Tag: Melanesian Mission

Archbishop of Canterbury - Festival and AGM - Exeter Cathedral

Festival and AGM 2021

A Coming of Age

MMUK Trustee, Revd Martin Cox, reflects on the charity’s AGM and Patteson Festival Day at Exeter Cathedral on Saturday 18 September.

Archbishop of Canterbury - Festival and AGM - Exeter Cathedral

All the ‘clicks’ of the liturgical Rubik’s cube had been made and there was full alignment around the sides of the cube. This was through the hard work and negotiating skills of Katie Drew, Executive Officer of MMUK. So it was that MMUK trustees’ past and present gathered with the Archbishop of Canterbury and his wife and party, the Diocesan Bishop of Exeter, the Dean and Chapter of Exeter Cathedral, a researcher from the University of Southampton along with supporters of MMUK for this year’s Festival and AGM on a warm day in September in Exeter Cathedral.

Festival and AGM Eucharist - Exeter Cathedral

There was a significant poignancy to this year’s event as we gathered to mark the 150th commemoration of the death of Bishop John Coleridge Patteson on 20 September 1871 in the very same Cathedral where he had been ordained Deacon and Priest. The liturgical colour was red; the side of the Rubik’s cube was complete.

It was wonderful to gather together in person with several hundred others for the Festival Eucharist. The Book of the Gospels was processed in on a processional canoe. The Archbishop of Canterbury preached from the Martyrs Pulpit and spoke movingly of Patteson as a red and white martyr. Bishop Robert presided and beautifully intoned the Eucharistic prayer. Bishop Willie led the prayers of intercession in the way that only Bishop Willie can! We were reminded of the faithfulness of God and the call upon us all to be faithful. A presentation was made by the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Dean and Chapter of the Cathedral of a copy of Bishop Patteson’s letter asking for more resources.

After our packed lunch and conversations, another side of the Rubik’s cube where the clicks had led to perfect alignment, we held our Festival and AGM. Revd Richard Carter and Bishop Willie both spoke movingly of Bishop Patteson’s legacy of a spirit of service and mission, of equality of relationships in and through Christ, of the call to live simply and close to God and one another, of the importance of education and a holistic approach to mission, of the role of women who wrapped Bishop Patteson’s body following his death before he was buried at sea so his love for the people could be washed upon the shores of the islands. Bishop Willie ended by leading us in the Lord’s Prayer in Pidgin English.

We moved from looking back to the past to thinking about the present. Marie Schlenker from the University of Southampton and Kate Pwa’isiho spoke of Faith and Science in the Care of Creation. Their equally moving presentation drew attention to the impact of climate change on rising sea levels and the way of life for many. Marie spoke of the climate change observatories to collect much needed data. Kate spoke of the immediate impact on Fanalei Island. Images of coral bleaching and sand dunes in the church made a powerful impression on those gathered together. We were left with the challenge to reflect on our own lives as the decisions we take do affect the lives of others. We know this instinctively, but Marie and Kate highlighted the challenge powerfully.

Before he departed, Archbishop Justin responded to the presentations. His Grace spoke of the capacity of the Anglican Communion to tell the story of climate change, of how the Melanesian church is engaged in holistic mission and speaks the voice of the Spirit, of how peace and reconciliation are vital to create the space to engage with climate change issues: “If it’s not dealt with for everyone, it’s not dealt with for anyone.”  Archbishop Justin concluded his remarks by reflecting to us that Bishop Patteson set an example for us all, commenting that, when we are at war with the world we are war with God.

Following the departure of the Archbishop of Canterbury and his party the Festival heard a recorded message from the Archbishop of Melanesia. Archbishop Leonard spoke of how Bishop Patteson was truly Melanesian oriented and how Melanesians claim him as their own for ever.  Bishop Mark Rylands, Chairman of MMUK interviewed Revd Brian Macdonald-Milne about his book, ‘Seeking Peace in the Pacific’. Brian reminded us of how God’s grace transforms human failure and failings. The Annual General Meeting of MMUK followed with a presentation to Marie in token of her work as an intern over the last year the presentation of the accounts by Steve Scoffield, Honorary Treasurer of MMUK who spoke of the need for wise decision making and a trust in God’s faithfulness going forward.  Following the re-election of three trustees’, Bishop Mark concluded the AGM by assuring us of God’s blessing.

