Tag: Community of the Sisters of Melanesia

CSM Old Chapel

Community of the Sisters of Melanesia – May 2021 Update

CSM Old Chapel

In May UK Associates of CSM had an online meeting with representatives from the Community of the Sisters of Melanesia. Associates from across the UK joined the online meeting, together with Sr Lovelyn, Sr Annie (Head Sister) Sr Everill (CSM Secretary) Sr Mildred (Elder Sister, Pogo Household) Sr Hallys (Assistant Head Sister) and Sr Susan (student at Bishop Patteson School of Theology). We were grateful to ACoM for providing a meeting room and internet connection and making this online meeting possible. 

The sisters were also joined by Flory (CSM Administrator) and Companion Harrison Tahimana, who is the Architect and Project Manager of the CSM Chapel Project. It was a joy to share in morning prayer and to hear the latest  news from Verana’aso.

During the meeting Jocelyn Squires was admitted as a new UK Associate by Fr Brian Macdonald-Milne. Jocelyn is a long-time supporter of the religious communities in Solomon Islands following her visit in 1999. 

Companion Harrison gave a presentation on the CSM chapel project and showed photographs of the work to date. The former chapel has been dismantled and work will begin on the new building in the next couple of weeks. It was good to look at the designs of the new chapel and to hear that some of those involved in the construction of St Mark’s Chapel at Tabalia are also involved in this project. UK Associates were also joined online by Pru Haldane in Brisbane. Pru is a longstanding supporter and fundraiser for CSM and has recently sent 5000 Australia dollars raised through local fundraising to the community. 

The Sisters updated us on their fundraising for the chapel to date. £70,000 has been raised so far, but more is needed to see this project through to completion. The Sisters reported that they will be asking Associates in Solomon Islands to raise £10,000 before the end of the year. UK Associates would like to match this amount and encourage UK supporters of the Sisters to donate to the Chapel appeal so that the Sisters and Novices can have a safe and modern chapel where they can meet to worship together once more.

HOW TO DONATE

There are a number of ways you can give to the UK Associates’ CSM Chapel Appeal.

Online: Visit mmuk.net/donate and give online using our Facebook or Virgin moneygiving fundraisers.

Bank Transfer: Go to mmuk.net/donate, phone 01404 851656 or email mission@mmuk.net for bank details.

By Cheque: Payable to The Melanesian Mission. Post cheques to: The Melanesian Mission, 21 The Burlands, Feniton, Honiton, EX14 3UN. Please use the reference ‘CSM Chapel’. To Gift Aid your donation please email mission@mmuk.net for a Gift Aid form.

Community of the Sisters of Melanesia

Community of the Sisters of Melanesia

Community of the Sisters of the Church – February 2021 Update

In early February UK Associates and supporters held their first joint online service with the Community of the Sisters of Melanesia.

A report from the CSM Administrator, Flory;

Welcome Associates.

First and foremost, thank God for bringing us together as Associates and supporters in mission and team work, serving our God through the work of the Church and the work of the Sisters of Melanesia.

I would like to thank The ACoM General Secretary – Dr. Abraham Hauriasi, the IT person in Charge, Mr. Julian and the Communication Officer Mr. Aldrin for providing access to the Conference Room to make this call. For without them, this event would not be possible.

Associates, we are honored to have the pleasure to join you to talk about the Chapel Development and other news from CSM.

The Chapel Development

The Chapel has been planned since 2018 through a committee of five Sisters, four Lay people and the CSM Chaplain, who meet monthly.

For the first two years, the committee focused on fundraising drives, through envelope giving, ACoM Grants, and oversee donations from the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Fund, MMUK, UK Associates, Anglican Aid Australia and other individuals, totaling SD$773,543.02 – around £70,000.00.

With regards to the major construction, we are still waiting upon the detail list of material break downs for the Chapel. The architects have informed the Chapel Committee, that the Chapel will need a steel frame. That will cost more money, but due to the site location on the hill, it needs to be well constructed. We estimate another SD$200,000 to complete the project (£18,000).

So far, we have completed the demolition stage and by March, when we hope the rains will lesson, the major construction work on the building will begin. We assume that almost 50% – 60% of the chapel will be completed this year.

Thank you once again for all your support for this project.

We estimate another SD$200,000 to complete the project (£18,000)

COMMUNITY OF THE SISTERS OF MELANESIA

New Chapel Appeal for The Community of the Sisters of Melanesia

Other News

3rd Year Novices in two groups undertook their field work practical in the Diocese of Ysabel, in Russell Islands and in Bugotu Districts in Ysabel.

