters is the state we crave for the Church in Melanesia, because Jesus is present with us and participates in our struggles for life. Let us all be united with each other in our Church, with other Churches, with our national governments and united with God through Jesus Christ our Lord. God bless the Church of Melanesia; God bless all Christian Churches in New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands.

The Lord be with you. Amen.

News story and pictures from ACoM Communications

Archbishop Leonard Dawea Enthronement Address

Archbishop Leonard Dawea’s Enthronement Address

St. Barnabas Provincial Cathedral
Honiara, Solomon Islands
1
5th September 2019

O God our help in ages past and our hope for years to come!

Address
Your Excellency, the Governor General of Solomon Islands, the Rt Rev. David Vunagi and Madam Mary Vunagi, the Hon. Speaker of Parliament, Mr. Patteson Oti and Madam Oti, the Prime Minister, Hon. Manasseh Sogavare and Madam Sogavare, the Hon. Justice Sir Albert Palmer and Madam Palmer, Leader of Parliamentary Opposition, Hon. Matthew Wale and Mrs. Wale, Members of Parliament who are here this morning and your good wives. And in their absence, I would like to mention the President and the Prime Minister and the national leaders of the Republic of Vanuatu and New Caledonia.

The Senior Bishop, the Rt Rev. Nathan Tome, all diocesan bishops of ACoM, the Most Rev. Allen Migi, Archbishop of ACPNG, the Most Rev. Efereima Cama Archbishop of Polynesia, the Rt Rev. Mark Rylands, and Rev’d. Amanda Rylands and representatives of MMUK, the Rt Rev. Dr. Keith Joseph, Bishop of Northern Queensland representing the Anglican Church of Australia, the Rt Rev. Jeremy Greaves, Assistant Bishop of Brisbane, the Rt Rev. Ross Bay, Bishop of Auckland and representatives of the MMTB Trustee, the Rt Rev. William Pwaisiho, Barbara Molyneux and Ruth Gesworth, representatives of the Diocese of Chester, Retired Archbishops and Bishops who are here this morning, Church leaders of Sister Churches in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. The Vicar General of DOCM, the Rt Rev. Alfred Hou, Dean of St. Barnabas Provincial Cathedral, the Very Rev. Philip Rongotha and members of the Cathedral Chapter, Vicar Generals of other Dioceses and all Clergies, Canon Gabriel Suri, Vice Chancellor of ACoM, Members of the National, Overseas and Private Sector dignitaries, the Provincial Premiers of our Provinces who are here this morning, Ariki Tafua and all Paramount Chiefs, chiefs and traditional leaders of our islands and communities

The General Secretary of ACoM Dr. Abraham Hauriasi and your Provincial staff, Assistant General Secretary Vanuatu, Mr. Joses Togase, All Diocesan Secretaries of our Dioceses, Members of the Provincial Electoral Board, Heads of Church Institutions and departments, Heads of Religious Orders and all their members, President of the Mothers Union and all MU members, Leaders of Church Lay ministries, young people, children, ladies and gentlemen. I greet you all with the love and peace of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Introductions
By way of introduction, first of all I wish to humbly appeal to all of you to pray for me that God may grant me wisdom and strength to lead his Church.

Following that, I wish to thank the Senior Bishop, the Rt Rev. Nathan Tome for his leadership over the Church for the last seven months of leadership interregnum. Thank you Senior Bishop, your leadership is truly of high quality, integrity and dignity; through your sound wisdom you stirred the Church steadily throughout this period. I also thank the Diocesan Bishops and Assistant Bishop for supporting our Senior Bishop to care for our beloved Church.

Next, I wish to thank so many of you who sent messages of congratulations and best wishes and support of prayers to me and family on the occasion of my election. I greatly appreciate such support of prayers; hence, ‘I will be because of what you will be to me’.

Following some elections, I wish offer congratulations on behalf of ACoM to the following leaders who were elected this year;

  • Congratulations Your Excellency the Governor General, the Rt Rev. David Vunagi and Madam Mary Vunagi for your election as the Head State of Solomon Islands.
  • Congratulations Hon. Manasseh Sogavare for your successful election as Prime Minister of Solomon Islands.
  • Congratulations Hon. Speaker of National Parliament, Mr. Patteson Oti for your successful election as the Speaker to the National Parliament.
  • Congratulations the fifty members of the Solomon Islands Parliament for your successful election earlier this year.
  • Congratulations to all our Provincial Premiers of the Provinces who held their election this year and the members of your respective Provincial Assemblies.