Brian Macdonald-Milne with Mark Rylands

It was a real privilege to attend the Eucharist and to be present for this year’s in-person Festival and AGM. Those I spoke to during the day echoed these sentiments and were grateful for the way in which the day had been organised. As I left the Cathedral as one of the re-elected trustees’ I was conscious that the pieces of the liturgical Rubik’s cube were now being scrambled again having been in alignment for our day together. It is ever thus. However, as a result of the day and the way in which it had been organised I was also conscious that MMUK and our support for the mission of the Anglican Church of Melanesia had somehow come of age.

Blessed are you, Lord God, King of the Universe.
By your word the evening comes,
by your power the day dawns.
You are the Lord of the tides and season.
You have set the stars in the sky.
You have placed a limit on the sea.
In your love you created all things.
By your love all has been redeemed.
Through your love all creation is sustained.
Blessed are you, Lord God, King of the Universe.

(Island of Light: An Illustrated Collection of Prayers by David Adam, SPCK 2002)

Revd Martin Cox

Archbishop of Canterbury opens Patteson's Way

Archbishop of Canterbury Visits Devon on First Public Trip Since Pandemic

The Archbishop of Canterbury has visited Devon to open a new pilgrimage route on his first public engagement outside London in 18 months.

Archbishop of Canterbury opens Patteson's Ways

Justin Welby was launching the Patteson’s Way, an 8-mile circular walking route in honour of Bishop John Coleridge Patteson who grew up in Feniton, near Ottery St Mary and was killed while on a mission to share his faith in the Pacific islands of Melanesia.

Monday 20 September marked the 150th anniversary of his death.

The Archbishop unveiled a plaque at Feniton Parish Church and read out a prayer written by the church’s Storytime Group.

As we gather here today to celebrate the opening of this new Pilgrimage Route,
we give thanks for the life of Bishop John Coleridge Patteson and the example that he set us.

Let those who walk along Patteson’s Way have courage as Patteson did
when he left his home here to go to the other side of the world. 

Give them the space and quietness to reflect, see the wonders of the
world around them, hear the sounds of nature, and meet with you.

We pray for everyone in Melanesia and give thanks for the close bond
that this local area has with Melanesia as a result of Patteson’s brave journey.   

We ask your blessing for the route and that you keep all those who walk
the path safe in the knowledge that you are walking next to them.

In Jesus’ name we pray

Amen

He then blessed the first pilgrims before walking a short section of the route with them. He said “I’m ecstatic. I am seeing real people, it’s the first outside engagement I’ve been allowed for 18 months. “Devon is a county I don’t know, but it is just so wonderful and lovely. “We are not just the Church of England; we are the Church FOR England.”

The Patteson’s Way was devised by the Devon-based charity, the Melanesian Mission UK. It is being supported by Devon Pilgrim, a Church of England-funded project which has seen four new pilgrimage routes in the county this year.

Archbishop Justin said “The significance for me of pilgrimage is that you are meeting with God … and moving across the world that God created. “You meet people that surprise you and God surprises you in how he meets you.”

Sophie, who was amongst a group of Feniton Primary School pupils who sang the Archbishop a song, said “I was nervous, it was a big moment, but it was fun and exciting.”

Archbishop of Canterbury - Alfington Prayers

After Feniton, the Archbishop went on to nearby Alfington church, where Patteson was a priest, and joined the Archbishop of Melanesia, the Most Revd Leonard Dawea, online to say prayers for Patteson.

The Archbishop then preached in a service of Thanksgiving for the Church in Melanesia at Exeter Cathedral.

Archbishop of Canterbury - Festival and AGM - Exeter Cathedral

Giving a talk after the service, the Archbishop spoke about the fight against climate change, which is particularly relevant because some islands in Melanesia are already disappearing under water. He said, “Melanesia is not a canary in a coal mine but an alarm bell ringing loudly for us all, calling us to action on climate change.”

In an interview Archbishop Justin talks about pilgrimage, Patteson, climate change and the importance of rural parish churches; Archbishop of Canterbury Interview.

Diocese of Exeter

Feniton Pupil Prayers and Art

Devon School Children Send Prayers To The Pacific

School children in Devon have been working on a special project to commemorate the life of the first Bishop of Melanesia, who died 150 years ago this month and also to voice their concerns about climate change in the pacific.