Kia Associates in Ysabel Diocese are currently planning a new CSM Household in Kia. The proposed Household has been discussed and endorsed during the past CSM General Conferences. I am pleased to be part of this Household Development Committee.   

Due to demand for the mission of the CSM, The Head Sister has been requested by the Bishop of the Southern Region in Malaita to be part of his annual Episcopal tour to visit another proposed site for another Household. Continue to pray for this event.

Training

One of the main and important needs of the Community is for additional training The CSM is thankful for the invitation initiated by the Melanesian brotherhood to train three CSM reps to further their knowledge and skills on tutoring and Literacy Skills for the training of Novices. The Novices in training will start their first term classes on 9th February, with a retreat to be held on Monday 8th February.   The aim of the Literacy training Program is to help the Novices to be able to read, write, and further their knowledge with other Biblical & theological courses in equipping them for their future Mission of the Church.

The Associate Handbook, The Sisterhood Office book and the Constitution of the CSM is currently under review. Please continue to pray for the review committees.      

Once again Associates and supporters, thank you for your time and patience. May God continue to bless us in our works and mission in supporting the work of the CSM and the Church, in building up the Kingdom of God here on earth.

Tagio Tumas

Flory, Community of the Sisters of Melanesia

Melanesian Brotherhood

The Arrival of Anglican Religious Orders in Melanesia

This year SSF and CSC were due to hold services to celebrate 50 years working in Melanesia. Postponed due to COVID-19, it is hoped to have these events in 2021. In the meantime, MMUK’s Archivist Canon Brian Macdonald-Milne, looks at the history of the religious orders in the region.

The earliest Religious Order to arrive in the Solomon Islands was the Order of Friars Minor or Franciscan Brothers who came with the first Spanish exploratory expeditions in the 16th century. They however did not stay. Other Roman Catholic Orders came in the mid-19th century. The Pope had asked the newly founded Society or Mary or Marist Fathers, with its Headquarters in France, to undertake work in the central, southern and western Pacific islands, including New Zealand. They tried to establish themselves in the Solomon Islands, but their bishop was killed on Santa Isabel and others had a difficult time on the island of Makira (San Cristoval), so they withdraw for a while. However, they returned in the late 19th century and have been working there ever since. The Dominican Order later arrived to work in the Western Solomons. The Missionary Sisters of the Society of Mary (SMSM) arrived as well.

The first Anglican religious community was established by Mother Margaret and Sister Gwen in 1930, and they called it the Community of the Cross. They had previously worked with Indian Orthodox Sisters in India and had been invited by the Bishop of Melanesia to come and establish a Community, which Melanesian girls could join. They established their base at Siota on Gela, and then moved to Bungana island in the Gela group. After disagreements with two subsequent Bishops, Mother Margaret joined the Roman Catholic Church with most of the Sisters, and some of the Solomon Islander and New Hebridean Sisters joined the RC Daughters of Mary Immaculate, a Community of ‘native’ Sisters founded by the SMSM.

When Bishop John Chisholm became Bishop of Melanesia in 1967, he was determined to ask two Communities to come to the Anglican Church of Melanesia, the Friars and Sisters of First Order of the Society of St Francis. He had seen the work of the Friars in Papua New Guinea and wanted them to work in urban areas in his new diocese as well. The Franciscan Sisters said that they did not have enough Sisters to answer his call, so instead he turned to the Community of the Sisters of the Church, which had been established in London in the 19th century to do social work, but had later extended its work to Australia, where the Bishop came from. They were now looking for new work, having decided to give up their educational work among girls in Australia.

The Melanesian Brotherhood had been established by Brother Ini Kopuria of Guadalcanal island in 1925, and there was some speculation about how the white Brothers and Sisters of the two other Orders would be received when they arrived in 1970. However, these Orders now have many professed members and novices in their Solomon Island Provinces, all indigenous. Later, Nester Tiboe of Guadalcanal, a woman catechist, became convinced that there should be a Community of Sisters along the same lines as the Melanesian Brotherhood, whose members do not usually take life vows, which the members of those other two Communities do. There are therefore now four communities working in the Solomon Islands, and the Melanesian Brotherhood and the Sisters of Melanesia also have houses in Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. The four Communities work together in many ways, and also co-operate when appropriate with the Roman Catholic Orders.  Some members of the Brotherhood also work in the Philippines and Australia.

