Tag: Melanesian Mission

Solomon Island Flag

Solomon Islands’ Independence Day

The 41st Solomon Islands’ Independence Day was remembered on Sunday July 7th, not only in Solomon Islands, but across the UK. At Ottery St Mary Parish Church, in Exeter Diocese, the Ven John Rawlings, Leader of the Companions of the Melanesian Brotherhood in the South West, preached this sermon;

Trinity 3 – Ottery St Mary

I wonder how many people in the town or in Feniton or Alfington would know why there are street names and even a junction on the A30 which bears the name Patteson? Yet for a long time men and women from Melanesia have been making pilgrimage to these places and Exeter Cathedral to honour the memory and see places associated with Bishop John Coleridge Patteson, the first Bishop of Melanesia.

You, I am sure, are familiar with his story; being born in London in 1827 ; schooling at Kings in Ottery St Mary, Eton and studying at Baliol College Oxford; then ordination in Exeter and the cure of souls at Alfington. He had been influenced by Bishop George Augustus Selwyn in his school days and Selwyn wanted him to go to the Melanesian Islands and extend the Church Selwyn oversaw in New Zealand. Patteson’s ministry was exceptional and as a result the Church of Melanesia was founded and flourished. He learned many of the languages of the islands he visited and wanted the new Christians to express their faith in worship which used their indigenous music and dance and not be a transplant of the Gothic church buildings and Hymns Ancient and Modern. He also set up educational institutions. As many of you will know, he was martyred on the Island of Nukapu, either being mistaken for a slave trader or in revenge for the white men who had taken slaves from the islands to work in plantations in the Colonies. His martyrdom is depicted on the nave pulpit in Exeter Cathedral and when I have taken Melanesians there to see it they have always been profoundly moved.

The Melanesian Mission was set up in 1849 and still facilitates a very special link with Melanesia and is growing in its organization of visitors to and from Melanesia. The current Executive Officer of the Mission, Katie Drew, lives and worships in this Mission Community and the chairman is Bishop Mark Rylands who is now the parish priest at Ashburton.

The Diocese of Chester has had a special link with the Church there for a long time and when Bishop Michael came to be our diocesan bishop, having been a Suffragan Bishop in that diocese, he encouraged a similar link to be formed here. He had been out to Melanesia and was also a Companion of the Melanesian Brotherhood. The Brotherhood was founded in 1925 by Ini Kopuria, a former policeman in the Solomon Islands. It is still the largest Religious Order in the Anglican Communion and takes young men as novices who after their time of training become Brothers making vows for five years which are renewable. Unlike many orders the vows are not for life and Brothers can and often do return to their homes after five years and marry or assist their families.

Bishop Michael had been asked by the then Archbishop of Melanesia if he could find a placement for one of the Melanesian Brothers to have some time in an English parish to broaden his experience after being ordained and studying for a degree. Bishop Michael asked if I would take Brother George as I was in between curates in Tavistock at the time. Brothers always live and work in pairs or more when out on mission and so another brother would join Brother George and we would set up a House of the Melanesian Brotherhood in Tavistock. The brother who joined George was Leonard who has also been back to UK to study for a degree then be ordained. In 2017 he returned having been elected Bishop of Temotu diocese in the Solomon Islands and only a few weeks ago he was elected to be the next Archbishop of Melanesia. Sadly, Brother George died a couple of years ago but had exercised a remarkable ministry. In Tavistock both brothers were very much loved and admired for their simplicity of life, deep and prayerful spirituality and an ability to enable people to see what the Christian faith is all about. Some of you will have seen the brothers at work, as it were, when a large number of them came to the diocese in 2004 for the great mission or pilgrimage where they travelled round a number of places performing their dramas which depict elements of the Gospel together with their infectious dancing, singing and music on bamboo pipes. As a result of that and the time Brothers George and Leonard had in Tavistock, a number of people became Companions of the Melanesian Brotherhood based here and in Tavistock mostly. They support the work of the Brothers in prayer and financial aid especially when disaster strikes as it so often does.

They were joined by a number of Sisters as there are other religious orders in the Islands – The Sisters of Melanesia, The Sisters of the Church and the Franciscans. Again, some brothers and sisters came back to this diocese for what was called ‘Simply Living’ – a time of prayer, discussion and mission to encourage the Church here in its own mission. It is no longer a case of the Church in UK sending missionaries to the Islands of the South Pacific as in the 19th century but a two-way traffic of people from the islands coming here to encourage and support us. It is very special to be able to meet Sister Kristy here this morning.