May I offer and assure you of the prayers and support of the Anglican Church of Melanesia. ACoM, as a stakeholder to our national and provincial governments will always appreciate continual corporate efforts with you in your national and provincial developments.

May I also assure our Mission Partners in United Kingdom and New Zealand, Oceania Sister Churches, Christian Churches in Vanuatu and Solomon Islands, Non-Government Organizations, Provincial Governments and Traditional Leaders that ACoM will continue to work together with you. I assure you of our prayers and support.

Gratitude and appreciation
Before going further, I wish to offer sincere gratitude to our previous Bishops, Clergies and laities for their huge contributions to the growth and development of our Church from being a missionary diocese to what is now, an autonomous Provincial Church. On this occasion, I particularly want to accord due respect and gratitude to our retired Archbishops; Late Archbishop John Wallace Chisholm, Late Archbishop Norman Palmer, Late Archbishop Amos Waiaru, Late Archbishop Ellison Pogo, Archbishop David Vunagi and Archbishop George Takeli; all of whom were champion leaders, by whose great contributions, wisdom and foresight, ACoM consistently grows and develops to this day. For those who served ACoM and have died, may they rest in peace and rise in heavenly glory.

It is indeed overwhelming to see for myself so many of you who have come to witness this occasion. I understand that a lot of Christians are also following this occasion on television and radio broadcast. I am so assured to see the great support you represent, so let me say this you all; because of your trust and confidence in me, I will do my very best to be your servant shepherd.

My Vision
My vision for the Anglican Church of Melanesia is “A spiritually united Church for equal and holistic growth”. Spiritually united speaks of the desired status for ACoM and equal and holistic growth is the character of growth we anticipate to see in ACoM. In saying this, I am fully aware of the autonomous status each diocese in our Province possess. Hence, spiritual unity is not new, it is strongly interwoven in our tradition; in our daily worship, our biblical connection to the one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church and our faith in one baptism for the remission of sins. These traditional foundational elements must spur our spiritual unity, our mission, our administration and our financial self-support.

As a spiritually united Church we are called to remain faithful as the holy agent of salvation for the God’s people. It must be able to continually hold together across three political nations of New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands. She must also improve and strengthen her ecumenical relationship, both nationally, regionally and internationally. She must initiate dialogue and be receptive to our National governments and Non-government Organizations within our boundaries. The presence of our national leaders, Church leaders and our mission partners abroad is a manifestation of our unity; as different parts of the same Body of Christ.

This Church ought to see her adherents become active and participate equally in her life and mission. Through such united participation our Church can identify proactive mission approaches in the context of the rapid up rise of modernity, secularism, individualism and imperative ideologies facing our Church and society. In the face of all these, she must outwork through the lives of her members the physical testament of her spiritual essence.

In support of this vision, we must encourage the Religious Orders within ACoM to provide conducive venues for quiet times of mediation and retreats. But this Church must work towards establishing her own sanctuary or spiritual hub for the same course. A strong Church is one that is ever spiritually united and alive.

Today, I do not wish to raise your hopes for miracles, but with great humility wish to call upon ACoM Christians to arise, hold hands together and listen to each other as we seek ways forward for our Church. We must progressively build our Church on the foundation laid by our founding Fathers and those before us. There will be no miracle by any individual, but corporately, there will be further growth and development.

In the first few years of this leadership, we will continue to work on our ongoing development plans. If by God’s grace we archive them within their allocated period, we will then propose further plans through our administration and governing councils. Our Vision Statement will certainly guide our periodic strategic plans, but during the era of the incoming leadership, the overarching vision of ‘equal and holistic growth’ must guide our destiny.

Let me at this point raise some thoughts on the basic ministry of our Church;

Mission & Ministry
In terms of mission, ACoM, apart from the traditional mission approaches, always take some major mission programs in relation to Bishop George A. Selwyn mission philosophy of ‘true religion, sound learning and useful industry’. In the past, ACoM carried out her mission in threefold areas of Gospel propagation, social services and training. While we remain active in gospel proclamation, we subsided in social gospel and training.

On gospel proclamation, ACoM is currently in a decade of evangelism and renewal. It is a Provincial commitment, which our mission department must effectively lead us to roll out its programs using our established structures. Apart from the traditional methods of spreading the gospel, we need to be creative and innovative to identify other appropriate methods for mission at our respective levels. On the top level for example, ACoM must explore the possibility of utilising our media and communication department to alleviate and prompt the evangelism programs.

