Tag: Melanesian Mission

Solomon Islands, Honiara, Main Street

First Community Transmissions of COVID in Solomons

Solomon Islands, Honiara, Main Street

It is with great sadness and concern that we start the year by sharing with you the news that Solomon Islands now has COVID spreading within the islands. In just two days of the first case being identified, the 56-bed ward designated for COVID cases in Honiara is nearly full of patients, and further contact tracing is being undertaken across the islands. With only 8% of the population having received two doses of the vaccine and many people traveling after their Christmas breaks, there is a great concern for the spread of the virus. Honiara is in lockdown until Saturday and the new school year will now not begin next week.

MMUK will post the latest news stories on its Facebook and Twitter pages.


Please pray for Solomon Islands as they face this ordeal.

Lord, we bring to You our concerns for the people of Solomon Islands,
as they face their first wave of COVID infections.

We pray for the medical staff with limited facilities,
as they treat the infected and continue to look after all in their care.

We pray for those who are fearful of the coming days
and those who are afraid of having the vaccine.

And ask that truthful messages are shared across the islands to keep people healthy, safe and calm.

We remember the children missing out on the beginning of their school year
and for businesses that have to shut during the lockdown.

Lord, bring Your healing to the people of Solomons, so that they may weather this pandemic.

Amen

Coffee Mornings Cocoa Nights

Coffee Mornings – Cocoa Nights – February 2022

Coffee Mornings Cocoa Nights

Thursday 3rd February at 10am – 11am (and 7pm – 8pm) GMT

On  Thursday 3rd February at 10am – 11am and repeated again at 7pm – 8pm GMT, I will be hosting an online event to share the latest news from the region. 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

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Unrest In Honiara

STATEMENT FROM THE OFFICE OF THE ARCHBISHOP OF THE ANGLICAN CHURCH OF MELANESIA, THE MOST REV. LEONARD DAWEA.

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The Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACoM), the Most Revd Leonard Dawea, is calling on all members of the ACoM in Honiara and throughout the country to refrain from participating in illegal activities including the wanton destruction of property and looting of businesses.

The Archbishop is very concerned about the destruction of both private and public properties as witnessed last week and pleads with ACoM members, in particular our youths, to respect one another and remain at home in this very volatile situation.

He also calls on all Church and Community leaders in and around Honiara to advise your youths against these activities.

Involving in violence can only hurt ourselves as we are now experiencing with the sudden lock down of Honiara which has now resulted in many struggling to survive.

The Archbishop acknowledges that people may be frustrated by what is happening in our country regarding our political leadership, but there are more peaceful means of resolving these than resorting to violence.

At the same time the Archbishop is calling on the political leadership of this country to listen to our people’s concerns and to appropriately address them.

ACoM Communications

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John Freeman And H.E. Moses K Mosé

Solomon Islands Honorary Consul In London

Until recently, Solomon Islands had a High Commission in London, with a resident High Commissioner, so there was no need for a consul. However, financial constraints led to the High Commission being closed, and Solomon Islands being represented here by H.E. Moses K Mosé, the Ambassador to the European Union, based in Brussels.

John Freeman And H.E. Moses K Mosé
John Freeman and His Excellency Moses K Mosé

I was invited to let my name go forward for appointment as Solomon Islands honorary consul here, and in due course this was approved by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and recognized by the Foreign Office here. I worked in Solomon Islands for several years in the 1980s as a magistrate, judge and public prosecutor, and have kept up connexions with the country and its people ever since. My appointment is for London, as that is how the Foreign Office wanted it; but I shall be very glad to do whatever I can for Solomon Islands citizens wherever they happen to be in this country.

I have a formal list of duties, which I am not going to set out in full here; but this is a short summary of what look like being the main ones:

  1. Looking after the interests of Solomon Islands citizens studying, living and working here;
  2. Promoting trading, cultural, scientific and tourism links;
  3. Helping and supporting Solomon Islands official visitors to this country;
  4. Representing Solomon Islands at meetings or events here when asked to do so by the High Commissioner.

