Tag: Archbishop

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

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

Archbishop Elect Leonard Dawea

Anglican Church of Melanesia elects new Archbishop

The Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACoM) has a new Archbishop. He is the Rt Revd Leonard Dawea, who is currently the Bishop of the Diocese of Temotu (DOT) in Solomon Islands.

Bishop Dawea 47, was elected to the highest Episcopal position within the Anglican Church by the ACoM Provincial Electoral Board this afternoon, the 25th of June at Tabalia; headquarters of the Melanesian Brotherhood, west of Honiara. The Provincial Electoral Board that elected the Rt Revd Dawea has been in retreat since Sunday 23rd June.

He is the sixth Archbishop in succession since the Anglican Church of Melanesia was inaugurated in January 1975 as an independent ecclesiastical province from New Zealand. He succeeds the Most Revd George Angus Takeli who retired on the 24th March this year.

The Rt Revd Leonard Dawea holds a Bachelor of Theology with Honours (BTh/Hons.), in the field of Theology and Ethics from the University College Chester (now Chester University). Prior to being elected as the next Archbishop of the church, he served the ACoM as a full member of the Melanesian Brotherhood from 1995 to 2007. He was ordained into the Priesthood in 2007. After his ordination he served within the Melanesian Brotherhood as tutor and chaplain. In 2013 he was appointed the Mission Secretary of DOT from 2013 to 2014 and later as Diocesan Secretary from 2015 to 2016.

Archbishop elect, the Rt Revd Dawea is from the Reef Islands in Temotu and is married to Dorah Dawea from Guadalcanal and they have two children.

His enthronement and installation to become an Archbishop is scheduled for 15th September at Saint Barnabas Provincial Cathedral this year.

The previous Archbishops serving the church were, – The Most Reverend Norman Palmer 1975 – 1987, The Most Rev. Amos Waiaru 1988 – 1993, The Most Rev. Sir Ellison Pogo 1994 – 2008, The Most Rev. David Vunagi 2009 – 2015 and the Most Rev. George Takeli 2016 – 2019.

The Anglican Province of Melanesia covers three independent nations of Solomon Islands, the Republic of Vanuatu and the French Trust Territory of New Caledonia. Its Provincial Headquarters is in Honiara with a sub – Provincial Administration Office at Luganville on Santo in Vanuatu. It has seven dioceses in Solomon Islands and two in Vanuatu.

The Senior Bishop of the Church, the Rt Revd Nathan Tome is calling on all members of the church to pray for Bishop Leonard and family as he prepares to take on this highest position within the Church of Melanesia.

Released on the Authority of: The Senior Bishop of ACoM – The Rt Revd Nathan Tome and the ACoM Provincial Electoral Board
News story and pictures from ACoM Communications

Archbishop Retires

Archbishop Retires

Archbishop RetiresThe sixth Archbishop of the Anglican Church Melanesia and the Bishop of the Diocese of Central Melanesia (DoCM), the Most Reverend George Angus Takeli, was officially farewelled last month in a moving Liturgical service at Saint Barnabas Provincial Cathedral. Towards the end of the service, the Archbishop placed on the Altar the two symbols representing his pastoral oversight; the Primatial Cross of the Archbishop of Melanesia and the Pastoral Staff of the Bishop of Central Melanesia. These will be handed to the new Archbishop when he is installed later on this year.

A large congregation including the Bishops from the nine Dioceses, representative from the Melanesian Mission Trust Board in New Zealand, supporters from Melanesian Mission in UK and other government dignitaries came to witness the service.

In his Sermon, Archbishop George said the Liturgical Service marks the beginning of a time of prayer and reflection for the Church to uphold members of the Provincial Electoral Board, to seek the mind of God to reveal the next person to lead the Church.

“As we choose our next Archbishop, it is important for us to see the mission field and the future of our Church with fresh eyes or with the eyes of God,” he added.

“God did not allow me to continue on with the plans I have for the Church; however, he has already anointed someone amongst his Church to continue this work into the future.” he said.

In his farewell address, the retired Archbishop thanked the chairman and team from the Melanesian Mission Trust Board in New Zealand, members of the Trust and supporters of the Melanesian Mission in the United Kingdom, oversea partners, Diplomatic Offices in Vanuatu and Solomon Islands through relevant Ministries, Solomon Islands Christian Association (SICA) and Solomon Islands Full Gospel Association (SIFGA,) for friendship and support during his term as Archbishop.