Religious Life Sunday in The Solomon Islands
Religious Life – Sunday in The Solomon Islands
Melanesian Religious Orders
Melanesian Religious Orders

The Anglican Church of Melanesia has more members of Religious Orders compared with the overall membership of the Church than any other part of the Anglican Communion, and they do key work in evangelism, social and pastoral work, and community education. They need and desire our prayers and support.

Canon Brian Macdonald-Milne
Melanesian Mission Archivist

If you want to find out more about the four orders and their work, watch our films on the religious orders here – www.mmuk.net/films. If you would like to support the Brothers and Sisters, do consider becoming an Associate or Companion. Groups across the UK meet to pray for the communities, consider how best to support them in prayer and giving, and gather for services and pilgrimages.

UK Companions on their Yearly Pilgrimage to Holy Island
UK Companions on their yearly pilgrimage to Holy Island
CSM General Conference

Community of the Sisters of Melanesia – September 2020 Update

Dear Associates, Friends and supporters of the Community of the Sisters of Melanesia

Greetings from the Sisters, Novices, Chaplain, staff and families. We have a few updates to inform you of with regards to the mission and ministry, life and service here for year 2020.

Mission

The Community of the Sisters of Melanesia continues with its mission through sisters posted in the respective households with our outreach mission programme. Missions have been undertaken to visit elderly ones, fellowship prayer with youths, Sunday School teaching programmes and other mission outreach with Associates and other organizations.  

Training

This year we have 62 novices in training and 5 staff teaching. We have continued to increase our novice numbers. Alongside biblical courses, Novices undergo training in home skills such as, cooking and floral arts. We acknowledge the support of two supporters Pru and Vivian for funding the course undertaken by Flory to obtain sufficient knowledge to support our Novices in Training.

This year as stated in my 2019 end of year report, three sisters continue to do their Theological studies, one in Tasia Manwadrakol College in Ysabel and the other two at St Nicolas Distance flexible learning (BPTC Extension).

Events

The CSM General Conference was held on Monday 14th September and the Associates Conference on Wednesday 16th September. The General Conference programs ended on 18th September 2020. On the 17th September 2020, the official members of the CSM have elected Sr. Annie Alaha as Head Sister and Sr. Alice Wale as Assistant Head Sister. Keep praying for them in their leadership for this Community.

Assistant Head Sister, Alice Wale & Head Sister, Sister Annie Alaha
Assistant Head Sister, Alice Wale & Head Sister, Sister Annie Alaha

The Community of the Sisters of Melanesia is looking forward to celebrating the Feast of St. Stephen Taroniara and The Martyrs of Melanesia on the 27th September 2020. Pray for our 9 Senior Novices who will be admitted as simple profess Sisters.

Chapel Project

The Chapel Project now holds a balance of $499,547.12 SBD. The carpenters work on bricks will continue. Producing more than 1000 bricks before the major work of the chapel begins, and before the demolition of the existing chapel takes place.

Bricks For The New Chapel
Bricks For The New Chapel

I would like to sincerely thank you all for your continuous encouragement and financial support rendered to the Community since December.

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.

Thank you

Flory, Community of the Sisters of Melanesia

New Melanesian Sisters

New Chapel Appeal for The Community of the Sisters of Melanesia

PLEASE HELP THEM RAISE MONEY FOR A MUCH NEEDED NEW CHAPEL

New Melanesian Sisters

The Community of the Sisters of Melanesia (CSM) is an order of women in the Anglican Communion. They train young women for ministry and mission and provide teaching, pastoral and social care plus prison ministry. They also give essential support to survivors of domestic abuse at the Christian Care Centre. The current chapel at Verana’aso, was rebuilt after extensive damage during WWII. Years of cyclones and tropical rains have damaged its corrugated iron and palm leaf structure leaving it no longer safe for worship. This forces the Sisters and Novices to meet for prayer in their community dining room and dormitories. You can find out more about the community by watching our short film:

WHAT IS NEEDED?

The community is raising money to build a new, modern chapel able to withstand high winds and bad weather. Architectural plans have been commissioned but the £84,000 building work is too expensive for the community alone. The Sisters have already raised £46,000 through local and international donations but they need our help if they are to realise their goals.

New Chapel Design

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

Please support the UK Associates of CSM in our appeal to raise £15,000 towards this construction project. Your donation will go towards the construction of a safe and modern chapel, which will serve the next generation of Sisters and ensure that Anglican religious community life in Melanesia will continue to thrive.