With the High Commissioner, I was present at the recent 150th anniversary commemoration of the martyrdom of Bishop John Coleridge Patteson, held at Exeter Cathedral. The Archbishop of Canterbury preached the sermon, and it was a very moving occasion: all the more so for me, as many years ago I had visited the very remote island of Nukapu, where Patteson was killed. Bishop Willie Pwaisiho OBE also spoke, and there was a video presentation by his daughter Kate, about the effects of climate change in the Solomon Islands, dramatically shown in pictures of the disappearance of her home island of Walande under the waves, as the years have passed.

This leads on to what might be called the burning question of the day, under consideration right now at the COP-26 conference. I have been asked by Katie Drew, of the Melanesian Mission UK, to help arrange an on-line meeting between their trustees and the Solomon Islands delegation to the conference, which I think is a good example of how I could help to promote scientific links between Solomon Islands and the United Kingdom. I shall be very happy to provide similar introductions for any other interested organizations, whenever the occasion arises.

However, I regard my main job as looking after individual Solomon Islands citizens in this country. I don’t expect many have had, or will have any problems with this country’s authorities, but I do have some experience of both immigration and criminal law here, which might help.

This is very much an introduction to me and my work, which has hardly started yet: I hope to meet many more of you over the next year, and have more to report at the end of it.

John Freeman

Zoom - ACoM Conference Room

Community of the Sisters of Melanesia – November 2021 Update

Zoom - ACoM Conference Room

On Saturday 6th November Associates and supporters from across the UK joined Sisters from the Community of the Sisters of Melanesia for morning prayer, which was evening prayer for the Sister in Solomons.

The Community also gave an update on the chapel rebuild at their Headquarters and other news from the Community. Building work is progressing well, but the Sisters still require another £40,000 to complete the project, due to the need for reinforced steel for the structure.

Please pray for this important project, and if you can, contact the charity to make a donation, to ensure that the Community has a completed chapel for their important ministry.

A Prayer for the Community of the Sisters of Melanesia;

Almighty God,
we pray for your blessing on this community
and the rebuilding of their chapel at their headquarters.
Fill them with your spirit, wisdom, love and power,
so that your will be done.
May they serve you without fear, shame or doubt,
through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

CSM Church Project Progress update – 8 November 2021
Report from CSM – Flory

HOW TO DONATE

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

Online: Visit mmuk.net/donate.

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

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

Community of the Sisters of Melanesia

Richard Carter at the Patteson 150 celebrations

For Those We Would Gladly Give Our Lives

Richard Carter at the Patteson 150 celebrations
Richard giving his talk at Exeter Cathedral in September 2021

At this year’s AGM and Festival Day, Revd Richard Carter, the Archbishop of Melanesia’s UK Commissary, vicar at St Martin in the Fields, London, and former Melanesian Brother was asked to speak about Patteson’s Life and Legacy –

The first Anglican missionaries to Melanesia were men and women with whom one could feel proud to be associated. The word missionary today often conjures many negative associations in the western world, men and women who crossed continents and oceans in the name of God and left behind the very conditions in which material interest, colonialism, exploitation, and white superiority could flourish. Yet in the Solomon Islands the islanders themselves still talk with love and pride about their early missionaries who established a model of sacrificial service which still inspires the young and old. Bishop George Augustus Selwyn who became the first Bishop of New Zealand in 1841 believed there should be “an episcopate of love as well as authority.”

“Missionaries must be ready at a moment to put their lives in their hands and to go out and preach the gospel to others with no weapon but prayer and with no refuge but in God.[1]

A student at Oxford John Coleridge Patteson, from Feniton, near Ottery St. Mary in Devon, heard Bishop Selwyn speak and his message inspired him. Patteson had not been a particularly outstanding student at either Eton or Oxford and in fact, apart from moderate success at cricket, his youth seemed quite unexceptional. Once Patteson joined the Melanesian Mission as a young priest his gifts were seen to flourish. He was noted for his sailor’s gift for enduring hardship, his Christian gift for deep friendship and his compassion and a linguist’s gift for being able to master many different languages of the Pacific. We sense a man who had become animated and fully alive in this mission.