Feniton Pupil Prayers and Art

Pupils at Feniton and Tipton St John Church of England Primary Schools in Devon, have a very special bond with school children in Melanesia in the pacific. For the past ten years the schools have welcomed guests from Melanesia and sent teachers to volunteer at Melanesian schools. During this time the pupils have learnt about the first Bishop of Melanesia, John Coleridge Patteson, who came from Devon, and have also heard about the devastation of climate change in the Melanesian islands today.

Executive Head, Colin Butler, said: “The children at Feniton and Tipton care deeply about what is happening to children in Melanesia because of climate change. They also wanted to commemorate that a young man from Devon went to Melanesia and died as a missionary out there 150 years ago.

  • Patteson Prayers - School Partnership
  • Patteson Prayers - School Partnership
  • Patteson Prayers - School Partnership
  • Patteson Prayers - School Partnership

“At the end of last term, the children painted pictures of Patteson growing up in Devon and then travelling to Melanesia. They have also written prayers about caring for the earth and asking for forgiveness for when we are wasteful and uncaring. The teachers at both schools are very proud of what the children have produced, and we hope the children in Melanesia like the work and see how much the children care for them and their first Bishop. Copies of the pictures and prayers will also be on display when the Archbishop of Canterbury visits St Andrew’s Church, Feniton on 18th September. “We have also just received prayers and drawings from the Melanesian school children, and we will be sharing these with the children as they return to school this week. It is wonderful to have this special relationship with children, teachers and schools over 10,000 miles way, all because a young man from Feniton, left Devon to become a missionary in Melanesia over 150 years ago,” said Mr Butler.

Exeter Cathedral

MMUK Festival Day To Remember Bishop John Coleridge Patteson

MMUK is looking forward to welcoming over 150 supporters from all over the UK to its Patteson Commemorations and AGM Festival Day at Exeter Cathedral on Saturday 18th September.

Exeter Cathedral

This year’s events will celebrate the ministry and witness of Bishop John Coleridge Patteson on the 150th anniversary of his martyrdom in the Solomon Islands. The charity’s President the Most Reverend Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, will be preaching at the Eucharist and guest speakers will reflect on Patteson’s legacy. Exeter Cathedral has curated a new Patteson exhibition, charting the Bishop’s early years growing up and becoming a priest in Devon and being called to be a missionary in Melanesia.

Chair of the Melanesian Mission, Bishop Mark Rylands said: “MMUK is humbled and grateful that so many supporters are travelling from as far away as Scotland to be with us, as we give thanks for Patteson and celebrate our companionship with Melanesia today. We are also delighted that Archbishop Justin is joining our festival day in Devon.

Simply Living 2013, Lambeth Palace
Archbishop Justin, President of MMUK with the Simply Living UK Mission team in 2013 at Lambeth Palace

“Of course we are sorry that our Brothers and Sisters from Melanesia will not be with us, due to travel restrictions, but they have sent their prayers and greetings, which we will be sharing on the day. The service and talks will also be live streamed by the Cathedral, so our Melanesian friends and UK supporters unable to be with us in person, can still join us online.

“Patteson’s witness and legacy is alive today and our guest speakers will reflect on what we can learn from the first Bishop of Melanesia. We will also have talks on science and faith in addressing the challenges of climate change, and also on peace and reconciliation in the pacific. The day will end at the Cathedral with our Annual General Meeting.

“I would like to thank the Exeter Melanesia Link Group, the Diocese of Exeter and Exeter Cathedral for all their assistance and support in hosting this year’s special MMUK Festival,” said Bishop Mark.

Here is the programme for the day;

10.00am       Exeter Cathedral open for viewing of the Patteson 150 exhibition, refreshments available
11.30am       Seats taken for the Eucharist in the Cathedral
12.00pm       Eucharist
1.15pm         Lunch Break
2.00pm         Seats taken for the Festival Afternoon

Patteson’s Life & Legacy – Bishop Willie Pwaisiho – Diocese of Chester & Revd Richard Carter – St Martin in the Fields

Faith & Science in the Care of Creation in Melanesia – Kate Pwaisiho – Diocese of Chester & Marie Schlenker – University of Southampton

MMUK’s Plans for the Year Ahead – Bishop Mark Rylands MMUK, book launch Seeking Peace in the Pacific – Revd Brian Macdonald-Milne

Pre-recorded Closing Address & Blessing from the Archbishop of Melanesia

4.00pm         Annual General Meeting – papers for this meeting on www.mmuk.net
4.30pm         Close

There is still time to book a place at their year’s event. Please contact the charity to reserve your place.