More importantly, our Religious Orders must be involved more fully in the evangelism and renewal programs. They must lead us through the decade because evangelism is their lifestyle, hoping that by the end of the decade we should have been rehearsed to do evangelism as our lifestyle.

Regarding our mission through social services, it is encouraging to see ACoM involving in various ‘cross cut issues’. The need is to strengthen and improve our Mission Board to become a strong and active department in our Church to alleviate the different cross cut issues we face. One of the strong mission area of the Church in the past was health services, but it drastically dropped to a very small percentage. Though, we might not see it as a cross cut issue, our national health level remains an issue, so it is an area that ACoM working together with our national governments can undertake feasibility studies on to see if it is possible to re-engage in health services.

Education and training is another area of mission which was very strong and active, but it also subsided along the way. However, upon realisation, we are now beginning to work towards a fully blown education and training ministry. We must do this at all prescribed levels of education and training by our national governments. As part of our mission work, we need to encourage dioceses to engage in education and training, both formal and non-formal. We must also raise the level of our existing schools and training centres.

In terms of theological education, there is great opportunity for ACoM to start planning towards introducing graduate programs in theological studies at Bishop Patteson Theological College. There is great confidence in our Church because we have our owned highly qualified human resources. In line with this, we are confident in the gradual, but steady progress John Coleridge Patteson University is making in terms of academic programs. JCPU project is a huge education and training development, but we remain optimistic about its ongoing progress with the support of our stakeholders in education, including our national governments.

Administration
In the area of administration, currently we have a strong administration in place at the provincial level under qualified personnel. There may be areas that needed improvement, but that can only be done by close scrutiny in relation to the changing experiences of our Church. But any notable change to our administration and financial structures and systems have to be done through our canon via relevant governing bodies. Again we must be guided by the vision for equal and holistic growth.

Self-reliance Investment
The call for dioceses and institutions to venture deep into self-reliance has been highlighted in our Church over the decades. The call intertwines with the call to be good stewards of our initiatives and their proceeds. Dioceses and institutions have indeed tried their best to take initiatives, but good stewardship has always been a setback.

Because of this, while I do not intend to discourage initiatives undertaken by dioceses and institutions, I wish to propose a new model to approach our self-reliance investment. It is my vision to work towards a ‘centralised self-reliance’ strategy. It means that our self-reliance activities and investments must be coordinated at the Provincial levels in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. We must identify appropriate and viable activities in our national capitals and other thriving development and economic centres in alignment with our countries’ national developments.

I believe the model correlates with that of Bp. Selwyn and Bp. Patteson when they invested for ACoM in Auckland. We will work with our national governments to formalise our Business Department to operate independently as a business entity to spearhead this concept. The wide spread of our Provincial Church over three political nations presents greater opportunities for such investments. It is high time that we ought to be trained to fish, then waiting on the shoreline to be given fish.

Diocese of Central Melanesia
I wish to assure my new Diocese of Central Melanesia that despites the heavy commitment with the affairs of the Province, I will ensure that I provide due pastoral visitation to our parishes and the satellite Churches. The Diocese of Central Melanesia is a growing diocese following the growth of our national capital of Honiara. A major task ahead of us is to ensure that these satellite Churches continue to grow and develop into parishes. I am not promising you any new and great visions because I know there are ongoing plans in place; my role will be to work with you to implement the plans. DOCM is the mother diocese of the Province of Melanesia, it is therefore, fitting that she must continue to develop ahead in her mission, administration and finance and become a role model for other dioceses.

Conclusion
In conclusion, may I once again appeal to all members of the Anglican Church of Melanesia, the Governments of Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, Mission Partners, Oceania Church Partners, Provincial Governments, NGOs, Chiefs and all faith confessing Christians of all denominations for your prayers and support.

ACoM is a living organism as St. Paul says in 1 Corinthian 12: 12 – end; hence a united participation at all levels and activity centres can definitely result in an equal and holistic growth. The mechanism for our united participation and working relationship is the promise of loyalty and support we offer each in this service. On my part, I will do all I can to work with you. Furthermore, I call on you to enjoy your participation in the life, mission, administration and socio economic development of our Church.

Lastly but the least, may the martyrs and saints of Melanesia and the triune and everlasting God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit bless and lead the Anglican Church of Melanesia.