What was remarkable about his ministry, and which emerges in all his writings, is the quality of his connection with the people of Melanesia and the genuine trust and respect he gave to them: he developed a relationship with the indigenous people that challenged the whole foundation of colonial prejudice.

I have for many years thought that we seek in our mission a great deal too much to make English Christians of our converts. We consciously and unanimously assume English Christianity to be necessary. We seem to denationalise these races as far as I can see; whereas we ought to change as little as possible; only what is incompatible with the simplest form of teaching and practice… Christianity is the religion for humanity at large. It takes in all shades and characters of race.[2]

The secret of these islands is to live as equals. Let them know that you are divided from them but united in Christ’s love. I do not want to make English Christians but Melanesian Christians dressed in the rich warm colour of their own native skin.

Patteson also began to question the whole position of the European missionary in relation to potential converts.

The pride of race which prompts a white man to regard Melanesians as inferior to himself, is strongly ingrained in most men’s minds, and must be wholly eradicated before they will ever win the hearts, and thus the souls of the people.[3]

His sermons express this  inclusiveness: a God who loves without prejudice irrespective of colour, tribe or creed, a God whose love knows no boundary:

And this love (of God) once generated in the heart of man , must need pass on to his brethren; that principle of life must needs grow and expand with its own inherent energy… No artificial or accidental circumstances can confine it, it recognises no human ideas of nationality or place but embraces like the dome of heaven all the works of God. And love is the animating principle of all.[4]

Patteson believed passionately that the initiative for mission should come from the Melanesians themselves and committed himself to their preparation and training, which  must involve equality and mutual respect. Patteson was convinced that Melanesians could not only become priests but better priests than many of their European counterparts:

I solve the difficulty in Melanesian work by saying ‘Use Melanesians.’ I tell people plainly:  ‘I don’t want white men!’ I have no intention of taking any more (clergy) from England, Australia or New Zealand. I sum it up thus: They cost about ten times as much as Melanesians (literally) and but a very small portion do the work as well.[5]

While Patteson may question the way in which the Christian faith is expressed, never does he doubt the relevance of the Christian message itself. In all of his letters there is a constant longing that Melanesians may know Christ and experience God’s promises. Charles Fox notes “the spirit of prayer” and “thanksgiving” which pervades all his writings. He is rigorous in his faith too, fearing sentimental attachment which would patronise the converts and overlook the need for  “true religion, sound learning and useful industry.”[6] Neither does he glamorise Melanesian culture or overlook the reality of blood feuds, tribal wars, head-hunting, and pagan practices:  he remains totally committed to the mission to bring the Gospel of Christ

What becomes increasingly obvious however is how personally and intimately he becomes involved in and respects the lives of those he seeks to convert and teach: his missionary methodology is the result of that deep care. For example in 1863 while he was training Melanesians at St. Andrew’s Kohimarama, New Zealand, there was an outbreak of dysentery which took the life of six Melanesian students and made twenty others seriously ill.

Even harder for Patteson to accept was the death of two of his most devoted Norfolk Island assistants in 1864, when they were fatally wounded in an arrow attack while returning with Patteson from the shore to the ship in Graciosa Bay, Santa Cruz.

It was relationships of genuine care and concern which had the power to convert. George Sarawia, who was to be the first Melanesian priest to be ordained, describing Patteson and the missionary example, wrote in his autobiography:

This is what they did for the sick. They were not ashamed to carry the bucket of waste matter and take it to the sea, they washed out the bucket and brought it back into the sick room. Then I thought they were doing what the Bishop had taught us in the school, that we should love one another and look after each other with love, without despising anyone, we should help the weak. All this they did to those who were sick. Then I thought it was true, if anyone taught…the things that Jesus did he must follow it himself and humble himself.[7]

