Tag: Community of the Sisters of Melanesia

DoCM ACoM Provincial Youth Convention

Lizzie Campbell – Six Weeks In The Solomons

For six weeks this summer, I travelled to Solomon Islands to experience the Anglican Church and religious orders on the other side of the world. Having left Europe only once before in my life there was little that could prepare me for this life-changing experience.

Before leavingCSM Verana'aso home, I felt trepidation; would I be safe? Would I enjoy myself? How homesick was I going to get? I didn’t expect to see a whole new perspective on my faith and the church into which I will be ordained in 2 years.

Week One: I stayed in Verana’aso with the Melanesian Sisters. Living without running water or electricity was a shock at first, but the wonderful hospitality of the sisters eased the transition! I was delighted by the fresh fruit such as mangoes straight from the tree, and the wonderful sunrises, sunsets and starry skies.

The offices were the rhythm of each day for me, interspersed with attending the Youth Convention at Selwyn College. I’m currently a student at Selwyn College, Cambridge so it was a great experience to attend bible studies and worship at our sister institution!

DoCM ACoM Provincial Youth ConventionI sometimes struggled with the theology taught in the bible study classes, mainly because it was a lot more conservative than I am used to. This was a consistent paradigm shift for me over the course of my trip: namely, what does it mean to be ‘in communion’ with other Anglican churches, and how can the worldwide church live together with our differences in integrity? I believe I have a much better idea of what binds us together as an Anglican communion due to my time in Solomon Islands.

I spent week two in Tabalia with the Melanesian Brotherhood. This week was quieter than the week at Verana’aso, but the worship was louder! I loved to wake up for morning prayer and then to be truly woken up by the singing there.

I enjoyed chatting to the novices and walking along the beach with them. I visited Kohimarama and chatted to students, I edited Brother Christom’s thesis from which I learned a lot about the challenges facing those brothers who transition from life in the order to life in the laity.

Week Three was spent at TNK with the Sisters of the Church. Meeting Sr Veronica was wonderful and talking to her about the joys and challenges of being a woman who is ordained to the priesthood in Solomon Islands was very illuminating.

Week Four on Ysabel was a real highlight of my trip, from the beautiful location of the rest-house where I stayed in Jejevo, to the amazing hospitality I received from local people, inside and outside the church.

I went to an ordination in a town called Nareabu, followed by a feast. This amazing community event was a tremendously spiritual experience for me, reminding me of our call as Christians to serve and be served by one another.

Finally, I spent a week in Honiara, visiting the local schools, the cathedral, attending a celebration for Makira day, and saying goodbye to the friends from the religious communities that I had made during my stay. I also managed on a free day to go scuba diving which was incredible!

My time in Solomon Islands was life changing. I loved to see how others live their lives in such a different way to the one I am living, and yet we are joined together in the Anglican Communion, and the Christian Church. The friends I made will remain in my heart forever, and the experience will inform my ministry. I have learned the benefits of living slowly, welcoming openly and worshipping loudly!

Thank you MMUK for this opportunity, and for all your help and support throughout this once in a lifetime experience.

Lizzie Campbell

Newly admitted to the Community of the Sisters of Melanesia

Community of the Sisters of Melanesia Report – July 2019

Dear associates, friends and supporters of the Community of the Sisters of Melanesia

Greetings from the Sisters, Novices, Chaplain, staff and children living with the sisters. Through January to the end of the month of June we have a few updates to inform you of regarding the mission, ministry, life and service here.

The below briefly reports on the life and ministry, statistics, events and training undertaken.

The Community is glad to have the newly Elected Archbishop as Spiritual Father. We look forward to his enthronement and working together with him.

This year the intake of seventeen novices increased the population of the community, to 50 Sisters and 48 Novices. We have 7 novices admitted as professed sisters (shown above) and 17 aspirants admitted as first year novices during the feast of Pentecost, which was held on June 9th 2019.

Statistics

The table below shows the number of sisters and novices serving in the households within each country;

CSM Statistics Table July 2019
The statistics record five households in which the training headquarters is included and one which is located in Papua New Guinea that is yet to be officially opened.