Archbishop Retires
In his three-year period, Archbishop George launched the Decade of Renewal and Evangelism, provided training for the Council of Bishops and their wives, clergy and lay administrators, in the areas of leadership and administration, mission work and pastoral care; raising the Clergy remuneration, and the building of a new office complex for ACoM Provincial Head Quarters; to name a few.

Garry Swift of MMTB New Zealand, Dr. Abraham Hauriasi, ACoM General Secretary and the Senior Bishop of the church, the Right Rev Nathan Tome, acknowledged the leadership of the retired Archbishop over the past three years. “You end your term of leadership with many and big achievements though within a short period of time.” Bishop Tome said.

The next Archbishop will be elected in June and installed in September.

News story and pictures from ACoM Communications

Women On The Frontline Training

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Importance of Retreat and Training:

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

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

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

What Next?

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

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

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


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

News story and pictures from ACoM Communications

Archbishop George Takeli

Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia retires

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

News story and pictures from ACoM Communications

Mrs Welby 01

Women on the Frontline Training – Mrs Welby and Team in Honiara

Mrs Caroline Welby and her small team from Lambeth Palace in the United Kingdom, England were in Honiara last week.

The purpose of their one-week visit was to conduct training called “Women on the Front Line” for ACoM Bishops’ wives and other women in the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACOM) as well as joining with them in prayer, sharing and to encourage each other.

Mrs Welby was accompanied by Jane Namureye, Keren Lewis and Canon Rev. Sarah Snyder.

The Archbishop of ACOM the Most Reverend George Takeli, his wife and the President and members of the ACOM Provincial Mothers Union met the team at Henderson International Airport before they left for TNK, where the one-week program was held.Mrs Welby 02

Tete Ni Kolivuti or TNK for short, is the Headquarters of the Sisters of the Church and is located on the eastern side of Honiara, around Tenaru School and Foxwood.

“We have been waiting for this day, and here it is,” Rev Sr. Veronica, Sister Provincial of the Community of the Sisters of the Church said at a welcome ceremony held at TNK.

“We are happy to be your host and we are looking forward to providing you the best hospitality we can offer you this week,” she said to the visiting team including the Bishops’ wives.

As part of the programme Mrs. Welby led a retreat for Bishops’ wives for three days. The group was then joined by other women from the church to share reflections and discussions on the topics centred around conflict, violence, counselling, meditation and reconciliation.

Archbishop Takeli also delivered an address during the week, for participants to discuss and reflect on.

News story and pictures from ACoM Communications

ACoM Reconcilers And Peacemakers

ACoM Reconcilers and Peacemakers – Women on the Frontline

Caroline Welby and Sarah Snyder (the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Advisor for Reconciliation) have been invited by Archbishop George Takeli to bring a small team to Melanesia from Lambeth Palace from the 9th to the 14th of September, to support women from the Anglican Church of Melanesia as reconcilers and peacemakers. This is part of a programme developed by the Archbishop’s Reconciliation Ministry, called Women on the Frontline. The first part of the trip will consist of a retreat for the bishops’ wives, led by Caroline Welby. The second half of the week will be reconciliation training led by Sarah Snyder, for both the bishops’ wives and a wider group of women from the Church. Prayer is the crucial backbone of Women on the Frontline, and the team would be especially grateful for prayers, specifically:

  • That all those who are part of the retreat and training deepen their relationship with God and one another.
  • That the experience of the retreat and training would inspire all those who take part to live out their calling to peace and reconciliation.
  • That the participants would be excited about sharing these experiences with those in their communities and dioceses when they return.

Archbishop’s Visit

Archbishop George, his wife June, Dr Abraham and Fr Nigel have now all returned to Honiara after their UK visit. The party have expressed their thanks to all who welcomed them into their homes, churches, schools and dioceses.

The Archbishop wanted to make this visit to reconnect with the church which sent the first Anglican Missionaries to the region. He calls coming to the UK like ‘coming home’. The group particularly enjoyed visiting schools partnered with schools in Melanesia and being questioned by some very enquiring young minds. Pupils and teachers were particularly moved by our guests accounts and first-hand experiences of living with climate change.

Many miles were clocked up by the party and those who accompanied them on their visits to London, Southwark, Canterbury, Ely, Exeter and Chester Dioceses. June even made it as far as Edinburgh to attend the Mothers’ Union AGM. Archbishop George finished his time in the UK by attending the Primates meeting. Here are some links to the Primates Meeting, which included discussion on climate change.

Anglican primates leave Canterbury “refreshed and renewed” after “best” Primates’ Meeting
Anglican primates discuss action on climate change

A full report and pictures will appear in the next magazine, with sermons and talks given by the group appearing on the website shortly.