Patteson’s own death became a parable for the people of Melanesia, perhaps even more powerful after his death than before it.  Before he died there is the sense of premonition of the event to come. On board the mission ship the Southern Cross he is said to have been teaching about the death of St. Stephen and to have said: “This might happen to any of us, to you or to me. It might happen today.” They reached the island of Nakapu near the Reef Islands in Temotu where Patteson requested to go ashore. It was 20th September 1871.Four men rowed him ashore but the tide was too low for them to cross the reef in the boat so the Bishop got into a canoe and went on without them although they tried to persuade him against this. He lay down to rest in the canoe house almost like sacrificial offering.  While he was lying there he was beaten to death with a club used for making bark cloth. His body was wrapped in a mat and put into a canoe and across his breast had been laid a palm branch with five knots in the leaves which led to the belief that his death was carried out in vengeance for five native men that the ‘black-birder’ slave traders had carried away from the island. Indeed in accounts we are told that Patteson’s body received five wounds, like the wounds of Christ, and only his face remained untouched.[8] It was also told that after he died darkness covered the islands and people went about with torches even at noon.

Some men then attacked the four others in the boat who were anxiously waiting for Patteson just beyond the reef: Joseph Atkin was hit by an arrow in his left shoulder, John Ngongono one in his right, Stephen Taroaniara had six arrows in him. Joseph Atkin reaching the Southern Cross immediately requested “I am going back for the Bishop who will come with me?” Then Joe Wate a boy of fifteen stepped up and said “Inau” (I), and also Charles Sapi, another fifteen year old.  They discovered the body of the Bishop floating in the canoe, one of the boys crying out “those are the bishop’s shoes.” The body of John Coleridge Patteson was buried at sea. Atkin wrote:

“It would only be selfish to wish him back. He has gone to his rest, dying as he lived, in his Master’s service. It seems a shocking way to die; but I can say from experience that it is far more to hear of than to suffer. In whatever way so peaceful a `life as his is ended, his end is peace. There was no sign of fear or pain on his face-just the look he used to have when asleep, patient and a little wearied. What a stroke his death will  be to hundreds! What the mission will do without him, God only knows Who has taken him away. His ways are not our ways.”[9]

Patteson’s followers we are told by Yonge “had deeply to drink of the cup of agony” Atkin was to die on the 27th from tetanus “his whole nervous system being jerked and strained to pieces” and his last words “I want nothing but to die.” Stephen lingered on in agony with an arrow wound in his lung, dying from tetanus on 29th of September. Bishop Patteson was 44 years of age, Atkin was 29, and Stephen about 25.

It was the news of the martyrdom of Bishop Patteson which stirred the British Government into passing laws to control the labour trade for the Queensland and Fijian plantations in the South Pacific.[10] Professor Max Muller predicted in a letter to The Times in 1872: “In the distant future, depend upon it, the name of Patteson will live in every cottage, in every school and Church of Melanesia, not as the name of a fabulous saint or martyr, but as the never to be forgotten name of a good, a brave, a God-fearing and God-loving man.”[11] This was not to prove an exaggeration, rather Muller had underestimated the legacy of his friend. Today not only do hundreds of Melanesians name their children after him but also their churches. Thousands attend his feast day and by the people he is remembered as both saint and martyr. The cross in Nukapu which marks the place where he was killed reads “His life was taken by those for whom he would gladly have given it.”

As I re-read the accounts of this story I am struck by two things. Firstly, how prophetic Patteson was to predict the indigenous growth of the church and secondly how closely the shape of this story of these missionaries’ deaths is to be repeated one hundred and fifty years later, this time by a group of indigenous missionary Brothers. Their death will also be an offering: there will be first the death of one and then the still more agonising death of those who risk their lives for him.  There will be sacrificial courage, and a tragic and seemingly futile loss of  innocent lives. It will seem that prayer has failed, and even God abandoned them. Their deaths will also rock the church and the nation, and shock all with the sacrilegious brutality of the murder of men of peace. Their deaths will seem to defeat everything they have strived for- and yet these men will also become catalysts for peace and symbols of hope. “God’s ways are not our ways” Is it simply the way we tell the story that gives it meaning and creates its shape? Or can we see something more? That here are the marks of the incarnation, and that the shape is the shape of the Gospel -Christ, his love, his death and resurrection, revealed in our own lives?

