Tag: Melanesian Brothers

Melanesian Brothers

The Right Revd Dr Keith Joseph, Bishop of North Queensland

More Flooding At Selwyn College

Last month Selwyn College was flooded, and the school had to be evacuated and closed. The Right Revd Dr Keith Joseph, Bishop of North Queensland, looks back on his experience of flooding on Guadalcanal.

“I was a lecturer at Bishop Patteson Theological College in February 2009 when the first big floods to hit North-West Guadalcanal happened. Selwyn College was flooded, all the food garden around the college were flooded, but the floods were more widespread across all of the area from Selwyn College back towards Honiara. About 10,000 people lost their food gardens, sources of fresh water were polluted for months, homes and villages destroyed. At least twenty people drowned.

The heavy rains were not particularly new, though with Climate Change there might be more periods of sustained heavy rain than before. But in this case the new factor was deforestation. Before, when there were heavy rains, the forests on top of the hills and mountains held the water and released it gradually. But without the forests the rain just ran off the soil immediately and there was “flash flooding”. Since 2009 there has been more deforestation and more flooding.

The cause of deforestation and the cause of climate change are the same: human greed which sees the environment as something to be used and abused without consequences. The cash stays with the big men but does not get to the people who need it – but they are the ones who suffer the consequences of deforestation and climate change. The Churches must take a prophetic role: they must tell out that this abuse of the environment is ungodly and goes against the Bible. In Genesis 1.26 we humans are given “dominion” over creation – but this is never ownership. God owns creation. We are simply his stewards, entrusted with his creation for our use and that of our children and grandchildren, remembering that in the end we all will return to him. In the Old Testament the people of God are told to look after the land, to give it sabbath – and then condemned for not doing so (2 Chronicles 36.21). Like the prophets of old we are called to proclaim God’s justice against those who spoil his creation.”

+ Keith

The Right Revd Dr Keith Joseph
Bishop of North Queensland

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Litany of Environmental Lament and Repentance From Melanesia

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

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

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

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

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

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

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

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

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

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

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

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

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

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

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

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

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

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

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

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

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

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

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

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

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

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Welcome at Chester Rest House

A chance to see : The Solomon Islands

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

Two weeks in Guadalcanal and Nggela Islands.

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

Tuesday September 15th to Thursday October 1st 2020.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tony Sparham

The City is my Monastery: A Contemporary Rule of Life - Richard Carter

The City is my Monastery: A Contemporary Rule of Life

New Book – The City is my Monastery: A Contemporary Rule of Life

Canterbury Press published October 2019

This book is based on my experiences of being a Melanesian Brother and then returning to the UK to become a priest at St Martin-in-the-Fields in the centre of London. It tells of my search to live more prayerfully and sustainably in the middle of the city and to live out the values I had learnt from the Melanesian Brotherhood. The book describes my search through silence, service, sacrament, scripture, sharing, Sabbath time, and stability to build community that is generous, spacious and welcoming and to live values which can sustain us in all the stresses of the modern world.

Rowan Williams writes in the afterword of this book:

“This wonderful book is both recognizable and startlingly new. What we have here is a workbook for living in and with meaning. Christian meaning. Jesus shaped meaning.”

Rev Richard Carter

Melanesian Brotherhood Great Conference 2019

Great Conference of the Melanesian Brotherhood – October 2019

What a huge joy it was to be in the Solomon Islands again and to spend two weeks at the Headquarters of the Melanesian Brotherhood at Tabalia. I was very privileged to be invited by the Melanesian Brotherhood to lead the Brotherhood Retreat and Workshop for Brothers and Companions for their Great Conference 2019. It was wonderful that two of our Companions from the UK Barbara Molyneux and Ruth Chesworth also took part and presented the report from our UK Companions.

The new Archbishop and Father of the Brotherhood The Most Revd Leonard Dawea attended the retreat, and chaired the election of new leaders and the conference presiding at the feast day of St Simon and Jude and the admission of 26 new Brothers. The Melanesian Brotherhood (MBH) elected Br. Jairus Honiseu as their new Head Brother and Br. Augustine Paikeni as Assistant Head brother. Br. Jairus is from Lenga village in Ulawa Island, Makira Ulawa Province and Br. Augustine is from Isabel. The brothers also elected Br. Alister Knights as the Regional Head Brother for Solomon Islands Region; Br. Enis David as Regional Head Brother for Southern Region, that includes Vanuatu, and Br. Joe Narui as the Regional Head Brother for Papua New Guinea.