Please also download the UK Associates of CSM ‘New Chapel Appeal‘ flyer and share where you are able to do so.

HOW TO DONATE

There are a number of ways you can give to the UK Associates’ CSM Chapel Appeal.

Online: Visit mmuk.net/donate and give online using our Facebook or Virgin moneygiving fundraisers.

Bank Transfer: Go to mmuk.net/donate, phone 01404 851656 or email mission@mmuk.net for bank details.

By Cheque: Payable to The Melanesian Mission. Post cheques to: The Melanesian Mission, 21 The Burlands, Feniton, Honiton, EX14 3UN. Please use the reference ‘CSM Chapel’. To Gift Aid your donation please email mission@mmuk.net for a Gift Aid form.

THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING THE COMMUNITY OF THE SISTERS OF MELANESIA

Litany of Environmental Lament Header

Litany of Environmental Lament and Repentance From Melanesia

Minister General for the Society of St Francis Br Christopher John, was recently asked by the Anglican Communion Environmental Network to ask Franciscans in Melanesia to write a litany of environmental repentance. Br Chris expanded the brief and held a short workshop for all four of the Orders in Melanesia to write the piece for Ash Wednesday. The below is taken from the original, Litany of Environmental Lament and Repentance From Melanesia, and is free for further distribution.

God of the whole human race.
You have given us responsibility to care for each other. But we have exploited and hated each other by our wickedness.
We turn to you in sorrow and repentance.
Please help us to look to you and care for each other.

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

O God of creation.
You have created land for us to make our gardens and for trees, animals and all living creatures on the earth.
Forgive us for our destruction of the land by logging and poisonous chemicals.
We turn to you in sorrow and repentance.

Help us O Lord to care for the land that you have given us.

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

God of the universe, the ocean and of love.
You have given us the ocean for fish, shells, reefs, whales, waves, corals, and for ships and boats.

We have destroyed the ocean and everything in it, and not cared for it.
We turn to you in sorrow and repentance.
Please help us to care for the ocean, and to recognise that it is your blessing for us.

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

God of the forest, in which all living things survive and engage their life and move peacefully.
You have given us wisdom, knowledge and understanding to use our resources well in a manageable manner.

We have been careless, short-sighted, and selfish and failed to share with other people throughout the world.

We turn to you in sorrow and repentance.
Please help us to think positively of your goodness and loving kindness. Please help us  to see the needs of others as you have Litany of Environmental Lament and Repentance From Melanesia seen us living in your beautiful forest.

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

God of the universe, the God who created the atmosphere. By your power of creation you made the sky so beautiful, the sun to give us light during the day and the moon and the stars to give light during the night. You have given us clouds to bring rain and give life to your creatures.

Lord, we turn to you with a penitent heart for all the destructions we have caused to the atmosphere.

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

Merciful God, God of love and everything in this world. You have created the rain, winds, storms, cyclones, earthquakes, volcanoes and floods to renew your creation. Help us to understand their existence in your world.

We turn to you in sorrow and repentance. Please, Father, forgive us for the human activities which have overpowered the weather and caused destruction of our environment.

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

God you are our creator, the source of all wisdom and power. You have created humans and animals and you have appointed us humans to be responsible for them.

Forgive us who destroy your creatures. We turn to you in sorrow and repentance. Help us Lord to love and to care for them as you care for us.

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

Written by members of the four Religious Orders in the Anglican Church of Melanesia.
Melanesian Brotherhood, Society of St Francis, Community of the Sisters of the Church, Community of the Sisters of Melanesia.

The Anglican Church of Melanesia includes 9 dioceses in the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia. It is one of the areas of the world most vulnerable to climate change  due to sea level rise

To find out more about the impacts of climate change
https://abcnews.go.com/International/solomon-islands-disappear-pacific-ocean-result-climate-change/story?id=38985469

Anglican Communion Environmental Network Logo

Litany of Environmental Lament Footer

Welcome at Chester Rest House

A chance to see : The Solomon Islands

A chance to see : The Solomon Islands
A chance to meet : Melanesians
A chance to learn : The life and faith, challenges and hopes of the people of these islands

Two weeks in Guadalcanal and Nggela Islands.

Visiting : Four Religious Communities in their households (Melanesian Brothers and Sisters; Franciscan Brothers, Sisters of the Church), villages, schools and local sites.

Tuesday September 15th to Thursday October 1st 2020.