Revd Richard Carter


[1] Sermon of George Augustus Selwyn delivered at University of Cambridge 1854

[2] Charlotte Yonge 1874 Life of John Coleridge Patteson. Vol.2. London. Macmillan. 164-167

[3] Ibid. Vol.1 p.405

[4] Ibid. Vol 1  p.297

[5] The first ordination of a Melanesian was George Sarawia in 1868.

[6] Charles Fox Lord of the Southern Isles p19  The motto for St. John’s College New Zealand

[7] George Sarawia. They Came to My Island (translated and first published in 1968).Melanesian Press

[8] Margaret Cropper Shinning Lights: Six Anglican Saints of the Nineteenth Century, London 1963. p.50-67

[9] Yonge. Life of JCP. Vol 2. p.572

[10] 1872 British Government passed Pacific Island protection Act controlling the unregulated recruitment of labour.

[11] Sir John Gutch.1971 Martyr of the Islands. London: Hodder and Stoughton

Care of Creation Talk - St Lukes, Chelsea

Care of Creation Talks in Schools

What a pleasure to be able to visit schools again to talk about the care of creation and climate change in Melanesia. On 1st November I was able to visit Christ Church Chelsea & Holy Trinity Church of England Primary Schools in the Diocese of London with Revd Sam Rylands. You may remember that Revd Sam was on a placement with the Melanesian Brothers in 2019 at the beginning of the COVID pandemic and had a bit of a challenge to get home – Now The Adventure Begins.

The children at both schools listened intently as Revd Sam talked about his time in the Solomons with the Brothers and I talked about what is happening to the islands due to climate change. The children asked some very thoughtful questions, including – why is God letting this happen?

Care of Creation Talk - St Lukes, Chelsea
MMUK’s Executive Officer Katie Drew with Revd Sam Rylands

During COP26 the children will be writing their prayers and reflections for a Creation Care Compline at St Luke’s on Friday 12th November at 6pm. This will be a short and interactive service of prayer with contributions from the Melanesian Brothers, music by St Luke’s choir, and led by our youth group (many of whom went to CC). Bishop Graham will also be attending. After the service the children’s prayers will be sent to the Brothers and Bishops in Melanesia.

If you would like some resources and the PowerPoint presentation to give a similar talk to your local primary schools or children’s groups, please contact MMUK.

More on the service at St Luke’s

Creation Compline (Friday 12 November, 6pm at St Luke’s):

The UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) is being held between 31st October and 12th November. During this period, in our schools and in the parish, we will be focusing our prayers and reflections on the issue of climate change.

On Friday 12th November, 6pm at St Luke’s, to mark the end of COP26 we will be a holding a youth-led Creation Compline. This will be a simple, reflective, and interactive service of prayer and music, as we ask God to give us vision for how we might play our part in stewarding and caring for God’s good creation. This will also have contributions from the Melanesian Brothers, whose Islands are being depleted by ever rising sea-levels.

So, please do join us for this! All are very welcome!

For more information please contact: samuelrylands@chelseaparish.org   

Selwyn College Prize Giving

Selwyn College Prize Giving

The ACoM’s premier secondary school, Selwyn College, held its prize giving ceremony on 23 October. Hundreds of parents and school supporters turned up to witness and participate in the day’s program.

Selwyn College Prize Giving

The dignitaries attending the ceremony included the ACoM Archbishop Most Rt Revd Leonard Dawea; the ACoM General Secretary, Dr Abraham Hauriasi; the ACoM Education Secretary, Dr James Memua; Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development, Mr James Manebona and many more Government and Church dignitaries.

Selwyn College Prize Giving

In his speech the Archbishop, who is also the chairman of Selwyn College school board, congratulated the school principal, the school administration and teachers for the excellent work they are doing as teachers of the college. He said the result of the teachers’ dedication to their teaching responsibility had shown in the excellent academic performances of most students from Forms 1 to 7.