All the religious orders in the Solomon Islands are engaged in work of reaching out to their communities and the islands, of which there are many. Some, especially the women’s orders are engaged in work with those who suffer domestic violence, other kinds of abuse, and have set up a women’s refuge. Education is also high on their agenda. The Mothers’ Union is very strong in the islands and has set up educational and parenting programmes. There is a huge need to combat the political instability and prevalent poverty and challenge the industry which has deforested so much of the islands and made them even more vulnerable to the effects of climate change. In past ethnic and tribal tensions and recent riots in the Solomon Islands the Brothers were the people most trusted to seek reconciliation. In 1999-2000 the Brothers worked on the Townsville Peace Agreement to enable working towards a better understanding in their Islands. But there is always at a cost and many of you will remember the seven brothers who, at a time of conflict with warring factions in the islands, were captured and martyred. Harold Keke, a rebel leader, would not comply with the agreement. Brother Nathaniel tried to reason and negotiate with him but was killed. Other Brothers went to find him and were also murdered. The martyred brothers have been remembered throughout the Anglican Communion and particularly at the last Lambeth Conference where a large icon was blessed and is in Canterbury Cathedral.

In the last few years a number of people, both ordained and lay, have gone from this diocese to the Solomon Islands and people from there have come here. There are schools which have special links with schools in the Solomon Islands which are proving beneficial in both directions. A PhD researcher is looking into the effects of climate change and the rising sea levels around the area as this is affecting so many communities who are very vulnerable.

In the Gospel Jesus sends out the 70 disciples two by two to proclaim the Kingdom, restore human dignity to the suffering and possessed; to show the face of God to the world. But they go with every vulnerability like lambs amongst wolves but need to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. That was not just the challenge to those early disciples it is a challenge to all of us now, whether in UK or Melanesia. One of the bishops from the Solomon Islands was asked what was the greatest priority for the Church in the Islands? His answer, given that at the time 95% of the population there was Christian, was mission and evangelization. He pointed out that God has no grandchildren. Every new generation needs to be confronted with the Gospel afresh.

The early disciples of Jesus were sent out in simple trust. They were not to be hampered with baggage. But they were to make a difference to the lives of those they encountered. They returned to the Lord rejoicing that their ministry and message had been effective.

Today we have been reflecting on the life of the Church in Melanesia on what is Solomon Islands’ Independence Day and we thank God for what the Church there is doing. It was recently announced that a previous Archbishop, The Most Reverend David Vunagi, has been appointed by the Queen to be the next Governor General of the Solomon Islands. The Church there and especially the religious orders are making a difference to the lives of people living in a very different kind of society from ours. But we, too, are called to make a difference in our society. As Jesus says, ‘the harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few’. We need to ask ourselves this week, will my life, my witness to Christ through what I do and what I am, make a difference to the life of someone else?

Ven John Rawlings

Jane Brooke

Learning From Each Other

Visiting four religious communities, four schools and St Barnabas Cathedral in Honiara, talking with clergy, Mothers’ Union and the brothers and sisters occupied nearly all of my time in the Solomon Islands very well! George enjoyed engaging with clergy undertaking their Bachelor of Theology degrees at Tabalia where the Melanesian Brothers offered us wonderful hospitality. Out of all my experiences, I thought you might like to hear about the visit to the cathedral.

St Barnabas CathedralOn June 16th we attended the cathedral in Honiara: it was a celebration of Trinity Sunday, St Barnabas and their 50th anniversary of the cathedral.

We arrived at 7.30am for the main service of the morning at 8.00am. There were 200 people attending the earlier 7.00am Eucharist and we waited until they left. They all left very quickly because there are many openings alongside the cathedral for them to use as an exit. The cathedral was decorated with vibrant flowers and the service was led by a choir of 70 with no organ. The Eucharist, celebrated by the Senior Bishop, was conducted with dignity and reverence and the Bishop of Ysabel preached on the theme of ‘love one another’. There were about 1000 people present with many young families: the overflow was catered for with extra chairs outside at the back of the cathedral. The Melanesian Brothers sang and danced traditional tribal dances bringing up the gospel in a small canoe which had, ‘Christ in culture’ written on the side. The Bishop read the gospel from the Bible which was open in the canoe.

