Tag: Mothers’ Union

Mothers’ Union

Mary Sumner Day Eucharist 2022

Melanesian Visitors in Devon

9th / 10th / 16th August 2022

The Exeter Melanesia Link Group is delighted to be hosting guests from Melanesia, following the Lambeth Conference. The Rt Revd Willie Tungale, Bishop of the Diocese of Temotu and Mrs Ruth Tungale, and the Rt Revd Steven Koete from Central Solomons, will be in the diocese making a Patteson pilgrimage, visiting the sites connected to their first Bishop – John Coleridge Patteson. This is their first time in the UK, and they will be visiting Exeter Cathedral and the parish churches in Alfington, Feniton and Ottery St Mary. Our guests will attend the Mary Sumner Day Eucharist at Ottery St Mary on Tuesday 9th August at 2.30pm and the midweek Eucharist at Exeter Cathedral at 1.15pm on Wednesday 10th August. All are welcome to attend these services and meet our guests.

Mary Sumner Day Eucharist 2022

Revd Brother Nelson MBH from the Melanesian Brotherhood is also in the UK as part of the Lambeth Conference Chaplaincy team. Following the conference, Revd Br Nelson will be in Devon as a guest speaker at a Melanesian Quiet Day at Southleigh on Tuesday 16th August, along with Revd Br Clark Berge SSF. If you would like to attend the Quiet Day from 9.30am – 4.30pm, please book your place and lunch – call 01297 552307 or email office@holyford.org.

Southleigh Quiet Day
Children of Anuta

Provincial Mothers’ Union Tour of The Diocese of Temotu

Preparing for a mission to Temotu requires much planning as the Islands are scattered across this remote Diocese. One of the aims, as Provincial Mothers’ Union (PMU) President, is to visit as many Dioceses as possible and as Temotu had not been visited for three years we made it a priority to make a mission trip to the area.

We had two specific aims in our visit. Firstly, we needed to address the area of leadership (in the absence of both a Diocesan Mothers’ Union President and a Vice President) and secondly, we had been given the resources to help communities in their response to Covid 19, communities which due to their remoteness had been difficult to support.

Following his consecration as the Bishop of Temotu Diocese in February, the Right Reverend Willie Tungale, had made plans for a tour of the Outer Islands, and so the mission visit became a possibility.

On arrival we collected data on the various MU programmes, and also looked at MU membership in the islands, the existing women’s projects such as literacy and parenting and we also collected information on government services such as education and health, transport and communication to discover their main challenges and needs. We also wanted to find out what information had reached the area regarding Covid 19.

We were also able to provide encouragement by bringing news of the international work of the MU and of course encouragement in their work to hold firmly to the parenting values that promote stable Christian family life, to be strong in prayer life, to work together with church leaders and chiefs and elders. We also called for husbands to support the Mothers’ Union work and their programmes.

Various challenges became clear, the obvious one being the remoteness of the islands (Nukapu, Pileni, Duff Islands. Anuta, Tikopia, Vanikoro and Utupua) which makes it both expensive and risky to visit. Unfortunately, because of its poor economy, many shipping companies do not prioritise this area to bring services to the communities. They are vulnerable to both natural and man-made disasters such as cyclones and strong winds, rough seas, sea rise, tsunami, etc. Communication is also challenging, with poor phone signals.

Medical service for very serious cases is always a big issue and sadly we still see the oppression for women and girls.

We also found various strengths to be thankful for, both economical as well as spiritual. The vast oceanic resources could be developed, as could internal tourism, and there is drinking water on Duff Islands, Anuta and Tikopia that can be exported to Honiara to bring income to the communities. Due to the remoteness there is a deep reliance on God.

As various issues came to light, we have been able to make some strong recommendations, including the introduction of training workshops for the women and a careful look at the communication of issues surrounding Covid 19.

We were very blessed to be able to make this visit and we give thanks to God for opportunity. During the tour we received warm hospitality on all the islands and we saw the safe birth of three babies aboard the Southern Cross.

Pamela Abana, Mothers’ Union President

Christian Care Centre

News from the Christian Care Centre

This year at the Christian Care Centre we have Sister Ruth Hope, as the coordinator, Sisters Daisy, Sister Mary, and Sister Aneath are the new members of staff. There are also three Sisters from the Community of the Sisters of Melanesia, who are also part of the staff. Shortly the centre will be led by Sr Rosa Catherine from CSC.