For many this may be a ‘once in a lifetime’ visit to the far side of the world, so we are suggesting everyone makes their own way to and from Honiara (via Brisbane, Port Moresby or Nadi) – you may wish to visit India, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, China , Philippines, USA, New Zealand en route. The choice is yours! (We will certainly help search for flights if you wish!).

Accommodation : Chester Rest House in Honiara, Religious Communities’ and Mothers’ Union Guest Houses.

Travel : Public Transport in Honiara district is by mini-bus and ship.

  • The Religious Communities have their own ‘trucks’ which may not be very comfortable, but very memorable.
  • The Church of Melanesia owns the ‘Southern Cross’ ship, which it may be possible for us to use, depending on its September schedules.
  • 15-seater Mini-bus if and when needed.

Cost : Depending on your route, you should be able to get to Brisbane and back for around £750. The Air Fare from Brisbane to Honiara is about £400 return.

Travel costs around the Solomons are impossible to calculate. A Self-drive 15-seater would cost about £150 per day + fuel.

Tony and Alison Sparham spent two years in Melanesia in 1998/99 working at Kohimarama Theological College. They have agreed to lead this proposed group.

At present, we would like to know who is interested – we can arrange a meeting(s) to go over more details in the New Year.

Be warned!! Anyone who has visited the Solomons Islands has become very committed to developing relationships with them. The people and the places grow on you – life will never be the same again!

Please contact MMUK to receive more information. Numbers will be limited.

Tony Sparham

Community of the Sisters of Melanesia New Chapel Plans

Community of the Sisters of Melanesia – December 2019 Update

Community of the Sisters of Melanesia New Chapel Plans
Community of the Sisters of Melanesia New Chapel Plans

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. In this regard, we have some updates to inform you with regards to the mission and ministry, life and service of the Community of the Sisters of Melanesia. As stated in my June Report, the community current population is up to 48 Novices and 50 sisters. However one sister have released during the feast of St. Stephen Taroniara and the Martyrs of Melanesia so now we have 49 sisters. From June up until now there are girls coming to observe and now they have submitted their applications to join as aspirants next year. The Community is expecting more girls to arrive in the couple of months time.

Chapel Project
We acknowledge the support all of you have given which contributed to the amount of $295,298.50 in balance. Thank you UK Associates and supporters and supporters in Australia.

UK Associates are keen to help the community progress their plans for a new chapel, which they have needed for quite a while. Here is a film which was shot in 2016 showing the condition of the chapel at that time.

Solar Project
The Community would like to also acknowledge the support you all made to the Community in funding the solar lighting. We still to have solar lighting for the Class room and the Aspirants. Thank you UK associates and supporters.

Training
The Community have three classes with five staff and two sisters as additional staff. These two sisters have completed their certificate studies at the Bishop Patterson Theological Education in Distance mode and are waiting for their graduation this month.

Mission
As usual, each of the Households have their own programs which they held teachings on various topics on issues and other biblical stories with Christian people. Sisters do more visits with the olds, widows, youth groups and families. Apart from this we have three (3) sisters posted to the Christian care centre to assist women and children brought with many problems.

The Community also received one of our sisters who is in PNG. Sister Marian Shanko forwarded her Report which she presented it to the Provincial Council meeting of the Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea. She reports on two parts Firstly; Daily Christians Ministry in the Parish she served-Madang and secondly “The Walkerton Ministry within 5 Parishes in Simbai Dean with its Outstations and Tsendiap Parish in Jimi Dean. We shared her challenges faced by herself which we cannot possibly send other sisters to assist her due to financial implications the Community is facing. However it is our prayer that God will work in His ways to send more sisters to reach out to establish this Household abroad. She highlights “Full maintenance of the sisters’ convent, admitting new novices and ministries to reach in both rural and remote places” as purpose of the fundraising drive she did in 5th July to 10th August 2019.

Events
The Community of the sisters of Melanesia have nominated the following candidates in reparation of the coming Election of new Leaders during the General Conference next year in September 2020.We hope to see some of you to attend this very important event. In your own time please remember the Election of the Community which will takes place next year.

This month the Sisters and Novices are preparing for the Christmas Mission in the Tasimboko Parishes in East Guadalcanal – Diocese of Guadalcanal. They will present teachings and dramatize the birth of our Lord. In your prayers remember them.

