Greetings and blessings of 2021 to you all, friends of the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACoM). Despites the persisting gloom of the global pandemic, may you continue to undertake your mandates under the protecting hands of our Almighty God.
May I render on behalf of ACoM immense gratitude and acknowledgement to you for all your support in 2020. Though our historical relationship underscores reciprocity in spiritual and physical support, it is obvious that ACoM, in notable degree, weighs heavier as recipient of practical support from you. That has been the trend over the many years the relationship has existed up until 2020; a year globally acknowledged as difficult. ACoM gives thanks and praise to God for the wisdom to give birth to such a relationship and those who have made it workable and beneficial on both ends over the years up to the present. You are true friends and mission partners for the glory of God and his word of saving grace.
During this dark spell over the global community, as true friends and partners, we offer and welcome that spiritual embrace through prayers for each other. Truly we have been denied that physical visitation and presence, but nothing surpasses the prayers and thoughts genuine friends and partners give each other even from distance. ACoM holds you and the communion family unceasingly in prayers.
Let me just provide you with some updates on the upcoming events of ACoM. This month, the Electoral Board will assemble at Hautabu to elect a new bishop for the Diocese of Hanuatoó. On 28th February, we will have the consecration and installation of the Rev. Benedict Loe as the second Bishop of the Diocese of Guadalcanal. The consecration and installation of the new Bishop of Hanuatoó takes place on 21st March at St. Peter’s Cathedral, Kirakira. It is important to have the new bishops installed early to allow progress in their respective dioceses. Ideally, the first three months of this year see these major events. We will then wrap up this year with the General Synod in November.
In brief, let me inform you of certain ACoM’s ongoing projects. The Southern Cross has been agreed by both the Council of Bishops and Management Board to go on tender. While some ACoM members have raised concerns of deep affection and connection to it, the need for a bigger boat is obvious considering the unpredictable weather patterns emanating from the climate change. The proposed new Provincial office complex in Honiara has not started yet. A small committee composed of staff members was appointed to oversee this project. They are putting together a concept design and site clearing plans before actual work can begin, hopefully this year. Another huge undertaking is the JCP University project which has been around in the Church for almost two decades. Currently there is obvious enthusiasm to push it forward with the involvement of some prominent laities and academics of our Church. Aside from these, there are ongoing projects in the Board of Mission and Education departments.
On COVID 19 situation, both Solomon Islands and Vanuatu lost their COVID-19-free statues late last year. Following the repatriation of our citizens abroad, Solomon Islands in a very relatively short space of time recorded seventeen cases. Vanuatu still record a smaller number in comparison to Solomon Islands. Both Countries are managing well to contain the cases within the quarantine centers. According to the Prime Minister’s nationwide address this week, out of the seventeen, only two still remain positive in Solomon Islands. The two are among the footballers who returned from England last year. While we all acknowledge that it still far from over, life in the two countries is fairly normal despites the lingering fear and cautiousness.
We will continue to uphold each other in prayers, knowing that when the world seemingly fails us, God remains truthful to his promises to be with us. He comes to us on Christmas in the thickness of not just the bleak winter, but also the darkness of the COVID -19. Against that backdrop, he came and lived among us; he is Emmanuel. He is with us, not just literally with us, but supporting us through all manner of situations. As always, please continue to uphold the events and projects of ACoM in your prayers.
God bless our friendship and partnership always.
The Most Rev Leonard Dawea, Archbishop of Melanesia
As UK Companions to the Melanesian Brotherhood were unable to gather for this year’s St Simon and St Jude services due to COVID-19, UK South West Companions organised an online service and meeting on 28th October. Seventeen Companions from across the UK were joined by Revd Br Nelson, MBH, who is currently studying in Fiji. During the service, led by Ven John Rawlings, the Lord is My Shepherd was sung by the congregation at Tabalia.
At the meeting Companions shared news from their regions and from the Brotherhood, and watched the Address given by the Archbishop of Melanesia, the Most Revd Leonard Dawea.
Watch these films and revisit the slide content shared during the online service and meeting;
At Tabalia, the Headquarters of the Brotherhood, 41 Novices were admitted as Brothers, 12 Brothers renewed their vows, and 8 were released.
The Melanesian Brotherhood (MBH) was formed by Ini Kopuria, a policeman from Maravovo village, Guadalcanal in 1925. Brothers take the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience for three years, which can be renewed. They train for four years as Novices and normally make their vows to become Brothers at the Feast of St. Simon and St. Jude.