Monthly the centre receives an average of 230 women and girls who are survivors of all forms of violence. Young babies and children accompany their mothers to the centre and grandmothers come to stay with their granddaughters during their stay at the centre. Clients and staff attend classes on life skills and work-related sessions with the Sisters.


The High Commissioner for Australia came to visit and to unveil a plaque for our Solar Lighting which has really helped us with the cost of purchasing diesel and having lights on all night. We acknowledge our pastoral visitors from the Catholic Seminary who come monthly to celebrate mass.  Rev Sister Veronica who comes weekly to visit and to celebrate Holy Communion when she is available and provides counselling for our mothers and young girls and staff besides her monthly schedule as rostered.

Rev Sister Veronica always bring with her one or two Postulants and Novices from TNK to come out for a day to assist the staff at the centre when and if there is a need for extra hands and for this we are very thankful.


The Sisters at CCC also attend trainings at the Centre which are taught by an Associate who is a member of the staff at the Centre. Sisters and Novices from TNK or Patteson House are also invited to attend these trainings at the centre by our support networks. Recently there was a training session on kastom gardening and also on gender awareness. Another very important training session was held in August from a women’s organisation who came to talk about women’s health.

Students doing studies on Social Work and Gender at the local USP centre and an organisation in Fiji are doing attachments at the centre and the Sisters are very grateful for extra hands to help and also teach sisters and clients craft skills.


CCC has a preparedness plan where we have taken some strategic measures for keeping our clients at the centre updated with information weekly. We have an Emergency Plan and a possible lock down at the confirmation of a first positive case of COVID-19. We will not admit anyone unless they are of very high risk of being harmed, and have tested negative for COVID. To date Solomon Islands has 13 positive case of the virus, but they are in isolation and contained.


For 16 Days of Activism 2020 we are planning to do awareness sessions with communities around our centre and to raise awareness on how to report domestic violence to the police and to refer clients to us for counselling.

Sisters at the CCC thank the Sisters at Henderson and TNK for their garden produce for our clients at CCC.

Thank you to all our Sisters, Associates and friends, Mothers’ Union members worldwide and locally for your support and prayers.

Mrs Ethel Suri
Christian care Centre

Mary Sumner Day

Mary Sumner Day

Mothers’ Union Provincial President, Pamela Abana, looks back at how Mary Sumner Day was commemorated across Melanesia.

Mary Sumner Day was celebrated in a number of ways across the Solomon Islands, with some events under tighter COVID restrictions than others.

In the capital Honiara because of COVID, gatherings were restricted so the Diocese of Central Melanesia organised parish events. At St Barnabas Cathedral Mary Sumner Day was celebrated along with the Blessed Virgin Mary on the 15th August with participation from the Girls’ Friendly Society and Companions of the Melanesian Brotherhood celebrating together. The day began with prayer and Holy Communion followed by a brief history of Mary Sumner, followed by lunch and entertainment.

Mary Sumner Day

In the Diocese of Central Solomons, Gaeta district admitted four men as associates. In Vatilau district MU members dramatized the challenges they faced in the early days of the MU and shared their passion in how being a Mothers’ Union member helps them in their spiritual growth. Some testified that without the Mothers’ Union they wouldn’t have such a strong faith as they have now. While others shared the challenges they had faced as their husbands did not want them to join the organisation. One women told the gathering that her husband hides her clothes or puts her uniform in a bucket of water so she cannot attend MU Meetings. After these stories were shared, some of the men at Vatilau district realised how important the MU ministry was for their wives and family as a whole, and are now looking forward to supporting them better in the future.

All in all, the Mothers’ Union in Melanesia keeps the mission going, including home visits, prayers and teachings. We really thank God for protecting us up until now as we are still relatively COVID free! We also continue to pray for all Christian families and MU members out there whose lives are in danger during this COVID era.

Oldest MU Member, Mirriam Kuakuani
Our Oldest Mothers’ Union Member, Mirriam Kuakuani – front row centre
Admitting Four New Associates
Admitting Four New Associates

Ethel from Vanuatu reports

Due to COVID restrictions, Mary Sumner Day, on 9th August was celebrated only in Parishes. In Sola Parish members commemorated Mary Sumner Day with home visitations to pray and bless the sick and those in need. In Sarakata Parish in Luganville, a message on the legacy of Mary Sumner was read to the congregation and after the service there was the sharing of cake and tea.  In the two Vanuatu dioceses there have not been any cases of COVID yet, but the MU has been part of the COVID awareness team that distribute handwashing materials and demonstrations to Pentecost Island.  The group was also involved in the response and relief activities following Tropical Cyclone Harold, particularly on gender-based violence and discrimination.