Nukapu Beach and Canoe

Remembering Patteson – Laden Kopuria

Laden Kopuria - Selwyn College

As a form six student from Selwyn College, Honiara and originally from the island of Nukapu, where the first bishop of Melanesia shed his blood, I would like to share some of the historical story of Bishop John Coleridge Patteson, which my Grandmother has shared with me.

This short brief knowledge was passed to me, through my family from my great, great, great Grandmother whose name was Nivai from the island of Nukapu. On September 20th 1871 the Southern Cross (mission boat) sailed to Nukapu Island. During that time a village chief came down to the beach and welcomed Bishop John Coleridge Patteson into the village. He took him to a single house and let the Bishop rest while he went to the neighbouring villagers to explain to them who Bishop Patteson was.

In his absence the Chief told a young boy to take care of the Bishop while he rested. During the Chief’s absence some of the villagers were angry due to five of their young men from the Island being stolen or taken away by a blackbirding ship a few days before the Southern Cross arrived at Nukapu. The young men’s relatives were still angry so they decided to kill any white men that arrived on their shores. As soon as Bishop Patteson was resting in the house, a man named Teadule came creeping in and hit the Bishop’s head with a heavy stick. The Bishop died instantly. The other angry young men took their arrows and shot them at the ship. The arrows hit Stephen Taroniara as well and he died.

The Chief and his relatives were very sad. A woman named Nivai, my relative, dug a hole to bury Bishop Patteson. She took the body and wanted to bury it, but then they called from the ship that Bishop Patteson’s body must be taken back to them. So my relative put the body of Patteson on a wooden craft and pushed it out to the ship. The crew took the body and buried him at sea.

I am sad that the Bishop’s body was not buried safely on the island of Nukapu. Today if you go to Nukapu Island you will still see the hole which my relative had dug and the cross to remember the Bishop’s death. The Bishop’s death on Nukapu led many people on the island and across the region of Temotu to become Anglicans. Also, most Nukapu people and the diocese of Temotu have put Patteson saints into their local churches.

I have great pride that my tribe has passed down to us, the younger generations, this historical story and my relative’s part in caring for Patteson’s dead body.

I offer this short prayer;

Dear Lord,

Thank you for Bishop Patteson’s parents, for allowing their son to be the first Bishop of Melanesia. Without them there would be no Christianity on the islands of Melanesia.

Thank you Lord for Nukapu people and forgive their past sins.

Let us always remember Bishop Patteson. It was a sign of peace and love that he shed his blood on the island of Nukapu.

Let the Church of Melanesia continue to grow because of Bishop Patteson.

Let the people of Melanesia live an example of the first Bishop of Melanesia. Continue to band us together to carry out the work Bishop Patteson has set before us.

Give peace, love and hope in memory of Bishop Patteson.

Be with the Church of Melanesia Lord, so that the seed Bishop Patteson planted be a light to us, a light that never goes out

Through Christ our Lord. Amen

Laden Kopuria Yr12 Student Selwyn College

Coffee Mornings Cocoa Nights

Coffee Mornings – Cocoa Nights

Coffee Mornings Cocoa Nights

Thursday 30th September at 10am – 11am (and 7pm – 8pm) BST

On Thursday 30th September at 10am – 11am and repeated again at 7pm – 8pm BST, I will be hosting an online event to share the latest news from the region and from our AGM and Festival Day in the presence of our President, the Archbishop of Canterbury. The event will run for about 45 minutes to 1 hour with a short briefing from me, a time to ask questions, and finish in prayer for our friends in Melanesia.

If you would like to attend and or know others who would like to join us, please let me know and I will send a link. Do also let me know if you have any particular questions / topics you would like me to cover.

Many thanks for your continuing support and I hope to see you online soon.

Katie Drew, MMUK

Simply Living 2013, Lambeth Palace

The Archbishop of Canterbury to Open New Melanesia Pilgrimage Route in Devon

Saturday September 18th 2021

The Archbishop of Canterbury is to visit Devon in September to open a new pilgrimage route in honour of John Coleridge Patteson, the first Bishop of Melanesia.

The 8-mile Patteson’s Way is a joint initiative between the Melanesian Mission (MMUK) of which Archbishop Justin Welby is President, local school children and the Diocese of Exeter.