It is the first time ever since Form 7 was introduced in the college that most of the Form 7 students have achieved the highest scores of A+ both in Science and Arts subjects. This can lead to the award of scholarships to regional and overseas universities to continue their academic journey.

The total number of Form 7 students is 48, 25 of whom were Arts students and were awarded A+ results and 14 were awarded A+ in four different fields of Science subjects.

The School Principal, Rev Davidson Ngwairamo, in his speech also expressed his heartfelt gratitude to teachers for their good work and encouraged them to maintain it.

The program ended with feasting after the presentation of prizes.

Timothy Vildam

Patteson's Way Pilgrim Route

Melanesian Brotherhood Companions Commemorate St Simon & St Jude

On 30th October Companions of the Melanesian Brotherhood in the Diocese of Exeter organised a service for St Simon and St Jude at St Andrew’s Feniton and then walked the new Patteson’s Way pilgrimage route.

  • Patteson's Way Pilgrim Route
  • Patteson's Way Pilgrim Route
  • Patteson's Way Pilgrim Route
  • Patteson's Way Pilgrim Route
  • Patteson's Way Pilgrim Route
  • Patteson's Way Pilgrim Route
  • Patteson's Way Pilgrim Route
  • Patteson's Way Pilgrim Route

The Melanesian Brotherhood is an Anglican religious community based primarily in the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Papua New Guinea. The Brotherhood aims to live the Gospel in a direct and simple way following Christ’s example of prayer, mission and service. The Brothers take the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. These are not life vows but for a period of five years, which can be renewed. They train for three years as Novices and make their vows as Brothers at the Feast of St Simon and St Jude. Companions, who promise to pray for and support the Brotherhood, held their service as 52 Novices became Brothers at the religious community’s headquarters at Tabalia in the Solomon Islands. There are 30 Companions to the Brotherhood in Devon and 80 more across the UK.

After the service the Companions and supporters walked the 8-mile circular Patteson’s Way led by Companion Simon Franklin, visiting Alfington, Ottery St Mary, Patteson’s Cross and back to Feniton.

One of the pilgrims, Mary Lorimer from Tale, said: “We really enjoyed our walk along the Patteson’s Way on Saturday. It was lovely to have the opportunity to take some time out from our usual everyday lives to spend a few hours appreciating our beautiful East Devon countryside, meeting other people and learning about – and from – the life of Bishop Patteson. When we returned to Feniton we felt as though we had been away much longer, as we had had such an informative and interesting afternoon. It really was a very refreshing break.”

Earlier in October Chester Companions gathered at Foxhill for their Eucharist, meeting and to admit three new Companions.  

A prayer for the Melanesian Brotherhood –

ALMIGHTY God, your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
by obeying you and offering himself, has shown us the true way of service;
may the men of the Melanesian Brotherhood serve you in the way that he did,
showing faithful love and being true to you alone,
so that, by your power, the work they are called to do may bear good fruit,
and make your loving plan for all mankind come true,
to the glory of your name; through the same your Son our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and rules with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.
Amen.

A prayer for Companions to the Melanesian Brotherhood –

Strengthen, O God, we pray you,
all Companions of the Brotherhood,
here in this place, around the UK and across Melanesia,
that we may faithfully keep our promises and daily service to you in good works.
Make us to be of one heart and mind,
and to show others the love that comes from you.
Let all that Jesus commanded his Church to be
to us as a light that never goes out,
And our glad obedience as fire that is always burning,
through the same Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour
Amen.

For more information on the Melanesian Brotherhood or on becoming a Companion, contact the charity.

Coffee Mornings Cocoa Nights

Coffee Mornings – Cocoa Nights – December 2021

Coffee Mornings Cocoa Nights

Wednesday 1st December at 10am – 11am (and 7pm – 8pm) GMT

On  Wednesday 1st December at 10am – 11am and repeated again at 7pm – 8pm GMT, 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