Mothers’ Union Provincial Office, Honiara

MU Members and Freshly Boiled Ferns

Impact of Covid-19 Pandemic on Families in the Solomon Islands

The COVID-19 Pandemic, needless to say, is having a huge impact on the lives of people, families, communities and the nation, as it is globally. At the outset, the State of Emergency placed on the country, as declared by His Excellency the Governor General Sir David Vunagi and the Prime Minister Honourable Manasseh Sogavare, at very short notice awakened all citizens of the danger ahead. On the one hand it prompts people to take immediate action to safeguard lives, but at the same time the hasty decisions made by many town dwellers to be repatriated to their home islands, has caused death and many other challenges that will affect them in the long run.Crops

This involved scaling down of services by the Government, Diplomats, Private Sectors, Churches, Non-Government and many Civil Societies. The prime issue here is the reduction of employees that involves either termination of employment or reduction of wages/salaries until the nation is declared safe in July 2020. Families of those concerned are badly affected and it will take a long time for them to settle down again.

There was the call by the Prime Minister at the outset when the State of Emergency was declared for citizens to be repatriated to their home islands in order to reduce the number of people living in the capital city, Honiara. Our Culture of one-talk is embedded with the praxis of overcrowding of homes in the city and in the event where the virus arrives in the country, it will spread very fast because of such situations in many homes. It was for this reason that repatriation was called for. However, when the mass exodus of citizens back to the islands took place, there is also over-crowding brought to homes in the islands and shortage of food might become an issue very soon. Many have raised their concerns on this because they have not planned to produce enough food for such unexpected crowds.

Secondly, in cases where hasty decisions were made, we lost 27 lives at sea when a passenger boat repatriated people to Malaita during Cyclone Harold in April. Those who died were washed into the ocean and were drowned when a huge wave hit the boat. Only seven bodies were found, and the rest are still missing today. Most of them were students who unfortunately were excited to go home, only then to lose their lives. The Government and the Church are still dealing with the survivors’ parents, guardians and relatives, helping them with their trauma and grieving.

Since the closure of the schools across the country on March 23rd, all children have been staying at home, while those who only study in the capital return to their homeland. The Solomon Island Government (SIG) announced all classes to resume on May 25th. In Honiara, though no COVID-19 cases are confirm, all schools still apply social distancing, so classes are split and pupils come to school on different days. So, I would say children and students attending schools in Honiara have had their learning affected, while those schoolings in the islands, classes have resume.

In terGarden Potatoesms of food security, families living in the capital are encouraged to engage in Food Management Programmes. It is understood that in the long run the economy of the country will be affected badly, and so growing our own edible crops is highly encouraged as a way to address the post-COVID era.

The government has distributed vegetable seeds and nurseries to town dwellers and stakeholders, including ACoM. The clergy in all the dioceses were made aware of their roles, should the deadly virus be confirmed in the country. In the meantime, all are expected to be alert and listen carefully on the radio and different media outlets for updates from the government regarding COVID-19.

The Mothers’ Union members, their programmes and activities at the grassroots level are continuing as usual, except for the Provincial Office (PMU), Honiara Parishes and the diocesan offices. However, other MU members in Honiara lately have reached out to satellite members and run cooking lessons on preparing simple breakfast and meals. The result was excellent as it brings women together by sharing their cooking skills with one another in such a time. Truly it promotes Christ’s love and care in his mission.

Overall, families and the church as a whole are embracing the situation of COVID-19 with nothing but continuous prayer for guidance. For whatever may happen we will put it all in God’s hands. It is also a time to reflect on our daily lives that nothing is permanent, but always to seek the mind of God as we continue to share this life with Christ Jesus.