This year marks 150 years since Patteson, who grew up in Feniton in East Devon, was killed for his faith in 1871, after travelling from Devon to Melanesia as a Christian missionary in 1855.

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
Credit: World Council of Churches

The Diocese of Exeter is linked with the Anglican Province of Melanesia which covers the South Pacific nations of the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia.

Today Christians in the islands revere Patteson as a martyr and many regard his family home and churches in Devon as places of pilgrimage.

The Right Reverend Mark Rylands, an assistant bishop in the Diocese of Exeter and Chair of MMUK, said “The Archbishop of Canterbury’s visit to Devon is a wonderful tribute to the witness and ministry of a great missionary.

“150 years ago, Patteson’s endeavours helped to birth a Melanesian Church that is numerically and spiritually vibrant today. Now, they are ready, willing and able to help us in the UK to renew our Christian faith and tread more lightly upon the earth.”

St Andrew’s Church, Feniton
St Andrew’s Church, Feniton

The new circular pilgrimage route begins and ends at St Andrew’s Church in Feniton. It also includes St James and St Anne, Alfington, where Patteson was first a priest, St Mary’s, Ottery St Mary, which has a Melanesian Chapel, and Patteson’s Cross, a memorial sited where Patteson left Devon by stagecoach on his journey to Melanesia.

Patteson's Cross, East Devon
Patteson’s Cross, East Devon

During his visit on 18 September, Archbishop Justin will do part of the walk with local families before preaching at a special service at Exeter Cathedral.

Katie Drew, MMUK’s Executive Officer, said “The legacy of Patteson lives on, not only in Melanesia, but in Devon. So many of his values and concerns speak to us today – hidden slavery, black lives matter and care of the environment.

“We hope this new pilgrimage route will enable people to reflect on Patteson’s life, mission and courage, and bring a little bit of Melanesia to walkers in the beautiful East Devon Countryside.”

The Reverend David Carrington, vicar of St Andrew’s, Feniton, said “I am sure Bishop Patteson could not have imagined what would grow from his missionary work. He simply followed his calling and sowed in faith and love.”

MMUK, which is based in Devon, also works to highlight the effects of climate change in Melanesia, where some islands are already succumbing to rising sea levels. Mark Rylands said the Melanesia link was an opportunity for Christians in the UK to make a difference in the fight against climate change “We, in MMUK, do all we can to help the people of Melanesia with disaster relief funding, resourcing vital research and facing the impact of global warming. We are a family 10,000 miles apart – brothers and sisters in Christ supporting one another.”

Diocese of Exeter

Patteson's Cross, Nukapu Island

Remembering Patteson – Diocese of Temotu

A TRUE PATHFINDER IN MELANESIA: BISHOP JOHN COLERIDGE PATTESON

Patteson's Cross, Nukapu Island
Patteson’s Cross, Nukapu Island

This article is written as a contribution to the 150th Anniversary Celebration of the death of John Coleridge Patteson.

It presents a new Melanesian perspective in a unique and noble missionary bishop, John C. Patteson who was killed on Nukapu Island on 20th September 1871.

Some accounts say that a native of the Island, Teandule was responsible for Patteson’s death. This happened as a consequence of five young men abducted from Nukapu by labor traffickers.

At a meeting convened by the chiefs of Nukapu concerning the stolen young men, Teandule vowed to kill the first white man to turn up on the shores of Nukapu.

It so happened that Bishop Patteson was the first white man to step ashore from the Southern Cross. Teandule could not renege on his vow but took revenge for the sake of justice.

A theory around the Islands in Melanesia that overshadowed the minds and hearts of Melanesians was that Bishop Patteson had been impersonated by a man who recruited the five from Nukapu to work in Fiji Sugar Plantations. The act of impersonating Patteson caused confusion and betrayal of an innocent man.

Bishop Patteson had enjoyed eleven years of Mission excitements of service among Melanesians from 1855 to 1866 but the next four years (1867 – 1871) were years of tough challenges and conflicts in Melanesia.

Bishop Patteson was already aware of the labour traffic which began in 1867 in Melanesia prior to his last missionary journey in 1871. He knew perfectly well that in Melanesia was tension due to such savage practice where ships seized Melanesians and brought them to Fiji and Queensland. During the years of labour traffic, it was difficult to inject a friendly atmosphere among the natives. Bishop Patteson met his death in that critical situation.