Archbishop Leonard Dawea and the New MBH Leaders
Archbishop Leonard Dawea and the New MBH Leaders

I found the Melanesian Brotherhood in very good heart. The Headquarters at Tabalia is looking more beautiful than ever and we and many others were welcomed with such overwhelming generosity and hospitality. Brother Nelson Bako who studied with us at Chester College had done a wonderful job as Head Brother for the last three years. Huge gardens had been prepared so that all the many guests could be fed and we were overwhelmed by the care and planning that had gone into making this conference such an inspiring event. It really was like living the Beatitudes. The retreat I led focused on the foundation stones of religious life- silence, service, sacrament, scripture, sharing and stability and in the workshop we explored these themes with Brothers and Companions really participating. In the evenings we had talks, dance and music and it was wonderful to see a great production of Ini Kopuria about the founder of the Brotherhood, a play I first wrote for the community more than 20 years ago. I was also so pleased to be there with our UK companions Barbara and Ruth who really have served as such faithful Companions: our Companions and support and prayer for the Brotherhood in UK is so deeply appreciated and the Melanesian Brotherhood particularly asked me to convey to all Companions, the Melanesian Mission UK and all their friends- their greetings, thanks and prayers.

Richard Cater and Most Reverend Leonard Dawea
Richard Cater and Most Reverend Leonard Dawea

The Brotherhood Conference focused on the work in all the Regions including Papua New Guinea Vanuatu and Philippines. Particularly moving were the stories of how the Brothers had soi bravely faced the volcano on Ambae in Vanuatu and relocation of their household. Other exciting developments were the training programme and library at Tabalia, the new mission household in Australia and the new household planned for the Torres Straits and the courage and perseverance of the the Brothers in Palawan in the Philippines. I was particularly impressed by the wise and careful strategic planning and financial management of the Melanesian Brotherhood through the wise oversight of Alphonse Garimae. His very important role and dedicated work was acknowledged by all at the conference. Our new Father of the Brotherhood and Archbishop presided over everything with such a wonderfully refreshing humility, wisdom and grace. It was so wonderful to be back with this inspiring community and to worship and pray with them again.

Revd Richard Carter

MBH Head Brother Jairus Honiseu

New Leaders For The Melanesian Brotherhood

THE MELANESIAN BROTHERHOOD (MBH) elected Br. Jairus Honiseu as their new Head Brother and Br. Augustine Paikeni as Assistant Head brother last month. Br. Jairus is from Lenga village in Ulawa Island, Makira Ulawa Province. He was admitted into the Brotherhood in 2016 and was posted to Chester Rest House as brother in charge. Seven months before being elected Head Brother he became the elder Brother at Tabalia, the headquarters of the Brotherhood, west Guadalcanal.

Br. Augustine from Isabel was admitted into the Brotherhood in 2016 and held several posts at Tabalia, Chester Rest House and recently in Australia before being elected.

The brothers also elected Br. Alister Knights as the Regional Head Brother for Solomon Islands Region; Br. Enis David as Regional Head Brother for Southern Region, that includes Vanuatu, and Br. Joe Narui as the Regional Head Brother for Northern Region (Papua New Guinea). Br. Alister Knights from Isabel was admitted to the Brotherhood in 2017 and was posted to Welshman Section Headquarters in the Diocese of Ysabel. Br. Enis from Vanuatu was admitted to the Brotherhood in 2014 and had served at the Regional Headquarters for Southern region at Tumsisiro in Vanuatu. Br. Joe from Papua New Guinea was admitted to the Brotherhood in 2008 and had served at the Section Headquarters of the Brotherhood in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

The Most Reverend Leonard Dawea, father of the Brotherhood, declared the results straight after the election.

Br. Enis David and Br. Joe Narui will be blessed by their section fathers in their respective regions by their regional fathers.

The Archbishop of the Anglican Church in Papua New Guinea, the Most Reverend Allan Migi, also came to witness the ceremony and the great conference of the Brotherhood.

Keep our Brothers, especially the new leaders, in our prayers as they prepare to take on the responsibilities in their respective areas.

Archbishop Leonard Dawea and the New MBH Leaders
Archbishop Leonard Dawea and the New MBH Leaders

The Melanesian Brotherhood

 

MBH 14th Great Conference

The Melanesia Brotherhood 14th Great Conference

THE MELANESIAN BROTHERHOOD (MBH) hold their ‘14TH GREAT CONFERENCE’ this week.

The two week programme began with a welcome ceremony on Saturday 12th October. This was followed by an opening Eucharist Service on Sunday, which was led by the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia and Father of the Brotherhood, the Most Reverend Leonard Dawea.