Visitors
This year we recorded few visits of our Associate Rev. Cate Edmonds, Ms Elizabeth and other guest attending the MBH great conference in Tabalia. The Community indeed so honoured to receive these well hearted friends and our supporters coming. It shows us the heart and respect you have towards this Community. We look forward for more visits in the future or maybe some of our Community members make some visit to associates and supporters abroad one day according to the time and will of God.

Community of the Sisters of Melanesia

Daphne Jordan, His Excellency Sir David Vunagi, Lady Mary Vunagi and Cate Edmonds

General Report of Melanesian Trip September 2019

After a long journey it was great to be greeted by Father Rayner in Port Villa. After settling into our hotel, we were visited by Karen Bell the new High Commissioner for Vanuatu. Karen explained her new role as there hasn’t been a HC in Vanuatu for fourteen years. It was interesting to note that with Brexit looming the British Government were setting up fourteen new High Commissions in the South Pacific, the West Indies and in Africa. Karen explained that she had three main roles; Working with the Government on issues of democracy, World relations and especially trade with Britain, and Climate Change. We introduced her to the work of MMUK and the schools and links programme as well as promoting the Article One project. Karen has a limited budget for projects but would be interested in a proposal from Article One. She was also interested in being introduced to Bishop James and I have forwarded his contact details. She saw that the three important and leading groups in the Vanuatu life were the Government, the Chiefs and the Church.

Cate Edmonds, Rt Rev James Tama Bishop of Vanuatu and New Caledonia and Daphne Jordon
Cate Edmonds, Rt Rev James Tama Bishop of Vanuatu and New Caledonia and Daphne Jordan

The next day we departed early for Espiritu Santo where we were met by old friends Joses, Diocesan Secretary, though recently retitled Operations Manager and Augustine, Director of Education. We later met with Bishop James and his staff at the Diocesan offices. We were able to explain a little about ourselves, they were shocked that as a Rural Dean I had responsibility for oversight of 32 parishes, and our project. The next few days were spent visiting school and a report has already been made.

We were invited to a special service at the Cathedral on the Sunday for a Mother’s Union Service where 10 new members were admitted by Bishop James. It was a wonderful, joyous service and an honour to be present.

Before leaving Santo, we visited a Rural Training Centre which had been relocated from Ambae, they were struggling in the limited facilities. They we pleased to receive visitors but looked forward to returning to Ambae.

Finally, we met with members of the Mothers’ Union who explained their work. We were particularly interested in their work around gender-based violence. Much good work is being carried out by the MU.
Leaving Vanuatu, we departed for the next leg of the project to Honiara to start the school visits etc. a separate report is available.

We were honoured to be part of the Enthronement of Archbishop Leonard and took the greetings from Bishop Robert and the Diocese of Exeter as well as greetings from ASM associates and people of Feniton. Following the 4-hour service and speeches we were invited to lunch, presentations and entertainment.

Cate Edmonds at Archbishop Leonard Dawea’s Enthronement
The highlight of the afternoon was the Cathedral Sunday School’s presentation of a worship song by dance and drama. They were inspirational and certainly raised the roof.

Cathedral Sunday School worship song by dance

The next day Rev Cate travelled out to Verana’aso to visit the Sisters, see separate report and Daphne spent time in the Education Office. The Sisters are struggling to raise funds for a new chapel as theirs is unsafe. Sadly, it feels that the Sisters are the “poor relation” and receive little support and guidance.

During our stay in Honiara we also visited the Mother’s Union Headquarters and received updates on their work. They were preparing for a grand celebration of 100 years of Mother’s Union later that month.

We also visited the Christian Care Centre, at present there are 40 residents including children and many of these residents were teenage girls who had escaped their abusive homes. The Sisters of the Church and the Melanesian Sisters work together at the CCC to provide a safe and homely environment. We were very impressed by the facilities in a beautiful setting. On arrival we met Sister Veronica who was visiting as well. Most residents are only there for a couple of weeks before they return home if it is felt safe. Sadly, many return again later.

During our stay we made a courtesy visit to David Ward the British High Commissioner to explain our project. It was interesting to meet up with him before he departs for Samoa and to hear more about the political situation in the Islands.

After negotiation we were invited to tea at Government House to meet Sir David and Lady Mary Vunagi, the recently appointed Governor General of the Solomon Islands. It was lovely to meet up with old friends, who certainly were having to get used to a very different way of life.

Eventually it was time to return home. It had been an exhausting but interesting and enjoyable 3 weeks. We hoped that we have made some significant contributions in education and relationship building. We thank MMUK for all their support and look forward to further engagement.

Rev Canon Cate Edmonds 

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