The Martyrs' Pulpit, Exeter Cathedral
The Martyrs’ Pulpit, Exeter Cathedral

Bishop John C. Patteson we believe had certainly found a true path to journey to God. He confidently focused on this mission goal in the days of his last episcopal visit to Melanesia. He had willed in himself a strong passion out of love for Melanesia to give up his own life willingly for them.

What Bishop John Coleridge Patteson means to Melanesia?

There could be more to say about Bishop Patteson as a great man, but this article may only dwell on a few things that express how we value him. He is honored for what he has done for lives of people in Melanesia. Today in Melanesia there is a set time for celebration of Patteson’s life, work and death. People of Melanesia have to do this annually because they have looked upon him as their spiritual hero and icon for generations now and in the future. He is an inspiring figure for many people both in Melanesia and the Pacific Islands.

We can tell others and the world that through the glorious life and death of Bishop Patteson, he made “Unknown” Melanesia known to the rest of the world. He made Melanesia of different ethnic groupings and different color become one people in Christ with the people of Maori, Pakeha, New Zealand, Australia, England and the rest of the world. He led Melanesia into a new family of God which we continue to be part of today.

This has driven us to believe that in Christ, Bishop Patteson is our saviour and peace maker. His death with others ended the enforced labour trade by an Act of Parliament passed in England. His death in Christ has reconciled us to God and born in us a new hope in Jesus Christ. He is a gift to us and even to the whole Pacific Islands, and there is nothing we can give back in return to his family and people of England. But we believe that he has been fully rewarded by God our heavenly Father.

How do we Melanesians come to know Bishop John Coleridge Patteson and his ministry?

It took years to come to know more about Bishop John C Patteson and his ministry. To pass information by word of mouth is fearful approach or can be sensitive. So there has never any attempt to pass on by word of mouth the knowledge of Bishop Patteson’s death or ministry. Because according to Melanesian culture such is sacred and secret and does not for Tom, Dick and Harry to know about.

The widespread knowledge about him was delayed and took about eight decades before Melanesians begin to learn of him in more detail. However, the only possible means of widespread knowledge about him was through reports, journals, diaries, letters attributed to Bishop John C Patteson, Southern Cross Logs and other documents.

Through such materials, they were able to learn more of the inspiring attitudes of Bishop Patteson and his vitally important qualities of sharing, smiling, exchange of names and simple gifts, and accepting Melanesians with their good customs and cultures.

He came among Melanesians not only as bishop, but as a helping friend. He came to them in a personal way of interaction with chiefs, young men and women, by speaking and teaching in many different Melanesian languages and touching their hearts through culture and power of the gospel. His gentle presence and friendly manners in smiling and approach to them as learned from readings express a sincere love, patience and true way of service. Also, Bishop John C Patteson made himself equal to Melanesians as he never treated them as inferior to himself.

It is worth mentioning too, that there are lots of establishments dedicated to Bishop Patteson such as chapels or schools in Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji and Papua New Guinea. There are already a large number of secular and theological institutions that accommodate ordained, lay men and women and youth, drawn not only from Anglican members but from other church members and islands within at least the four large nations of the Pacific.

The purpose of these mission development activities and programmes is to empower and build up better citizens for our countries and God’s Kingdom.  Our young people are being empowered in the values they have for their own lives, family, community and nations.

From these development activities, the physical, social, spiritual, political, economic and leadership components of the Melanesians countries are supported. It gives a sense of pride as evidenced today that in the different institutions we have produced great men and women leaders to suit all walks of life, such as priests, bishops, catechists, scholars, lawyers, doctors, politicians, governor generals, prime ministers, captains, engineers, carpenters, brothers, sisters etc.

At the moment, a major Anglican Church of Melanesia development project is the “John Coleridge Patteson University” that should be established on an already identified land on Guadalcanal Island.

John Coleridge Patteson University

In Temotu, where Bishop John Coleridge Patteson was martyred, there were already schools, colleges and churches named after the Bishop. Luesalemba, the only college in Temotu is now renamed, John Coleridge Patteson College. A chapel in Luesalo Rural Training Centre was also named after Bishop Patteson. And on the site where Bishop Patteson was martyred will be built a chapel dedicated to him.  This is one of the major projects that the Anglican Church of Melanesia is currently implementing in the Diocese of Temotu.

But yet another particular compelling image is the reality of the concept of the seed of the martyrdom of Bishop John C Patteson.