Mission

The Community of the Sisters of Melanesia continues to post sisters to the households where an outreach mission programme is held. This year sisters were also sent to North West Guadalcanal at West Vaturaga during the Lent & Holy Week to Easter Celebration to conduct teaching and also during weekends in visiting people through the surrounding communities.

Apart from those postings and missions in Solomon Islands, we have three sisters serving in the dioceses of Banks and Torres (DOBT). Unfortunately, we are left with two sisters as one is already released. That does not mean the end, the two sisters worked their best to fulfil ministerial demands in that particular diocese. Part of the co-objective under article 2 clause 3 of the community constitution is to assist youths, and I believe the diocesan mission offices are expecting more mission outreach in the field.

Training

Training is the foundation in building up capacity to empower the work of the sisterhood, and it’s of great need in order to fulfil its goal in the mission and ministry. As usual we continue with the community training of novices this year and include some additional home skills and other activities as part of their training based on self-reliance. However, we need training material, especially for design and printing equipment, cooking and floral guides. We have been involved raising funds for these.

Three sisters continue to do their theological studies, one in Tasia and the other two at St Nicholas extension (BPTC).

Upcoming event

The Community of the Sisters of Melanesia is looking forward to the CSM Council which takes place this year in September 2019. Nomination of new candidacy for the post of Head Sister and her Assistant to be elected next year in the General Conference should be forwarded during the council. We seek your prayer assistance.

Apart from this event, the community is now looking forward for the General Conference next year in September 2020, which will coincide with the 40th anniversary celebration since the establishment of the community. We hope some of you will attend this very important event as we make this open invitation for all.

Community Projects

Chapel Project

We acknowledge the support all of you have given – we now hold a balance of $278,697.80 SBD. Thank you UK Associates and supporters for the amount of £1,000.00 towards the Chapel. However we continue to issue further appeals to our surrounding diocese in aid of this chapel building and we hope to reach the amount of $500,000.00 SBD to start on the work.

Solar Project

The community would like to also acknowledge the support you have all made to the community in funding our solar lighting. We still need solar lighting for the class room and the Aspirants. We acknowledge £600 donated by UK Associates and supporters and $1,000.00 AUD donated by Pru from Australia. This will go towards the remaining building – the Aspirants house costing $5,511.20 SBD and the class rooms, $15,661.40 SBD.

I would like to sincerely thank you all for your continuous encouragement and financial support rendered to the community since November up until now – especially for: novices lunches; staff training; and other staff support.

We will continue to work alongside you through our mission and ministry for the kingdom of God here on earth.

God bless UK Associates, Supporters and Friends and God bless the Community of the Sisters of Melanesia.

Flory

 

Chester Companions

Companions of the Melanesian Brotherhood – Report from Chester and the North Section to Companions and Associates Meeting at St Martin-in-the-Fields – 4th May 2019

In 2018 our Diocese remembered the 30th Anniversary of our Diocesan Link with the Anglican Church of Melanesia. Head Brother Nelson Bako and his Section Elder Brother at Tabalia, Brother Michael Bosawai visited the UK to meet and inspire Companions and friends and were present at our celebration day at Foxhill, our Diocesan Retreat Centre. Our Chaplain Father Richard was also present, along with members of the Pwaisiho Family and two Sisters of the Church. All these Solomon Islanders, I include Father Richard as a Solomon Islander, brought their love and joy of living with them. Father Richard celebrated the Eucharist and Head Brother spoke to us. The Brothers brought a gift of a large cross, constructed by a Brother, for this anniversary at Foxhill. Father Richard interviewed our guests and we has some lovely Melanesian singing, a special day for all at Foxhill. Our two Brothers spent a week in Chester and were able to visit Bishop Peter and Head Brother Nelson visited the University of Chester, from where he graduated in 2011. Section Elder Brother Michael, who has studied agriculture in the Western Province was very happy when Revd Canon Ian Davenport arranged a visit to a farm and a primary school in Malpas, Cheshire. They worshipped at the Cathedral and fitted in visits to St Bridget’s Primary School, West Kirby and Woodchurch High School, with a urban farm situated on a housing estate, both schools being linked with schools in the Solomon Islands. In addition, they visited the Sisters of Jesus Way who are supporting the Sisters of Melanesia. Our Sisters have recently sent books to the Sisters and tools to the Brotherhood which have been much appreciated. The Brothers were able to come to Holy Island on our annual pilgrimage to remember Ini Korpuria, their founder. The Brothers and 20 Companions were led across the sands by our Chaplain.