The Great Conference first week begins on Monday 14th and will have all the Brothers, Novices and MBH Companions coming together for retreat, workshops and Bible reflections. This will be followed by the election of new leaders for the community taking place on Saturday 19th.

Monday 21st and Tuesday 22nd will the Brothers Conference followed by the Companions Conference on Wednesday 23rd and Thursday 24th.

Sunday 27th is MBH feast day; Saint Simon and Saint Jude and all Companions, supporters, family members and friends in and around Tabalia (MBH Headquarters, West Guadalcanal) are welcome to join the brothers in this feast day.

Apart from other activities that would be staged throughout the two week programme are Bible reflections, praise and worship, dramas, Evangelism and Intentional Discipleship talks, Health and awareness talks to name a few.

The Melanesian Brotherhood has regional headquarters in Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands. They also have working households in the Philippines and Australia and Companions across Melanesia, the UK and Canada.

The Theme for this year’s great conference is: ‘Empowering the Values of the Melanesian Brotherhood and Companions’.

Let us keep our Brothers and Companions in prayer for this great event.

CANDIDATES FOR THE ELECTION OF MELANESIAN BROTHERHOOD LEADERS

19TH OCTOBER 2019, TABALIA HEAD QUARTERS, SOLOMON ISLANDS.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA REGION

  1. BR. MARTIN OGOBA
  2. BR. DAVID IGARA
  3. BR. RODNEY GEARUA
  4. BR. JOE NARUI

SOUTHERN REGION, VANUATU

  1. BR. ENIS DAVID
  2. BR.FELIX RAYMOND
  3. BR. FRANKLYN SALE
  4. BR. ABRAHAM HURI

SOLOMON ISLANDS REGION

  1. BR. GEORGE BUGORO
  2. BR. AUGUSTIN PAIKENI
  3. BR. JAIRUS HOUNISEU
  4. BR. ALISTER KNIGHTS

The election date will be on 19th October 2019 at St. Marks Chaple, Tabalia 10.00am to be conducted by the New Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia, Leonard Dawea.

Thanks

Alphonse Garimae

Article & Photos – Melanesian Brotherhood

DoCM ACoM Provincial Youth Convention

Lizzie Campbell – Six Weeks In The Solomons

For six weeks this summer, I travelled to Solomon Islands to experience the Anglican Church and religious orders on the other side of the world. Having left Europe only once before in my life there was little that could prepare me for this life-changing experience.

Before leavingCSM Verana'aso home, I felt trepidation; would I be safe? Would I enjoy myself? How homesick was I going to get? I didn’t expect to see a whole new perspective on my faith and the church into which I will be ordained in 2 years.

Week One: I stayed in Verana’aso with the Melanesian Sisters. Living without running water or electricity was a shock at first, but the wonderful hospitality of the sisters eased the transition! I was delighted by the fresh fruit such as mangoes straight from the tree, and the wonderful sunrises, sunsets and starry skies.

The offices were the rhythm of each day for me, interspersed with attending the Youth Convention at Selwyn College. I’m currently a student at Selwyn College, Cambridge so it was a great experience to attend bible studies and worship at our sister institution!

DoCM ACoM Provincial Youth ConventionI sometimes struggled with the theology taught in the bible study classes, mainly because it was a lot more conservative than I am used to. This was a consistent paradigm shift for me over the course of my trip: namely, what does it mean to be ‘in communion’ with other Anglican churches, and how can the worldwide church live together with our differences in integrity? I believe I have a much better idea of what binds us together as an Anglican communion due to my time in Solomon Islands.

I spent week two in Tabalia with the Melanesian Brotherhood. This week was quieter than the week at Verana’aso, but the worship was louder! I loved to wake up for morning prayer and then to be truly woken up by the singing there.

I enjoyed chatting to the novices and walking along the beach with them. I visited Kohimarama and chatted to students, I edited Brother Christom’s thesis from which I learned a lot about the challenges facing those brothers who transition from life in the order to life in the laity.

Week Three was spent at TNK with the Sisters of the Church. Meeting Sr Veronica was wonderful and talking to her about the joys and challenges of being a woman who is ordained to the priesthood in Solomon Islands was very illuminating.

Week Four on Ysabel was a real highlight of my trip, from the beautiful location of the rest-house where I stayed in Jejevo, to the amazing hospitality I received from local people, inside and outside the church.

I went to an ordination in a town called Nareabu, followed by a feast. This amazing community event was a tremendously spiritual experience for me, reminding me of our call as Christians to serve and be served by one another.

Finally, I spent a week in Honiara, visiting the local schools, the cathedral, attending a celebration for Makira day, and saying goodbye to the friends from the religious communities that I had made during my stay. I also managed on a free day to go scuba diving which was incredible!