Some historians have criticised the early policy of conducting missionary activity from the remoteness of Norfolk Island. But we rather take and hold a different view and believe that the small seed of shedding blood and death on Nukapu Island has grown and expanded and has become a large tree, which is now the Church of Melanesia today. That dreadful death is not an incident of regret or curse but rather a demonstration of God’s grace and righteous mercy.

A priest in the Diocese of Temotu

Sustainable Development Goals

In Focus: Working towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in Melanesia

What are the Sustainable Development Goals?

In 2015, all 193 United Nations Member States adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a shared blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all people. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The SDGs are an urgent call for action by all countries to address the global challenges we face today. They recognize that eradicating poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies aimed at reducing inequalities, improving access to education, responsible consumption and technological innovation, tackling climate change and preserving our environment. They call for global partnership to achieve peace and prosperity for all people.

For an overview of the 17 SDGs take a look at the graphic below. More detailed information about the SDGs can be found on the website of the United Nations: https://sdgs.un.org/goals.

Sustainable Development Goals

How successful have we been so far in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Melanesia?

In Solomon Islands, the national implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals is set out in the National Development Strategy 2016-2035. In Vanuatu, the government’s efforts to address the SDGs are guided by the Vanuatu 2030 The Peoples Plan.

Both countries regularly reflect on their progress towards achieving the SDGs in voluntary national reviews. According to the latest national reviews and UN statistics, both countries have made significant progress in addressing sustainable development. However, major challenges remain in nearly all areas of development.

SI and Vanuatu Governments have promoted economic growth through investments in agriculture, fisheries, forestry, tourism and mining sectors, leading to sustained growth, lower unemployment and lower poverty rates.

There have been major improvements in addressing health and wellbeing in Melanesia. Maternal, neonatal and child mortality have significantly declined in recent years. Incidences of tuberculosis have become fewer and the risk of dying from non-communicable diseases has decreased. However, there have been worrisome increases in alcohol consumption, the number of obese people, diabetes and incidences of cardiovascular diseases. Moreover, the availability of modern family planning methods to women of reproductive age has declined and child marriage and adolescent birth rates are on the rise. Furthermore, sexual violence against women remains a major challenge.

Access to clean water and sanitation as well as electricity and the Internet has widened in recent years. However, further improvements are urgently needed as over half of the population in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu still lacks access to basic water and sanitation facilities. Only 63 % of the SI population had access to electricity in 2017 and only 13 % access to the Internet (63 % and 26 % in Vanuatu, respectively).

In both countries, the proportion of population suffering from hunger has slightly increased in recent years, to around 13 % in Solomon Islands and 10 % in Vanuatu. Particularly, child malnourishment poses a persistent problem, with roughly one third of all children under 5 years in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu experiencing stunted growth in 2015.

While rates of engagement in primary education in Vanuatu are slightly increasing (to 81 % in 2017), enrolment in primary schools in Solomon Islands is on a worrisome decline (67 % in 2018, compared to 81 % in 2007).

Solomon Islands and Vanuatu have agreed upon comprehensive national policies for climate action and environmental protection, recognizing the role that a healthy environment plays in achieving other SDGs. Governments and NGOs have started to implement climate adaptation, environmental conservation and disaster resilience programmes with support of the international community. Nevertheless, environmental degradation due to local human activities including logging, inappropriate waste disposal and overharvesting, as well as the effects of climate change, in the form of higher sea levels, shifting weather patterns and more frequent extreme events, are on the rise.

To summarize, Melanesia still faces major challenges and will need significant support of the international community to achieve the SDGs by 2030. Especially, the SDGs related to Zero Hunger, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Clean Water and Sanitation, and Life on Land and Below Water urgently need attention. COVID-19 has slowed down our efforts to tackle the SDGs – therefore, it is even more important that we take action now.  

For reference and further information consult: https://unstats.un.org/sdgs, https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/, and https://data.worldbank.org/.

How does MMUK address the Sustainable Development Goals?

MMUK supports the global efforts to achieve the SDGs by partnering with the Anglican Church of Melanesia to bring about positive change in Melanesia. Most of our projects directly address one or more of the SDGs. Additionally, our support for ACoM and its mission enables the implementation of many other projects initiated by ACoM, which aim to achieve a more sustainable future for communities in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu in accordance with the SDGs.

For example, our long-standing cultural exchanges for clergy and students from both, the UK and Solomon Islands, foster global understanding and relationships and directly address SDG 17: Global Partnership for the Goals.