Chester Companions are able to send funds to provide lunches for Novices at Tabalia every quarter. We aim to meet close to those Feast Days that the Brothers remember. Our best attended meeting has always been on the Feast Day of SS Simon and Jude because for many years this has been hosted by Bishop Willie and Mummie Kate at Gawsworth. Bishop Willie retired at the beginning of this year and they have moved a mile or two down the road to the village of Henbury. The Pwaisihos have been so generous in their friendship, advice and feasting and we wish them a happy retirement and are glad they are still nearby.

We are grateful to Bishop Peter and our Diocese who have been able to help when crises arise as in Vanuatu when the regional HQ has to evacuate their beautiful island of Ambae and relocate at Beau on the island of Malo, where they started with nothing.

The Companions were pleased to welcome Bishop James Tema of Vanuatu and New Caledonia and Bishop Rickson Maomaoru of Malaita and Bishop Peter hosted a supper party for his senior staff and Companions. The two Bishops met with former Dean Stephen Smalley who opened Chester Rest House in1994 and has corresponded with Bishop Rickson since then.

Plans are in hand to have a Martyrs Chapel in Chester Cathedral; this is for modern martyrs and Companions and Brothers are working with the Cathedral.

Three Companions have passed away in the last 12 months, namely Revd Margaret Jones, Jane Bartlett and Sally Spencer, our Chester Companions Secretary. Sally died suddenly and was well known by Brothers who came to UK and all our Companions. A very keen MU member, sang in her church choir, helped at Messy Church, gave lifts, and hosted Bishops and Brothers. She was never late and never too busy to lend a hand, helping to pack and transport boxes for shipments, a perfect friend, sharing joys and sorrows. She is much missed. In addition, we have mourned the sudden passing of Sister Marie, one of the founder members of the Sisters of Jesus Way. She was very happy to give me books to send to the CSM sisters only last December.

We give thanks to our Chaplain Revd Richard Carter for his example and his encouragement.

We thank God for our Melanesian Brothers and Sisters, from whom we can learn so much.

For these and all his mercies may God’s holy name be praised.

Barbara Molyneux

Companions and Associates Meeting

Companions and Associates Meeting at St Martin-in-the-Fields – 4th May 2019

Fifteen Companions and Associates gathered together in the Austen Williams Room of St Martin in the Fields, London with representation from North, South and East Sections of the UK. Revd Richard Carter gave us all a warm welcome and we made our way to the Dick Sheppard Chapel in Sr Martin in the Fields. Revd Catherine Duce presided at a very moving service of Holy Communion to remember the seven Brothers who were martyred 2003. Photographs of the Brothers were placed on the altar and Revd Richard gave very moving tributes to each Brother as Companions lit candles for each Brother.

After the Service we returned to the Austen Williams Room, where we enjoyed a delightful lunch cooked and by our Chaplain. In the absence through illness of the Venerable John Rawlings, Katie Drew read his report of the activities of the South Section and Barbara Molyneux read her report from the North Section. These reports are being circulated to all Companions.

News shared at the meeting and latest news:
We are asked to pray for candidates for the election of MBH leaders on 19th October at Tabalia HQ Solomon Islands: PNG Region – Br Martin Ogoba, Br David Igara, Br Rodney Gearua. South Region Vanuatu – Br Ennis David, Br Felix Raymond, Br Franklin Sale, Br Abraham Huri. Solomon Islands Region – Br George Bugoro, Br Augustin Paikeni, Br Jairus Houniseu, Br Alistair Knights. These candidates were nominated at Regional Conferences. A final list will be revealed at the Brotherhood Council in July. In addition, we are asked to pray for the Bishops and senior priests in the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu as they prepare to select a new Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia.

Four Brothers, two from PNG and two from the Solomon Islands are setting up a new Household in Shepparton, Victoria, Australia, one of these Brothers being former Head Brother Matthias Tovotasi who was a member of the Simply Living Mission to England.