The Dean of St Barnabas cuts the celebration cakeThe offertory of bread and wine was also carried up in a canoe accompanied by a vigorous and colourful dance by the Sunday School (selected from its 200 members). I thought you might be interested to know that the congregation bring their own hymn books to the service.

After the service there were speeches and then everyone went to the covered area next door for lunch. 800 were served lunch with a system of efficiency only to be admired. Meanwhile groups from the cathedral sang or danced on the stage enthusiastically and with joy. The groups included Sunday School (who sang the Lord’s Prayer), Mothers’ Union, Men’s Fellowship Group (who were mostly female!), the choir, the Melanesian Brothers and more. The Dean cut a cake for the 50 years of the cathedral – even though the cathedral intends to celebrate the 50 years properly in 2020. It was a wonderful day and I can’t see how they can improve on the celebrations next year. We finished at 3.00pm.

Thank you to you all for your prayers while we were there.

Canon Jane Brooke

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

Mothers' Union 5th Objective - The Melanesian Canoe

Mothers’ Union 5th Objective – The Melanesian Canoe

In order for our Vision to be achieved, we need to remove some of the stumbling blocks different societies have formed since Creation time. This is our last Objective and may well be felt as the hardest for the individual member to participate in, where we Promote conditions in society favourable to stable family life and the protection of children.

Mary Sumner House is involved with life at Westminster including Praying with staff, Advising Committees and Research: forwarding Questionnaires, Petitions to Diocese and Individual Members. Other countries of this Worldwide Christian Organisation have different challenges.

The Solomon Islands consists of 992 islands. How do the Mothers’ Union members get about to fulfil the first 4 Objectives? By Canoe. Christianity was brought to the Solomon Islands by a contemporary of Mary Sumner, Bishop Patteson, (from just over the border in Exeter Diocese). Like our founder, he saw the need to meet the Islanders where they were – an unusual attitude in Victorian times. Just as in Bishop Patteson’s time, God’s Love is spread between the islands by canoe: Hence, why at special services a Gospel Canoe will be decorated and danced in by warriors. I haven’t been able to produce the warriors or decorate it but here, representing our 5th Objective, is a model of a Melanesian Canoe.

News story from the Mothers’ Union President for Bath and Wells Diocese, Mrs Madeline Hellier

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

Flora Hamilton

Flora In The Solomons

Flora HamiltonMelanesia News Winter 2018Flora Hamilton of Project Trust spoke to us at the Melanesian Mission UK AGM and Festival Day in 2018 at Cambridge University. If you enjoyed Flora’s tales or missed this year’s event, you can catch-up with her news in her personal blog; Flora In The Solomons. You’ll also find Flora in our Melanesia News Winter 2018 magazine.

The Melanesian Mission UK are working with Project Trust as part of a volunteering programme involving UK gap year students. At present there are six placements in the region – we’ll hear more about their work later this year.

Thank iu tumas6 months ago, I dragged myself through Honiara international airport, to the plane that would take me home. A sea of crying faces lay behind me, and in front of me airport security guards, who I doubt could have looked more scared had they found a bomb in our bags. Jet and I were in an absolute state: weighed down by generously gifted presents, which we were ready to defend to the death from security; crying inconsolably after having just said goodbye to our Solomon family; and crying all the more as we laughed at our ridiculous situation. But while we undoubtedly looked like a mess from the outside, what we were feeling on the inside would have made my dump of a teenage bedroom look like a model showroom. We were painfully aware that we were about to do one of the most difficult things we have ever done: to leave the Solomon Islands. [Flora Hamilton]

Flora shared her Project Trust volunteering experiences with us in her own short film;

Marie Schlenker

The impact of sea-level rise and climate change on Solomon Islands

Marie Schlenker from the University of Southampton attended the January 2019 Melanesian Mission UK Trustee Meeting. She shared with the charity news of her PhD Project : The impact of sea-level rise and climate change on Solomon Islands.

Find out more about our Climate Justice work and watch our climate related Films.


My name is Marie Schlenker and I am a postgraduate research student in the Energy and Climate Change research group, within the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Southampton. I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Geosciences and a Master of Science in Environmental Physics from the University of Bremen, Germany.

