Tag: Melanesian Mission

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

Solomon Islands Medal for Canon John Pinder

Solomon Islands Medal for Canon John Pinder

To my amazement, it was announced in the 2017 Solomon Islands Independence Day awards that I had been nominated to receive the Solomon Islands medal. I feel it was totally undeserved and I know of several other former missionaries who deserved the award far more than I.

By chance it was the 50th anniversary of my first contact with Solomon Islands, arriving at Pawa School in 1967. In 1970 we moved to Guadalcanal, combining with Pamua Girls’ School to form Selwyn College. One of the new teachers was Jenny who was later to become my wife.

After I returned to the U.K., I was asked in 1977 to be the English Secretary of the Melanesian Mission, and eventually combined that with being a parish priest in Oxfordshire. During my time as English Secretary, we gave hospitality to many visitors from Solomon Islands and Vanuatu and looked after all the bishops and their wives during two Lambeth Conferences. Over all that time Jenny was a tremendous support and I certainly could not have managed without her.

It was a joy to receive the medal from the Governor General, Sir Frank Kabui, supported by Jenny, our daughter Eleanor and Richard Carter. Sir Frank was on a farewell visit to the U.K. before he steps down next year.

At the ceremony, the private secretary, Rawcliffe Ziku gave a brief C.V. ending with the official citation: ‘For distinguished service and commitment to the government and people of Solomon Islands in human resources and community development.’

Over refreshments that followed there was an opportunity for reminiscing and making further acquaintance with the new High Commissioner in the U.K. who turned out to be an old student of mine from Selwyn College days.

Canon John Pinder

In This Light Book

In This Light – A collection of messages for Christmas

In This Light - Launch Event
Katie Drew (middle) from The Melanesian Mission, with contributors Lieutenant Pete Reed OBE, retired British Olympic rower and Canon Sarah Snyder, who leads Archbishop Justin’s Reconciliation Ministry and was part of the Women on the Frontline training in the Solomon Islands in September

In This Light is a collection of messages for Christmas written by the Archbishop and 47 of his friends and colleagues. Including contributions from John Kerry, Afua Hirsch, Jonathan Bryan, Sally Phillips, Bear Grylls, Grace, Anthony Ray Hinton, Jo Malone, Benjamin, Dr Agnes Abuom, Julie Etchingham and more. Journalists, politicians, priests, musicians, peace activists, actors, comedians, authors – people of different faiths and none, writing from across the world from South Korea to South Sudan, Australia to the UK, America to the Vatican.

All royalties from the book will go to support the following wonderful organisations: Caring for Ex-Offenders, part of the ministry of Holy Trinity Brompton, Equal Justice Initiative, The Melanesian Mission and Charis Tiwala.

In This Light is available to buy through all good book sellers online and on the high street.

World Mission

The World Shrinks – God Expands

‘The world shrinks, and perceptions of God expand’ was the main finding from research conducted into what happens when Christians experience positive cross-cultural encounter.

From 2014 to 2016 I was engaged on a fascinating piece of research asking questions about Diocesan Companion Links. These are the relationships, some as long as 40 years, which dioceses have with different parts of the Anglican Communion and wider ecumenical links. Questions about the nature of Companion Links relationships were paramount. What sort of relationships were they? What were the challenges and joys faced in these relationships? How were they developing into the future?

I took a case study approach to this research. Three Church of England dioceses agreed to be part of the project. They were the diocese of Bath and Wells in its relationship with the five dioceses of the Anglican Church of Zambia, the Diocese of Chelmsford and their relationship with the five dioceses of the Mount Kenya East region and the diocese of Liverpool and the diocese of Virginia in the Episcopal Church of the USA.World Mission

These three case studies provided a rich picture of following Christ in different contexts with access to vastly different resources but who were similar in worshipping and following Christ through the Anglican tradition.

I travelled to all the dioceses involved in England, Africa and the USA. I asked two simple questions – what is your experience of the link and where do you see it developing in the future? Meetings and interviews took place in churches, schools, under the mango tree and over many shared meals.

The conclusions fell into two categories – discipleship and friendship. It became clear that positive cross-cultural encounters were a source of growth and transformation for many involved in links.

Discipleship seems to be the theme of the moment. Everyone in the churches, it seems, is talking about discipleship. However, I haven’t heard a lot about the contribution of cross-cultural encounters to ongoing discipleship. What became clear early in the research was that positive cross-cultural encounter can encourage and inspire discipleship.

Here’s a story. A tragic and sudden death of a parish link co-ordinator in Bath and Wells Diocese shocked everyone. Catherine was loved in her parish and by the parish in Eastern Zambia where she had visited several times. The parishioners in Eastern Zambia were unable to attend the funeral but at the same time as the funeral was taking place in the UK the church in Zambia came together to give thanks for Catherine’s life and commit her to God. The effect of this in both places was a stronger personal link between very different places and an inspiration to follow and witness to Christ more faithfully.

A further example was found in the link between Liverpool and Virginia dioceses. A clergyman from Liverpool witnessed work with refugees in Virginia and was inspired to begin a similar work. Young people from Liverpool said that their Youth Pilgrimage helped them to talk about their faith at home. It was clear that whether experiences were between north to north contexts or north to south contexts the effects were similar.

Friendship was the major way in which links described their relationships across cultures. Friendship is an important way of expressing our common belonging in the Body of Christ through practical expressions such as visits and gift-giving. It became apparent that while the English partners were good at giving we were less happy about receiving from less materially affluent partners. There is learning to be done that recognises the wide variety of forms of gifts and that giving and receiving of gifts gives dignity to all.

The Melanesian Mission is an important expression of these principles. Encouraging discipleship and friendship is at the heart of being a mission agency.

A full copy of the research report can be accessed at; www.churchofengland.org/more/church-resources/world-mission

Janice Price, World Mission Adviser, The Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England.