Your Excellency the Governor General of Solomon Islands, the Most Rev. David Vunagi and Madam Mary Vunagi, the Honourable Speaker of Parliament, Mr. Patteson Oti, the Prime Minister, Honourable Manasseh Sogavare, all invited dignitaries, Mission partners, ACoM Church partners, and all of you who have come to honour and grace this occasion, I salute and thank you very much indeed.

Long live the Anglican Church of Melanesia; To God be the glory, great things He will do. Amen.


You can watch the full enthronement service here;

News story and pictures from ACoM Communications

Archbishop Elect Leonard Dawea

Enthronement of new Archbishop of Melanesia

As Bishop Leonard prepares for his enthronement on 15th September, friends from the UK introduce us to the new Archbishop of Melanesia.

I first met Leonard Dawea at Tabalia, the Headquarters of the Melanesian Brotherhood, where he had come to train as a novice from Temotu Diocese, and I was Chaplain and Tutor of the Brotherhood. It was not long before I began to recognise his giftedness. Here was a novice who was diligent, thoughtful and reliable and whatever responsibility he was given you knew it would be faithfully carried out. I also began to discover a young man of deep faith; he was quite quiet but always mature and wise in his thinking. He loved his studies as a novice and was one of the best.

After becoming a Brother, he was wisely appointed secretary of the Brotherhood, a difficult role but one Brother Leonard carried out with tremendous patience, discipline and faithfulness. He has a rare ability to be both kind, but also firm. We all knew this was a Brother we could trust.

Chester Rest House was really beginning to get underway and becoming a major source of income for the Brotherhood. Brother Leonard helped establish efficient methods of operation. He was one of the first Brothers to become computer literate. He has a tremendous heart for the Brotherhood. In the Ethnic Tension in Solomon Islands, I know personally how courageous and brave Brother Leonard was. I have a letter from one Englishman who has told me how, during the tension, Leonard saved his life and helped him escape from Honiara. It does not surprise me. Brother Leonard was one of the most loyal and trustworthy Brothers I have ever met and that is saying a lot.

Leonard of course was sent by the Brotherhood to the UK ministering with Brother George Elo in Tavistock and then studying at Chester College for his Bachelor of Theology. Again, he showed his characteristic dedication and faithfulness. He is also always very welcoming and hospitable and kind, and I remember many of the great times we have had together supported so generously by Barbara Molyneux and the Companions both in Exeter and Chester and joining an incredibly exciting Melanesian Brotherhood and Sisterhood Mission in 2005. When he returned to Solomons, Leonard became Chaplain of the Brotherhood and later Diocesan Secretary of Temotu Diocese. I, with others, was overjoyed when he was elected Bishop of Temotu. It is a role he has once again carried out with wise judgment, dedication and wisdom. When I knew that the Church of Melanesia was looking for a new Archbishop I prayed it might be him, for he has the humility, faithfulness and dedication so much needed in high office. When I heard he had been elected I believe this was indeed the working of the Holy Spirit. Here is a man whose whole life has shown us the true way of service. I would like to ask all of you to hold him in your prayers. I believe that the Lord will indeed continue to do great things through this man, husband, father brother and friend. I count myself so fortunate to have seen him progress from novice to Archbishop, never losing his kind bold humility or the sense that here is a man of love and faithfulness and true friendship. May he and many others through his ministry be richly blessed.

Almighty God you have called many to leave their homes behind to serve you
We thank God that you have called Leonard Dawea to be your servant
Bless and uphold him in his ministry as Archbishop of the Church of Melanesia
Guide and direct him through all difficult times
Continue all the good work you have begun in him that he may lead your Church with wisdom and compassion
Fill him Lord, with bold humility that he and his beloved family may continue to grow in your true way of service
And may his ministry and leadership bring many more people to know and love our Lord Jesus Christ
This we pray in His Holy Name
Amen

Revd Richard Carter

The Diocese of Chester has had an active link with the Anglican Church of Melanesia for over 30 years, a link which has brought benefits to us all.

In 2001 and 2002 the Diocese of Chester, the University of Chester and the Chester Companions of the Melanesian Brotherhood worked together to bring two Brothers to study for BA Honours degrees in Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Chester. In the Autumn of 2002, Brother Leonard Dawea and Brother Jonathan SioTiaro joined the First Year Undergraduates. They worked at their studies and made friends and survived the weather. Bishop Willie and his dear wife, the late Kate, and the Family gave wonderful support, as did their former Chaplain, Revd Richard Carter. Bishop Peter Forster kept a fatherly eye on them, and the Chester Companions appreciated their presence and contributions at meetings.