Our support for the renovation of the Pamua Girls’ Dormitory is one example of how we are helping to tackle SDG 4: Quality Education in Melanesia.

The ACoM Environment Observatory project, which we continue to support throughout 2021, raises awareness of environmental issues and enables church-led observations of environmental and climatic change across Solomon Islands. Thereby, it addresses SDG 13: Climate Action, SDG 14: Life below Water, and SDG 15: Life on Land.

In our future communications, we will use the SDG symbols published by the United Nations to show how our work in Melanesia relates to the global efforts to achieve a more equitable and sustainable future for all people.

MMUK Initiatives and matching UN Sustainable Development Goals

SDG13 - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts; Climate change.

Solomon Islands, Logging

SSF Campaign on the Human Rights Implications of Illegal, Unregulated and Unsustainable Logging

Logging & the Abuse of Human Rights
Logging In Melanesia – A Call To Action

SDG15 - Protect, restore and promote sustainable use...

Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss; Forests.

SDG5 - Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls; Gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Marie Schlenker

Relief Panel - Carving - Depicting The Death Of Bishop Patteson

Remembering Patteson – Simon Franklin

For me, gratitude for the life of John Coleridge Patteson started soon after I was lucky enough to become Vicar to Ottery St Mary, and St James & St Anne, Alfington. I can remember the moment when standing in that majestic church of Ottery St Mary, a humble and much loved retired priest, Bill, handed me a little, very old and worn pamphlet for me to read. He said rather fiercely that he wanted it back and for me to look after it well as it was the only copy he knew of. It looked as though it had been produced in the 1950s – with sketchy line drawings of a bearded man in a top hat wading ashore a palm fringed island.

So I began to learn just how privileged I was as priest in charge of Alfington and Ottery, being a successor to this extraordinary man of God. Like so many others, my life has been so deeply enriched in a way Bishop Patteson would have been astonished and when I get to see him, as I hope I do, I will join the long queue to shake his hand or even give him a hug – presuming that his Victorian reserve has been softened by heaven’s graces.

Alfington Church - Patteson

Following up the story of that battered pamphlet ended up for me in 2004 with the experience of retracing his steps as also a priest from Alfington, visiting the Solomon Islands.  My visit happened when ‘the Tensions’ were just finishing and the martyrdom of the seven brothers was still an open and shocking event. It was paradoxically such a privileged moment to be in the Solomons. I became so impressed with the sheer bravery and integrity to the gospel that the Melanesian Brotherhood maintained even when their own friends and brothers had just been brutally murdered. Being shown round by the assistant head brother who had to be held back from going straight to find and bring back the bodies of his friends and brothers with no thought of his own safety: being taken to where the front lines of the fighting and killing had been and then being shown where the brothers had set up camp directly in the line of fire between the two so that their bodies could stop the bullets before they injured others of their countryman: here was evidence of the transformative effects of the gospel seeded by that rather gauche man from East Devon some years before.

One of the most poignant moments for me was holding the Bible given to Patteson by the grateful people of Alfington as he left for the Pacific Islands and to touch the matting he was wrapped in when he had been freshly killed. I understood the power of relics in that moment…

My role in going out there was partly to take a gift from the people of Alfington to present to the Brothers. It was a wooden cross carved by Henry, a local craftsman and church musician from Alfington, who had placed at the centre of this carving a piece of fallen oak from Alfington which would have been growing when Patteson lived there. In return Richard Carter, the then Chaplain to the Brothers, gave me a carving which had hung in the chapel at Tabalia, the Brotherhood Mother house, depicting the handing back of the body of Patteson by the three islanders. What is so poignant is that it was carved from wood from the very island of Nukapu where Patteson took his last breath. There it is now hanging in the church of St James & St Anne in Alfington, facing the pulpit where Patteson preach his first sermon, close to the door where he wept after that first service, with his family, at the privilege of stepping into his vocation as parish priest in Alfington.

Head Br Jude And Simon Franklin - 2004

So out of tragedy comes connection. The blood of this martyr has not separated but bound two cultures, two peoples, two churches together. It has set up a conduit of blessing. And for me as I greet Bishop Patteson with such gratitude when God willing, I meet him, that gratitude will be for the way that Melanesians have taught me about graciousness, generosity and godliness which has become infused into their culture by this one man from East Devon.

Simon Franklin