The Archbishop’s UK Commissary Revd Richard Carter has also written ‘A briefing based on the Vision of the Archbishop of Melanesia‘.

20171011-03-ArchbishopsVisit 20171011-02-ArchbishopsVisit


A briefing based on the Vision of the Archbishop of Melanesia

On Sunday 17 April 2016 more than 4000 people gathered at St Barnabas Cathedral Honiara in the Solomon Islands to witness the enthronement of Archbishop George Takeli as the sixth Archbishop of Anglican Church of Melanesia. It was at this enthronement that he set out his vision for the future of the Church of Melanesia. In the last 18 months, he has been working to establish many of those ideas.

I want in this briefing to reflect upon the key messages of that vision which Archbishop George Takeli has set out and the Church of Melanesia has begun trying to live out and implement.

“God is always present with us.”

Melanesian culture is pervaded by the realisation of the presence of God in all things. It is a culture immediately dependent on the land and sea to sustain the life of its people. When storms and cyclone come, as we have seen they often do, we have constantly seen how vulnerable these low-lying islands are, made still more vulnerable by climate change. We also see the resilience and courage of the people both in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu as they rebuild their lives after floods and cyclones and when forced to move whole villages and abandon islands due to rising sea levels. In our partnership with the Church of Melanesia we have much to learn from this closeness to creation- for we abandon our own stewardship of creation at our peril. But we also have much to learn about the presence of God in our daily lives- the gifts of God revealed in the food we eat, the water we drink, our homes providing shelter from the elements, the air we breathe and the many gifts of God we take for granted. The promise of God’s presence is, according to Archbishop George, a promise of hope for the future, even in times of deep fear.

“The disciples were filled with joy at seeing the Lord”

Another lesson that we learn from the Church of Melanesia is that living the Gospel is a path of joy. It is joyful to be a disciple of Christ not a burden or an anxiety. In all aspects of the churches life we see that joy pervading the mission of the Church of Melanesia. We see it in laughter, in dancing, in Melanesian music, in welcome and generous hospitality and in community life. To share the life of the religious communities in the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu is to experience struggle, and at times poverty, but never without profound joy. It is also to rediscover the spontaneous- a faith that comes from the heart. Notice the way that songs are often learnt by heart and the ritual of worship is not just the written word but the Word made flesh.

“God recommissions the church for mission”

The Church of Melanesia has always been proud to be a missionary church. It celebrates Bishop Selwyn and of course Bishop Patteson from Exeter Diocese- and all those who left family and home to live the Gospel in the South Pacific. These were “missionaries not stationaries.” Its model of mission was a ship moving from island to island.  And right from the beginning those called to become its evangelists whether priests or brothers or sisters or teachers and lay workers often had to let go of family and home and set out trusting in the Gospel.

The Church of Melanesia is not ashamed of a Gospel that brought peace to the islands and overcame the fear of the evil spirits and the violence of tribal conflicts and head-hunting. It has always had a confidence in its missionary calling and has been confident to profess the new life that Christ brings. At Pentecost 2017 the Church of Melanesian relaunched A Decade of Evangelism and Renewal- with the desire to bring new believers to know Christ and to bring those who have fallen away back to Christ. It is a call to all to live in the light of Christ more faithfully. Archbishop George Takeli has challenged the church to build a renewed community of God’s people where faith is not simply a denominational allegiance but the Spirit which changes lives and builds God’s kingdom. The Church of Melanesia is a young and growing church full of gifts and potential. Of course, there will be pain and struggle as in the birth of a child but this is a mission which will demand both perseverance and the hope that comes from God.

“It is a vision of God. Mission work must begin with God”

Even in times of crisis or critical challenges, God is still in control. Archbishop George has emphasised the importance of prayer as the basis for all mission and ministry and the essence of all renewal in the church. You cannot do God’s work without God’s help. Again, and again we are invited to return to God in prayer and faithful worship. Prayer is the secret of a closer walk with God. This renewal will also depend on the renewal of leadership. If leadership is renewed that allows for the whole church to be renewed. Leadership according to Archbishop George: “is not about seeking privileges and opportunities but is a sacred responsibility of service to the community from which we have been called.”

“The church must become self-supporting and self-reliant.”

The Church of Melanesia, the Archbishop argues must no longer depend on others for its finances and well-being but mature both spiritually and also in terms of its industry, its administration and planning, and its generation and use of finances. Archbishop George has insisted these things are also of God. The growth of a church will depend on wise management and planning of resources and priorities. The Melanesian Mission UK has a part to play in this growth, not stifling this independence but by being a faithful friend and partner of the Church of Melanesia in a relationship of equality and trust and the sharing of expertise and gifts.