Love in God’s Service

Pamela Abana, Provincial President, Mothers’ Union Office, Honiara, Solomon Islands








Daphne Jordan, His Excellency Sir David Vunagi, Lady Mary Vunagi and Cate Edmonds

General Report of Melanesian Trip September 2019

After a long journey it was great to be greeted by Father Rayner in Port Villa. After settling into our hotel, we were visited by Karen Bell the new High Commissioner for Vanuatu. Karen explained her new role as there hasn’t been a HC in Vanuatu for fourteen years. It was interesting to note that with Brexit looming the British Government were setting up fourteen new High Commissions in the South Pacific, the West Indies and in Africa. Karen explained that she had three main roles; Working with the Government on issues of democracy, World relations and especially trade with Britain, and Climate Change. We introduced her to the work of MMUK and the schools and links programme as well as promoting the Article One project. Karen has a limited budget for projects but would be interested in a proposal from Article One. She was also interested in being introduced to Bishop James and I have forwarded his contact details. She saw that the three important and leading groups in the Vanuatu life were the Government, the Chiefs and the Church.

Cate Edmonds, Rt Rev James Tama Bishop of Vanuatu and New Caledonia and Daphne Jordon
Cate Edmonds, Rt Rev James Tama Bishop of Vanuatu and New Caledonia and Daphne Jordan

The next day we departed early for Espiritu Santo where we were met by old friends Joses, Diocesan Secretary, though recently retitled Operations Manager and Augustine, Director of Education. We later met with Bishop James and his staff at the Diocesan offices. We were able to explain a little about ourselves, they were shocked that as a Rural Dean I had responsibility for oversight of 32 parishes, and our project. The next few days were spent visiting school and a report has already been made.

We were invited to a special service at the Cathedral on the Sunday for a Mother’s Union Service where 10 new members were admitted by Bishop James. It was a wonderful, joyous service and an honour to be present.

Before leaving Santo, we visited a Rural Training Centre which had been relocated from Ambae, they were struggling in the limited facilities. They we pleased to receive visitors but looked forward to returning to Ambae.

Finally, we met with members of the Mothers’ Union who explained their work. We were particularly interested in their work around gender-based violence. Much good work is being carried out by the MU.
Leaving Vanuatu, we departed for the next leg of the project to Honiara to start the school visits etc. a separate report is available.

We were honoured to be part of the Enthronement of Archbishop Leonard and took the greetings from Bishop Robert and the Diocese of Exeter as well as greetings from ASM associates and people of Feniton. Following the 4-hour service and speeches we were invited to lunch, presentations and entertainment.

Cate Edmonds at Archbishop Leonard Dawea’s Enthronement
The highlight of the afternoon was the Cathedral Sunday School’s presentation of a worship song by dance and drama. They were inspirational and certainly raised the roof.

Cathedral Sunday School worship song by dance

The next day Rev Cate travelled out to Verana’aso to visit the Sisters, see separate report and Daphne spent time in the Education Office. The Sisters are struggling to raise funds for a new chapel as theirs is unsafe. Sadly, it feels that the Sisters are the “poor relation” and receive little support and guidance.

During our stay in Honiara we also visited the Mother’s Union Headquarters and received updates on their work. They were preparing for a grand celebration of 100 years of Mother’s Union later that month.

We also visited the Christian Care Centre, at present there are 40 residents including children and many of these residents were teenage girls who had escaped their abusive homes. The Sisters of the Church and the Melanesian Sisters work together at the CCC to provide a safe and homely environment. We were very impressed by the facilities in a beautiful setting. On arrival we met Sister Veronica who was visiting as well. Most residents are only there for a couple of weeks before they return home if it is felt safe. Sadly, many return again later.

During our stay we made a courtesy visit to David Ward the British High Commissioner to explain our project. It was interesting to meet up with him before he departs for Samoa and to hear more about the political situation in the Islands.

After negotiation we were invited to tea at Government House to meet Sir David and Lady Mary Vunagi, the recently appointed Governor General of the Solomon Islands. It was lovely to meet up with old friends, who certainly were having to get used to a very different way of life.

Eventually it was time to return home. It had been an exhausting but interesting and enjoyable 3 weeks. We hoped that we have made some significant contributions in education and relationship building. We thank MMUK for all their support and look forward to further engagement.

Rev Canon Cate Edmonds 

Celebrating 100 Years of the Mothers' Union is Solomon Islands

100 Years of Mothers’ Union in Melanesia

The Mothers’ Union in the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACoM) has celebrated its 100th anniversary (1919 – 2019) in Honiara. The programme was attended by around 1,600 members from all nine dioceses of the ACoM in Vanuatu and Solomon Islands.