Today, the work of the Brotherhood has reached out to other countries beyond Solomon Islands, including Vanuatu, the Philippines, Australia and Canada. Companions around the world support the Brotherhood through prayer and financial support. For more information on becoming a Companion, contact MMUK.
SERMON DELIVERED ON EASTER SUNDAY APRIL 12TH, 2020
John 20: 1-18 – “New life begins while it was still dark”
Alleluia, the Lord is risen – He is risen indeed, Alleluia.
May I warmly welcome you all again to this Easter service. I am indeed delighted to welcome, on your behalf, the Head of State, the Governor General of Solomon Islands, the Rt. Rev. Sir David Vunagi and Madam Mary who have come to join us for this Easter Service. I further extend our welcome to those who are joining in from their homes or other places throughout our country, Solomon Islands. Easter is a great day; it is the day of the resurrection of our Lord; the day we are given hope and assurance for our own resurrection and new life.
Secondly, I wish to take this opportunity to thank the leaders of our nation, Solomon Islands, the Governor General, the Prime Minister and our national leaders for their very important decision for our Churches to continue their services, despite the enormous fear we all have of the corona virus. We pray that God will bless our nation through that State decision.
The story of the resurrection of our Lord is a story of renewal, transformation of life, new light and is a journey of faith for nations, communities, families and individuals. We pray that it will be the story of our nation as we, as a nation continue to live with the fear of the Covid-19. Fear that was increased by Cyclone Harold last week, which led to the tragic and painful death of 27 beloved lives in the sea on 3rd April. But also fear of the many untold painful stories of communities, families and individuals. We pray that the new light of Christ’s resurrection will renew and transform those fears and take us on a new journey of life.
Allow me to take you through the story of the resurrection from when darkness and fear reached its highest climax. The story of the resurrection began on Good Friday when human beings thought that they have successfully locked Jesus down. Let us make justification for this with the words of scripture. The last word of Jesus on the cross ‘Father into your hands, I place my spirit’, affirms it. For us others (Clergies or catechists) to do it for us, but Christ did it for himself before bending down in death. What happens……, explain. It is common knowledge that resurrection is God’s activity; no dead body can raise itself.
The story of the resurrection began very early on the first day of the week, Sunday, ‘when it was still dark’. The moment of time carries John’s contrasting theme of darkness and light or vice versa. The statement ‘it was still dark’ bear connotation on what happened on Good Friday. There was still confusion, fear, doubt, frustration, anger, darkness still cast over the lives his followers and those who became his believers. But in the midst of all that, a new story has begun, though it is still concealed by human lives, it has actually begun.
The statement ‘when it was still dark’ sets a strong back for God whose power destroyed sin and death. He raised his Son to new life by bursting from the dark tomb of death. Being filled with the power of the new life breathed in him by his Father, Jesus destroys our fears, doubts, confusion and darkness. He breaths upon us his breathe of new life, (peace be with you) he destroys our darkness forever, clears our doubts and reorder and recreates our confused order of life once and for all.
The darkness John meant, therefore, was not just the physical darkness before sunrise, but the spiritual darkness, we encounter every day through the different situations of life at all levels.
The first resurrection morning looked very bleak for Mary Magdalene. She had been with Jesus almost from the beginning of his ministry. She had seen lives changed, people healed, and eyes opened. But on Good Friday, just a few days before, Jesus was crucified. Nails had been driven into his hands and feet. A sword had pierced his side. Mary stood at the foot of the cross hopeless and helpless as her Saviour dies slowly in agony, but with love. She was heartbroken to see in the most-cruel way the very person who had given her hope, wholeness and new life dying.
In the resurrection morning, Mary came to the tomb with heart still heavy, ‘it was still dark for her. But there is more, her wholeness has fallen into pieces again. She didn’t have a life she wanted to go back to; she still longs to experience the goodness of Christ. Sadness, disappointment, and emptiness consumed her. Her soul languished in spiritual darkness. We all feel that way; we all have days where our hopes, faith and wholeness fall in shambles around our feet. We all have failed expectations, deep moments of fear (now the Covid-19), when our lives were going so well and suddenly faces a darkness, with uncertain ending.
Mary was consumed by that seemingly endless darkness, not realising that the story has changed. A new light that shines forever is illuming over the horizon. A new life that knows no end has been won for her. The way for her to experience Jesus forever has been made possible. The power of sin and death has been destroyed completely.