“A church which works together with others.”

Archbishop George has stressed the importance of working together with others. He sees the different diocese within the Church of Melanesia not rivals dividing up of a cake but as partners in mission together working for the common good. To that end he has worked to bring a greater understanding between the dioceses and to establish a greater collegiality and bond of faith between the bishops of each diocese.

But also, he has worked for a closer relationship with NGOs and Mission Partners. The partnership with the Melanesian Mission UK is of vital importance and significance to him. He sees it as a reciprocal relationship in which we can learn from one another. This is particularly seen in the relationships that have grown through the visits to and from the religious communities in Melanesia to the UK and between schools. The Primary and Secondary School links and the active links with the religious communities especially the Melanesian Brotherhood, the Sisters of Melanesia, The Sisters of the Church and the Society of St Francis has been a source of real blessing and renewal both in UK and in Solomon Islands and beyond.  Archbishop George is the chair of SICA the Solomon Island Christian Association and believes that unity between churches is also of vital importance.

“The stewards of creation”

The more we learn about how climate change will impact on people and the environment, the more we see how people need to take action to reduce green-house gas emissions that are causing such destructive climate change.

As Christians, we are called to become the stewards and defenders of creation. The Church in the South Pacific has a vital prophetic role to play and the Church in the UK and the west must become advocates and witnesses to the threat our partners face. It is not the Solomon Islands that is causing the rising sea levels, it is the industrial western world but it is some of the poorest most vulnerable people in the world who are suffering the consequences. In the islands of the pacific we have seen rising sea levels, flooding, erosion and the disappearance of land and small islands, coral bleaching, changing tide patterns, unusual winds and currents and weather patterns, draught and lack of rain, and then increased and more violent cyclones and concentrated rainfall bringing flash-floods.

The Church cannot remain passive. The decade of Evangelism and Renewal is about renewing our commitment to the gifts of creation and their stewardship. It is also about realising that the way we live in one part of the world has a direct impact on the lives of others in other parts of the world.

“Blessed are the Peacemakers”

The Church has a vital role to play within the wider community as Solomon Islands faces its own divisions and conflicts. The Church of Melanesia is the messenger of a greater unity that comes through the forgiveness and example of Christ. Every Christian is called upon to be a messenger of that peace and to break down the hatred and animosity that divides tribes, islands, nations, faiths and cultures. The divisions that led to the ethnic tension are still often present under the surface. It is the call of every member of the church to show that we are first and foremost Christians. Who is my mother, my father, my brother my sister, my tribe, my wontok? The one who does the work of God.

These are the ideas and visions which Archbishop George Takeli has shared and begun implementing in his first 18 months of office. They are, I believe, not just of value to the Church of Melanesia but the whole world wide Anglican Communion and to us, partners in the Melanesian Mission UK.

Revd Richard Carter
UK Commissary to Archbishop George Takeli
September 2017


Our Melanesian Guests Arrive Today

We are delighted to welcome to the UK the Most Revd George Takeli, Archbishop of Melanesia, his wife Mrs June Takeli, the Anglican Church of Melanesia’s (ACoM) General Secretary Dr Abraham Hauriasi and ACoM’s Acting Mission Secretary Revd Nigel Kelaepa.

The group will be spending time in London, Chester, Exeter and Ely Dioceses meeting supporters and visiting educational establishments, Diocesan Offices, churches and will be attending the charity’s AGM (details below).

Supporters will have the opportunity to hear from our guests at our AGM and also on the following dates:

Sunday 17th September
10:00 Archbishop George will preach at Exeter Cathedral Eucharist
10:00 Dr Abraham & Revd Nigel will attend the Parish Eucharist at St Martin in the Fields, Trafalgar Square, London
Wednesday 20th September
19:00 Archbishop George will preach at the Patteson Day Eucharist St Andrew’s Feniton, Devon
Thursday 21st September
18:00 Archbishop George will be presiding & preaching at Feast of St Matthew the Apostle Eucharist St Eustachius, Tavistock, Devon
Friday 22nd September
19:00 at St James the Great Church Hall, Church Lane, Gawsworth, Macclesfield SK11 9RJ: an evening with Dr Abraham and Revd Nigel, hosted by Bishop Willie
Sunday 24th September
10:00 Archbishop George to preach at Chester Cathedral
Sunday 1st October
10:00 Archbishop George will preach at the Parish Eucharist at St Martin in the Fields, Trafalgar Square, London