The week-long programme was officially opened at Saint Barnabas Provincial Cathedral after the Holy Eucharist Service led by the Archbishop of Melanesia the Most Rev. Leonard Dawea. After a colourful parade at the Cathedral grounds, the Mothers’ Union members gathered at the Desmond Probets’ Hall at Saint Barnabas Provincial Cathedral to listen to Mrs Annie Saenamua, a former Mothers’ Union provincial president highlighting the work of Mothers’ Union in the context of Melanesia.

“The work out there is vast, and the Mothers’ Union cannot ignore the reality of the present time, the high rising problems and issues and the changing lifestyles in our communities. The Mothers’ Union is a mission that should bring about God’s word through action and to make changes to lives in families, communities and to others”, Mrs Saenamua said in her address.

“For example, the MU had embarked on the Literacy program to change the intellectual ability of women in order to contribute to the welfare of the family and society and to enhance their participation in community work more effectively”, Anne continued.

Anne also added that though the work of MU in Melanesia had changed many lives, and the opportunity that some women had been able to sit in leadership positions that can make decisions; there are still challenges that lie ahead that MU must make careful planning and strategies to tackle the new and rising issues that are breaking down families.

The theme for the centenary celebrations is – ‘Reflecting on Mary Sumner’s vision and its impact in Melanesia: the Past, the Present and the Future’.

The Mothers’ Union is the largest ministry within the Anglican Church of Melanesia attracting a membership of more than 15,000 in both countries of Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

News story and pictures from ACoM Communications

Mothers' Union 5th Objective - The Melanesian Canoe

Mothers’ Union 5th Objective – The Melanesian Canoe

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

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

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

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

Women On The Frontline Training

Women On The Frontline For Reconciliation And Restoration – Retreat And Training Report

The theme of the retreat & training was “Women on the Frontline for Reconciliation and Restoration”.

The aim was to empower women leaders in ACoM, especially Bishops’ and Clergy wives and women lay leaders to be equipped to become peacemakers, and to have courage to make steps to be at the frontline to become ambassadors of peace.

Mrs Caroline Welby the wife of the Archbishop of Canterbury and three staff from the Lambeth Palace, Mrs Sarah Snyder, Mrs Jane Namurye and Mrs Keren Lewis convened the retreat and training.

When Archbishop Justin Welby became the Archbishop of Canterbury, Mrs Welby had a vision to visit all Bishops’ wives within the Anglican Communion to encourage them in their role as they share the same calling and challenges.

The Anglican Church of Melanesia was the third province the team had visited to conduct the retreat and training.

The retreat was conducted for Bishops’ wives for two and half days and the second part of the programme was the training which included clergy wives and women leaders in ACoM. A total of twenty-eight women attended the training.

In his opening address, the Most Reverend George Takeli, Archbishop of the Province of Melanesia said this is the era of renewal and restoration in our society, and women must be in the frontline to lead. He views the training of women as a priority and is taking steps to make it happen. This includes:

  • Increasing the enrolment of girls in ACoM Schools
  • Increasing the number of women in the 2020 General Synod and Executive Council
  • Awarding of scholarships for women in theological training

The Importance of Retreat and Training:

The programme was unique, in that all participants were able to freely share and talk about their experiences and challenges. The method used at both the retreat and training was unique and of a high level with each session based on scripture, in which participants either used imaginary creative art or role-played characters from the chosen texts. These activities allowed participants to make connections to real life situations.

Participants who felt touched by what was being delivered and shared, were given opportunities to pray and share individually with Mrs Welby and her team. An opportunity was also given for anyone to have time with Sr. Veronica, the Sister Provincial and the only ordained woman in Melanesia. Seeing women queuing at the Sisters’ chapel to have their turn, speaks a lot on the Ordination of Women. Women share freely with women. Peace of Christ in our hearts was experienced by most of the women that attended this programme.

The programme was very effective like no other, because of the simplicity of Mrs Welby and her team and the process in the delivery method. Above all, the encouragement given in prayer life for the journeys we make in life.

What Next?

“How are we going to make steps forward in the implementation of what we have acquired?”, was the question at the last day.