My sisters and brothers it is easy to believe when everything is all sunlight and happiness. Our belief changes very quickly when it is dark and is still dark. It is easy to believe that God is for us when all about life goes well, but we naturally incline to feel rejected, guilty, or abandoned. Anyone can walk in the sunshine; but only few faithful ones can walk in the dark. Life is not just all sunshine; sunshine with no dark clouds to make rain produces a desert, not a garden. In other words, there is no glory without suffering.
Because the resurrection of Jesus took place when it was still dark, all four gospels record it differently. Even the synoptic gospels have variable differences in their records. All were giving us evidences from the human point of view, but the resurrection of Jesus is done by God alone, out of human sight. We can only see, witness and experience the traces (clothes, angelic announcement, and empty tomb). It is exactly the way we respond to the belief and experiences of the resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus is both for corporate and personal lives. On the personal level, it can disfigure (into a gardener), it can figure differently.
The empty tomb, (they have taken….), she came back the second, stood crying at the tomb, mistaken Jesus for a gardener are all reference points of personal incomplete story of a complete story. It is the same us; sometimes the complete story of the resurrection becomes incomplete through the lanes of our lives.
In June 18, 1815, during the battle of Waterloo, the British depended on a system signals (called semaphore) to convey the latest news from the battlefield. One of these signal stations was on the tower of Winchester Cathedral. Late on 18th it flashed the signal: “W-E-L-L-I-N-G-T-O-N—DE-F-E-A-T-E-D- -.” At that precise moment a cloud of fog rolled in and blocked out the signal. The news of defeat quickly spread throughout the city. The whole countryside was sad and gloomy when they heard their country had lost the war. But just suddenly the fog lifted, and the remainder of the message could then be read. It consisted of four words, not two. The complete message was: “W-E-L-L-I-N-G-T-O-N- – -DE-F-E-A- T-E-D- – -T-H-E- – -E-N- E-M-Y!” It took only a few minutes for the good news to spread. Sorrow was turned into joy; defeat was turned into victory!
This is exactly what happened to Mary that first resurrection morning – all was not as expected, but the fog of Good Friday lifted when Jesus called her by name. Sorrow was turned into joy, defeat turned into victory, darkness was overcoming by light. Mary had a new lease on life. It is the same for us when we stumble through periods of spiritual darkness. Jesus is there, whether we can see him or not. God’s plan for our lives is still moves forward, even when we cannot see a way forward, we need to have faith.
Today, if you are in one of those spiritually dark places (and we all are at one time or another), I want you to know there is hope; remember the first verse of our text today…. “While it was still dark, Jesus had already risen”. He walks with us through our faith.
Jesus was there with Mary in the darkness on that first resurrection morning. The tomb was empty because Jesus is with us, with our nation, our communities and families in this uncertain and fearful time of Covid-19. The story of fear of the Covid-19, though seems to surpass the story of the resurrection, it is only a dark overcast. The complete story is that Jesus calls us name, calls Solomon Islands by name; our part is to recognise his voice. We pray that as he calls us by names, call Solomon Islands by name, we shall turn in repentance and humility.
St. John, the writer of our text this morning knew this, so he gave us these words of hope at the very beginning of his Gospel: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never put it out!” (John 1:5). The Lord has risen!
The Lord has risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen.
Most Revd Leonard Dawea
Archbishop of Melanesia
Bishop of Central Melanesia
Having entered another year, we started going through the liturgical seasons of our Christian calendar. We have now entered the season of Lent; the forty days preceding Easter. Lent is observed with fasting, almsgiving, acts of penance and other forms of disciplined spiritual devotion. It naturally inclined us to reduce in remorse, reflections and prayers for the frailties of our life that estranges us from God. In the Church, the absence of joyful music, alleluias, and the omission of the Gloria in excelsis featured the solemnity and seriousness of the penitential reduction. Relatively, the surrendering of habitual lifestyles during Lent appropriately aligns with this natural impetus on individual lives.
Jesus’ forty days of fasting in the wilderness after his baptism has been observed throughout the Church as the prime emphasis of Lent. John’s baptism is of repentance of sins, which disqualified Jesus, but he volunteered to undergo the baptism of John for the sake of our sins. Though, it was an entire contradiction given the sinless nature of Jesus Christ, he did so for our sake. Taking this background into consideration, it is appropriate that we begin each Lenten season with the imposing of ashes crosses on our foreheads. This reminds us of the spiritual baptism of repentance we all go through in Lent as we look towards the resurrection of Jesus where we shall all receive spiritual rebirth.