During my studies, I developed a strong interest in the impact of climate change on coastal regions. Following my interests, I specialised in climate change and coastal hazards during my study abroad at Oregon State University within the framework of the American Fulbright programme. Furthermore, I obtained a Postgraduate Certificate in Disaster Management and conducted research into coastal hazards as part of internships at the Lower Saxony Water Management, Coastal Defence and Nature Conservation Agency, Norderney, Germany, and the Institute of Coastal Research, Geesthacht, Germany. I have been involved in volunteering for disaster risk reduction and environmental protection and obtained teaching experience during a 5-month placement in a public school in Chile.

In my PhD project, I will investigate the impact of sea-level rise and other climate change impacts on the Solomon Islands. To address this overall aim, my research has three objectives:

  1. To map and quantify the extent of shoreline and vegetation changes, erosion rates and human development changes along the coastline of the Solomon Islands over a range of timescales (100 years, decadal and annual), using aerial and satellite imagery;
  2. To assess rates of sea level rise in the South Pacific, and identify specific storm events and conditions which have led to major inundation and coastal erosion events in the past using observational datasets and model hindcast of sea level and waves; and
  3. To investigate how island communities are being impacted and might respond to climate change in the future.

At the moment, I am conducting a comprehensive literature review on coastal changes and associated impacts in the Solomon Islands and other island states in the South Pacific. After this initial phase, I will address the first and second objective of my PhD, using pre-existing datasets.

The first objective of my PhD will involve an analysis of aerial and satellite imagery to assess shoreline changes on a national scale. Historical aerial photographs will be sourced from the Solomon Islands Government Ministry of Housing, Lands and Survey archives for the period 1947 to 1962, and historic charts will be obtained from the UK Admiralty Office. In addition, high resolution satellite imagery will be sourced for each site for more recent periods, post 2000 (using Google Earth Engine). For the second objective, observational datasets including back barrier/lagoon storm overwash records, water level and wave model hindcast of sea level and waves will be analysed. Rates of sea-level rise and characteristics of larger storm surge and wave events across the Solomon Islands will be examined.

For the third objective of my PhD, fieldwork is essential. I plan to plan to visit local communities in the Solomon Islands and obtain insights on climate change from local knowledge through focus group discussions and interviews with community members. My fieldwork aims are to (a) document how climate change has impacted coastal communities in the Solomon Islands both in the past and presently using oral evidence, and (b) develop a better understanding of how coastal communities are adapting or might adapt to coastal change in the future, including the identification of potential barriers to adaptation. To achieve my fieldwork aims, I would like to collaborate with local contacts of MMUK in the Solomon Islands.

As part of my fieldwork, I plan to collect data on the following indicators of climate change and its impacts: Shoreline recession and growth, flooding frequency and extent, frequency/duration/intensity of storm, king tide and swell events, land subsidence, mangrove health, coral reef health (esp. coral bleaching events), occurrence of saltwater intrusion and water shortages, rise and fall of the groundwater table (e.g. in wells), impacts of storms/flooding on agriculture/infrastructure/health, adaptation strategies (e.g. human shoreline protection, rising houses/infrastructure, landward migration, resettlement of inhabitants to other islands and related issues) and particularly vulnerable/resilient population groups.

Insights from local knowledge will significantly increase our current understanding of climate change and its impacts in the Solomon Islands (and potentially other small island nations) and form a knowledge basis for comprehensive climate change policy and coastal management. Dissemination of the results to a wide audience will raise awareness about climate change impacts in vulnerable island settings and empower the local people to actively participate in the process of climate change adaptation. To actively increase the awareness about climate change in the Solomon Islands, I would be happy to engage in outreach activities in the Solomon Islands, including visits to local schools.

The PhD project is embedded within the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute, an internationally recognised centre of excellence focusing on interdisciplinary marine and maritime research, and will be jointly supervised by Prof. Robert Nicholls, Prof. David Sear and Dr. Ivan Haigh (all from the University of Southampton). Robert Nicholls is Professor of Coastal Engineering, focusing on coastal impacts and adaptation to climate change. He has significantly contributed to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and was awarded the Roger Revelle Medal for his contributions to ocean science. David Sear is Professor of Physical Geography, undertaking research into flood risk management, coastal erosion, and tropical cyclone and climate variability in small island states in the western tropical Pacific. Ivan Haigh is an Associate Professor in coastal oceanography at the prestigious National Oceanography Centre, investigating sea-level changes and their impacts on coasts. I will also collaborate with Dr. Adam Bobbette (University of New South Wales) in developing a climate change monitoring system for the Solomon Islands and Dr. Simon Albert (University of Queensland), who has undertaken research into climate change impacts in the Solomon Islands previously.