My time in Solomon Islands was life changing. I loved to see how others live their lives in such a different way to the one I am living, and yet we are joined together in the Anglican Communion, and the Christian Church. The friends I made will remain in my heart forever, and the experience will inform my ministry. I have learned the benefits of living slowly, welcoming openly and worshipping loudly!

Thank you MMUK for this opportunity, and for all your help and support throughout this once in a lifetime experience.

Lizzie Campbell

Solomon Island Flag

Solomon Islands’ Independence Day

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

Trinity 3 – Ottery St Mary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ven John Rawlings

Chester Companions

Companions of the Melanesian Brotherhood – Report from Chester and the North Section to Companions and Associates Meeting at St Martin-in-the-Fields – 4th May 2019

In 2018 our Diocese remembered the 30th Anniversary of our Diocesan Link with the Anglican Church of Melanesia. Head Brother Nelson Bako and his Section Elder Brother at Tabalia, Brother Michael Bosawai visited the UK to meet and inspire Companions and friends and were present at our celebration day at Foxhill, our Diocesan Retreat Centre. Our Chaplain Father Richard was also present, along with members of the Pwaisiho Family and two Sisters of the Church. All these Solomon Islanders, I include Father Richard as a Solomon Islander, brought their love and joy of living with them. Father Richard celebrated the Eucharist and Head Brother spoke to us. The Brothers brought a gift of a large cross, constructed by a Brother, for this anniversary at Foxhill. Father Richard interviewed our guests and we has some lovely Melanesian singing, a special day for all at Foxhill. Our two Brothers spent a week in Chester and were able to visit Bishop Peter and Head Brother Nelson visited the University of Chester, from where he graduated in 2011. Section Elder Brother Michael, who has studied agriculture in the Western Province was very happy when Revd Canon Ian Davenport arranged a visit to a farm and a primary school in Malpas, Cheshire. They worshipped at the Cathedral and fitted in visits to St Bridget’s Primary School, West Kirby and Woodchurch High School, with a urban farm situated on a housing estate, both schools being linked with schools in the Solomon Islands. In addition, they visited the Sisters of Jesus Way who are supporting the Sisters of Melanesia. Our Sisters have recently sent books to the Sisters and tools to the Brotherhood which have been much appreciated. The Brothers were able to come to Holy Island on our annual pilgrimage to remember Ini Korpuria, their founder. The Brothers and 20 Companions were led across the sands by our Chaplain.

Chester Companions are able to send funds to provide lunches for Novices at Tabalia every quarter. We aim to meet close to those Feast Days that the Brothers remember. Our best attended meeting has always been on the Feast Day of SS Simon and Jude because for many years this has been hosted by Bishop Willie and Mummie Kate at Gawsworth. Bishop Willie retired at the beginning of this year and they have moved a mile or two down the road to the village of Henbury. The Pwaisihos have been so generous in their friendship, advice and feasting and we wish them a happy retirement and are glad they are still nearby.

We are grateful to Bishop Peter and our Diocese who have been able to help when crises arise as in Vanuatu when the regional HQ has to evacuate their beautiful island of Ambae and relocate at Beau on the island of Malo, where they started with nothing.

The Companions were pleased to welcome Bishop James Tema of Vanuatu and New Caledonia and Bishop Rickson Maomaoru of Malaita and Bishop Peter hosted a supper party for his senior staff and Companions. The two Bishops met with former Dean Stephen Smalley who opened Chester Rest House in1994 and has corresponded with Bishop Rickson since then.

Plans are in hand to have a Martyrs Chapel in Chester Cathedral; this is for modern martyrs and Companions and Brothers are working with the Cathedral.

Three Companions have passed away in the last 12 months, namely Revd Margaret Jones, Jane Bartlett and Sally Spencer, our Chester Companions Secretary. Sally died suddenly and was well known by Brothers who came to UK and all our Companions. A very keen MU member, sang in her church choir, helped at Messy Church, gave lifts, and hosted Bishops and Brothers. She was never late and never too busy to lend a hand, helping to pack and transport boxes for shipments, a perfect friend, sharing joys and sorrows. She is much missed. In addition, we have mourned the sudden passing of Sister Marie, one of the founder members of the Sisters of Jesus Way. She was very happy to give me books to send to the CSM sisters only last December.

We give thanks to our Chaplain Revd Richard Carter for his example and his encouragement.

We thank God for our Melanesian Brothers and Sisters, from whom we can learn so much.

For these and all his mercies may God’s holy name be praised.

Barbara Molyneux