I have decided to make this Lenten reflection on the scene of Jesus’ activities; the wilderness. It was where he fasted, encountered temptations while praying and being alone with God. It is why this brief reflection is entitled, ‘The Wilderness of Lent’.
Geographical wilderness is not common in our part of the world; hence it needs some outset explanation. What is wilderness? Wilderness is basically land that is mostly wild and rarely inhabited or unfit for permanent human settlement. In the Near East it is characteristically dry, rough, uneven, and desolate and largely intertwined with dry watercourses. But it is not altogether dry or barren, during wet rainy season, it provides seasonal pastures for flocks.
In the Bible there are several wilderness lands identified by name and related to cities, persons and events. Hagar wandered in the land of Beersheba – Genesis 21: 14. The Israelites went through several wilderness lands on their way to the Promised Land. David escaping Saul hid in three wilderness lands, Ziph (1 Sam. 23: 14-15), in the wilderness of Moan (vv. 24-25) and in the wilderness of En-gedi (24: 1). And in the NT Gospels, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness of Judea after his baptism (Is. 40:3; Matt. 3: 1-3; Mark 1: 2-4; Lk. 3: 1-6; John 1: 23).
The ambiguity of the wilderness
Taking the above texts into consideration, we come to terms with why the wilderness becomes a prime theme occupying both testaments of the Bible. It is important to note that while the wilderness is a dry, barren, rough, dusty land etc.., it also provides pastures for animals. This geographical scenario provides the background context of the ambiguity of the wilderness. It was there that Hagar and her son Ishmael were cast out and abandoned, possibly to die (Gen. 16. 1-16); but it was also exactly where they God met and saved them (Gen. 16: 17-20).
In the wilderness the people of Israel found both refuge and protection from the Egyptians (Ex. 16: 1ff). They went through about nine wilderness lands before they finally entered the Promised Land, where they achieved nationhood. They feared they could die of hunger in the wilderness (Ex.16:3), but right there God fed them with manner from heaven. The wilderness is both great and terrible (Deut. 1:19). But though terrible, lifeless, empty, mountainous and dusty, the wilderness is where God was expected to return (Is. 40:3). It remains in the Bible a place of ambiguity; holding both danger and salvation.
The wilderness of Lent
The season of Lent in various respects is like a wilderness. Though, it might impact natural inclination on Christians, it is a spiritually rich season, which elevates us towards God. Though Lent may feel as a threat to our life because we don’t usually want to expose the deep secrets of our lives, even in confession, it is our prerequisite for salvation. In being reduced to humility and remorse, Lent helps us to let go of the impasses of life that continually holds us captive. We are challenged to be courageous in facing our own vulnerabilities that we normally shy away from. It invites us to inward discovering of ourselves against the goodness and holiness of God. It calls us to learn about ourselves; who God calls us to be and who we want to be through our response.
Since Lent is like the wilderness, we encounter discomforts when we face the realities of the humdrumness of our lives. This is the truth about Lent. We discover no easy way to deal with the shortfalls of our lives; no shortcut to deal with ourselves in Lent. The best way is to be honest in repentance before God. The first truth Jesus told Nicodemus is that, ‘no one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again’ (John 3: 3). There is absolutely no other way around it, hard as it may be, it is the way to receive God’s grace and mercy. We are reminded as Christians by the ashes we receive each Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. In doing that, we explore and discover our own lives. In that discovery, we find the spaciousness of God’s grace and love; our discovery therefore, does stop in terror, but in hope for the very salvation we crave.
Lent has often been taken as a time to escape or avoid unwanted habits for 40 days. Nothing is against this tradition, but if we are not careful, it can turn into a ‘spiritual disaster’. Some people experience greater adverse and harm from what they gave up than the good it impacts. What we do in Lent is far less important than who we become. Our Lenten emphasis should not be too much on what we surrender, but who are we becoming. We leave behind our old landscapes; our patterns and attitudes of life as we move with Christ towards Calvary.
In that spiritual movement, we lift our eyes upwards in faith beyond our humdrum lives and experiences to God, our loving Father who awaits to restore us to himself in a new way of relationship. It is the relationship that Jesus have with his father that helped him overcame the three most hazardous temptations enticingly posed to him by Satan to derail him. It is the new relationship which Jesus engraved on us Christian to live by.
Best wishes for a deep and meaningful reflection, meditation and prayers as emulate Jesus on his wilderness journey of the Cross. May we, during this Lent rise or descend to the level Christ sets for us as we wait to meet him anew in the resurrection morning.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.