Marie Schlenker

Flooding

Flooding in the Solomon Islands

The MMUK office was saddened to learn on reopening in early January, that the Solomon Islands had suffered from heavy rain over Christmas and new year. An estimated 100,000 people across six of Solomon Islands’ eight provinces had been affected by two weeks of torrential rain and strong winds.

FloodingSecretary to the Melanesian Brothers’, Alphonse Garimae reported: “Rain and wind on New Year’s Eve has badly affected the Melanesian Brotherhood Head Quarters. Flooding has damaged again food gardens and other crops, according to reports received from Head Brother. Gardens were swept away by rivers and some bush garden houses were damaged due to fallen trees.”

The Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACoM) has received numerous requests for assistance with food from various communities throughout Guadalcanal. The ACoM Disaster Committee met last week to look at the situation and coordinate with other relief agencies and the National Disaster Council to respond accordingly. Donations to support this work, can be sent to MMUK, with the reference 2018 SI Flood Appeal.


Community of the Sisters of Melanesia Flooding Report
Date: December 2018 – January 2019

Damage report from the headquarters of The Community of the Sisters of Melanesia in Verana’aso. Sisters, Novices and Staff have been affected, especially their daily food sourced from the root crop gardens. This will probably last for another four to five months whilst they begin to plant their food crops again. A few of the community’s temporary buildings also had their roofs blown off.

The pictures below show the major damage to the CSM food crops, vegetable and staff gardens.

News story and pictures courtesy of Companion Charlton Thegu – 1st January 2019 at Verana’aso

Melanesian Mission Trustees

New Honorary Treasurer

Trustees are delighted to announce that Mr Steve Scoffield from Exeter Diocese has been co-opted as a Trustee and Hon Treasurer of the Melanesian Mission, filling the vacancy left by Ven Chris Liley.

Steve has been a qualified Chartered Accountant since 1984, and worked in general practice until 1999, when he and his family joined the Lee Abbey Community in Devon, becoming their Director of Finance for eleven years, then leaving to join the National Autistic Society in 2010. Steve is currently the Director of Finance of two small charities Amigos Worldwide and Alström Syndrome UK.

Steve has extensive experience as a charity trustee and treasurer including nine years as treasurer of North Devon Hospice. His experience of voluntary sector policy, marketing and fundraising, strategy, governance and voluntary sector financial management, was recognised with the award of the ICAEW’s Diploma in Charity Accounting.

He was introduced to the work of the Melanesian Mission through his wife the Revd Cathy Scoffield, who is a Companion of the Melanesian Brotherhood and an Associate of the Community of Sisters of Melanesia. Steve is looking forward to using his skills and knowledge working with MMUK, and the charity is very grateful to him for coming forward to fill this important voluntary role.

Bishop Willie Pwaisiho

Bishop Willie retires from his Parish in Chester Diocese

On Sunday 20th January 2019 a special service was held at St James, Gawsworth to celebrate Bishop William’s retirement from his parish in Chester Diocese. People came from all over the UK, with 180 people squeezed into church for this very special event. Speeches were made by Fr. Paul, Katie Drew from the Melanesian Mission UK, John Freeman from the Chester Diocese and a Companion of the Melanesian Brotherhood, the Parish’s Patron Rupert Richards and of course Bishop William himself. At the end of the service all the Pwaisiho family sang a farewell song to the congregation. A few handkerchiefs were seen in use around the Church.

Bishop Willie and his family are retiring in Chester Diocese, with Bishop Willie continuing his Assistant Bishop duties.

We pray…

Almighty God, the light of the faithful and shepherd of souls,
We give you thanks for the faithful ministry of your servant Willie (William) Alaha Pwaisiho:
For his service and ministry in New Zealand
For his guidance and leadership as Bishop of Malaita
For his love and pastoral care of the people of Gawsworth
For his inspiration as assistant bishop Of Chester.
We pray for Willie and Kate and their family as they prepare for retirement and continue in your service and witness,
Through Jesus Christ our Lord
Amen

News story and pictures from Gawsworth Parish