Participants were divided into three groups to discuss what will happen next after this training. They resolved to take steps to be ambassadors of peace in their families, communities and country:

  • Bishops’ wives to meet once every year
  • Awareness to be carried out in each diocese
  • Diocese of Central Melanesia to be a pilot diocese to carry out training
  • Revise the position of Women’s Desk at the ACoM Headquarters by a six-member committee
  • A follow up visit by Mrs Welby and Team in the future


  • First of all, we thank God for his grace given to women to be at the Frontline for Reconciliation and Restoration
  • We give thanks to God for calling Archbishop Justin Welby and Mrs Welby to shepherd the Anglican Communion
  • The love and passion that has brought Mrs Welby and her team to share with us and the humility and simplicity to be able to adjust to the life style so different from theirs. Also, for their commitment to prayer and encouragement to pray as a tool really stood out
  • For Archbishop George and Mrs June Takeli making this possible through their invitation to Mrs Welby to visit Melanesia
  • For the General Secretary and ACoM Administration for the support rendered
  • The Committee through the Provincial Mothers’ Union Office, who facilitated the visit in consultation with Archbishop George and Mrs Takeli
  • Sr. Veronica for celebrating for us daily and the love and care the sisters at Tete-Nikoli-Vuti (TNK), we couldn’t have chosen a better place. Just the right place for the Retreat and Training

News story and pictures from ACoM Communications

Novice Sister Mildred and Cathy

A Melanesian Pilgrimage

As a Companion and Associate, I’ve long wanted to spend time and experience Solomons life with the Brothers and Sisters of Melanesia. This summer I experienced both joyful pilgrimage and a great adventure of faith that continues to enrich my faith and Curacy.

My first night in the Solomons was spent at Chester Rest House which helped me to get my bearings in Honiara and appreciate how much the Brothers’ guest house is valued by all who stay there.

It was so good to be met by Sr Veronica the next day, who drove us to TNK for an overnight stay. The Sisters and Novices of the Church of Melanesia were very kind and sensitive to my jetlag! The beauty and peace of TNK is complemented so well by the worship, hospitality and ministry to the local community and wider church. It was delightful to meet Tina and David Arnold who kindly facilitated my trip back to Honiara, stopping at the Christian Care Centre en route to see their hugely important work.

The Sunday service at St Barnabas Cathedral became an unforgettable experience of worship – as swifts flew around the Chancel and a pair of Mynah birds showed off their nesting skills.

The following day I was met by Flory and her husband Charly who are such good advocates for the Sisters of Melanesia. We set off for Verana’aso where I experienced the most incredible welcome and hospitality from the Sisters and Novices during the following five days. Being invited to teach the Novices was a great privilege and joy as we shared experiences, worshipped together and got to know each other more. Visiting neighbouring Franciscans at beautiful La Verna was a precious time, hearing stories and seeing the lasting legacy of Br Giles.

After a moving farewell at Verana’aso, I set off for Tabalia, blessed with the joyful company of Franciscan Br Clifton – also a great truck driver, skillfully negotiating huge pot holes.

At Tabalia I continued to experience the precious worship and partnership in the Gospel that I’ve always found through the Melanesian Brothers ministry. It was wonderful to see Head Brother Nelson leading Evensong in his home setting. The beautiful peace of Tabalia, being near the graves of the Seven Martyred Brothers, the worship and hospitality of the Brothers and Novices was humbling and profoundly moving.

Returning to Honiara, I stayed at St Agnes Guest House, a lovely place, run by the Mothers Union. MU President Pam and team are doing such great work with the Anglican Church. We visited two satellite church communities and also spent time with the MU at All Saints Church in Honiara. The MU are incredibly inspiring, speaking out for justice through practically helping families to flourish through educational and life skills programmes.

I’ve learnt so much from the witness of all those I met, experiencing how much goodness and flourishing the religious orders and local churches bring to their surrounding communities. Melanesia is very beautiful and life incredibly fragile. The people value and do so much with so little, in comparison to what we have in Western Europe. It was a real lesson in life to value every drop of water and realise how many people throughout the world really do live without running water or electricity.

This Melanesian pilgrimage has shown me the true Agape love of God, which I’ve always experienced through times spent with Melanesian visitors to the UK. Agape love as joyfully knowing ourselves part of the global Christian community, drawn together through the depth of God’s love. I thank God for our Brothers and Sisters.

Revd Cathy Scoffield – Curate at St John the Baptist Churches, Bishops Tawton & Newport, Barnstaple, Diocese of Exeter.