These two Brothers shared much about life in the Solomon Islands and the values and vital work of the Brotherhood and were in the middle of their studies when the sad news of the seven martyred Brothers came through. Before coming to the UK, they had played active roles in trying to bring about peace during the internal strife in the Solomon Islands.

In November 2005 Graduation Day in Chester Cathedral dawned and this was a wonderful day of thanksgiving and joy for the two Brothers and their lecturers, fellow students and friends – a celebration meal followed.

Brother Leonard, who could only use his Solomon Island driving licence for one year in the UK made time to take his driving test and passed first time; an achievement as there are many more rules of the road in the UK! He has touched many lives in Chester, and all are very happy to hear he will be the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia and send best wishes and prayers for him, his wife Dorah and their two children.

Barbara Molyneux

On 11 October 2001 I was driven into Plymouth by our parish secretary to meet two Melanesian Brothers at the station. Archbishop Ellison Pogo had asked the Bishop of Exeter if there was a parish in this diocese where a Brother, who had just completed a degree in theology and time at Mirfield with the Community of the Resurrection, could gain some experience of an English parish. Bishop Michael asked if I could do this and enable the Brother to see the work we did and share in it. As members of the Melanesian Brotherhood work and minister in pairs another brother would also be coming, and the Curate’s House in Tavistock would become a House of the Melanesian Brotherhood for a while.

The Brother in question was Fr George Elo and he was joined by Brother Leonard Dawea. George had been in the UK some years, but Leonard had never been. We greeted them on the station platform and set off for Tavistock. During the journey Leonard remarked on how smooth the roads were – not like those of the Solomon Islands. We stopped at the supermarket on the outskirts of Tavistock to ensure the brothers had enough food etc. The people of the parishes had been very generous and provided much food and other things the brothers would need. Not least, was the family for whom I had conducted a funeral in the previous weeks, who wanted to pass on a lot of furniture and were very happy for me to use it to furnish the house for the brothers. The garden at the house was important to them as it is an essential part of the life of the Brothers in the Solomon Islands.

One of the first comments Leonard made in the supermarket was, ‘in the Solomon Islands we do not eat unless we sweat’. He could not believe the vast quantity and variety of food that lined every aisle.
Over the next few weeks Fr George and Brother Leonard settled into life in the parish joining me and others for the Offices of Morning and Evening Prayer and Eucharist every day. Leonard found English a little hard at first but soon gained confidence in public prayers and conversations with people. Both brothers were welcomed by all in Tavistock and Gulworthy and over eight months many friendships were formed.
Brother Leonard assisted at many of the services and gradually found the confidence to preach at the Sunday Sung Eucharist. He and Fr George accompanied me many times to schools and they were always a hit with the children as they were with the members of the Church Youth Group which met on Sundays after Evensong. One of the joys of their life was on Fridays after we had said Evening Prayer when they would go to one of the Fish and Chip shops in the town to buy their supper. They loved fish and chips.

One of their other passions was football and on Boxing Day 2001 my son-in-law took them to watch Plymouth Argyle play as he was a great supporter of the team. Their delight was obvious when they returned to the vicarage for a meal with us and they both had Plymouth Argyle scarves.

One thing which made life easier for the brothers was the gift of a small, fairly old car, from someone in the congregation. Leonard had driven in the Solomon Islands and soon got used to doing so in Devon. It made a difference to their lives as walking from the curate’s house a few times each day was often exhausting as it entailed going up a steep hill.

During the time Brother Leonard was with us, although initially rather shy, he blossomed a great deal and his warm smile and gentle manner endeared him to everyone. His quiet prayerfulness and spirituality was an unselfconscious example to all, both in the congregations and in the town. It was a great wrench to say goodbye at a party in the Parish Centre after a service of thanksgiving and farewell in church. Their time with us had been a mission in itself.

Both Fr George and Brother Leonard left a deep impression on many people and we were able to start a group of the Companions of the Melanesian Brotherhood. We were all desperately sad to hear of the death of Fr George Elo a few years ago but we were very glad to know Brother Leonard, as we had known him, was to be the Bishop of Temotu. He came to visit us while in UK for the new Bishops’ Course in 2017. Now everyone is delighted and full of congratulations that he has been elected Archbishop of Melanesia.

John Rawlings (Vicar of Tavistock and Gulworthy 1992-2006)
South West Section Leader of the Companions of the Melanesian Brotherhood