Head Brother Nelson Bako and MBH Secretary Alphonse Garimae were recently invited by the Rt Revd Keith Joseph, Bishop of North Queensland to accompany him on his first visit to small islands in his diocese. This has been an interesting experience as they met many of their countryman and people from PNG who have settled there.

Head Brother Nelson Bako is at present in Nairobi taking part in an intercontinental conference organised by the Anglican Communion in London, on the theme ‘Prayer and Renewal of Religious Life’. This is the third of three conferences based on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s three priorities, the first being on ‘Reconciliation’, held in Jerusalem and the second on ‘Evangelism and Witness’, held in Dallas. Head Brother Nelson wrote a paper on prayer and religious life in the Melanesian Brotherhood and is presenting it along with a power point presentation. Theologians from around the world are also giving presentations. This is all going to be put together for a book in readiness for the Lambeth Conference next year and I understand that Archbishop Justin is attending this conference. Head Brother Nelson studied at the University of Chester graduating in 2011.

Meantime, Alphonse Garimae is in Palawan in the Philippines visiting the Brotherhood Household which in a poor area and is giving much needed support and encouragement to Brother Jack and our Brothers and Novices.

Regional Head Brother Chilion Mongagi Of Vanuatu has sent reports of the major task of setting up a new HQ at Beau on the island of Malo after having to evacuate the island of Ambae.
Several Companions are visiting the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu this year and we wish them well.

Dates for our Diaries:
Saturday 15th June 11.00am Exeter Cathedral – Service for Ini’s Day. All Companions and Seekers and Associates are invited to join our Exeter Companions, who are offering accommodation on the Friday evening for those travelling a long distance. Saturday 21st September MMUK AGM and Festival St Mary Redcliffe Bristol.

Barbara Molyneux Secretary UK Companions of the Melanesian Brotherhood May 2019.

CSM Novice Class

UK Associates of The Community of the Sisters of Melanesia – An Update

CSM Novice ClassIn November 2018, UK Associates met in London to discuss ongoing support of the Community of the Sisters of Melanesia. We had a very productive meeting and presentations from Revd Cathy Scoffield, and Martin Haigh, both of whom had been welcomed at Verana’aso over the summer.

CSM have provided a detailed annual report which has been circulated to all UK Associates. CSM numbers have increased, and at autumn 2018 there were 45 Sisters and 39 Novices, with an expected intake of 20 Aspirants in 2019. There are currently five households in Solomon Islands, plus a mobile household in PNG, and a small community house in Vanuatu. Most of the community live at the training headquarters in Verana’aso on Guadalcanal, where four part-time staff assist with teaching and administration.

The community have reported that they are experiencing water shortages due to deforestation. The existing water tanks which were installed in 2015 are working well, but there is now a need for additional tanks because of the increased number of novices.

The installation of solar lighting continues at Verana’aso. The Refectory and the Mother House now have solar lighting and work continues on the accommodation for the Aspirants. The Community are grateful to UK and Australian supporters, and the International Committee of St Martin-in-the Fields, who have made financial contributions towards this project, providing the community with much needed lighting.

The chapel, which was constructed around 60 years ago, had become increasingly dangerous during bad weather. The community arranged for the chapel to be deconsecrated by the former Archbishop David Vunagi in September 2018. Designs have been drawn up for a new chapel, and the community and local Associates are fundraising towards this construction project. UK Associates have agreed to send £1,000 to CSM towards the construction of the chapel. Additional money is to be raised. UK Associates continue to support the Community by providing donations for lunches for the Aspirants, Novices and Sisters who live at Verana’aso.

During summer 2018 the Community welcomed visitors from the UK including Revd Cate Edmonds, Revd Cathy Scoffield, and Martin Haigh. CSM are always glad to welcome visitors to Verana’aso.

First and second-year Novices and Sisters went on mission to Gela at Christmas. Whilst seven third-year Novices undertook their practical on Malaita in January. They visited the outer islands and villages in remote areas within the Anglican Communion. During the Mission they taught about the stewardship of money and time, social changes, evangelism, and dramatised Bible stories.

News story from Sarah Crompton, leader of the UK Associates