CHANGE OUR MINDSET AND RENEW OUR FAITH: BISHOP TOME
“The way forward for us the leaders and people of Guadalcanal especially in the Diocese of Guadalcanal is to change from negative attitude and accommodate positive attitude and mindset”. The Right Reverend Nathan Tome, Bishop of the Diocese of Guadalcanal uttered this to the members of the 4th Diocesan synod which was officially opened in August at Bwauna village, West Longu District, east Guadalcanal.
“I make this in the light of my experience gained during my episcopate over seeing two dioceses for the past 19 years”, he added.
He further stated, “We need new mindset for doing Mission and Ministry. An outreach from everywhere to everywhere is what we need as well as improvement in inter-denomination and inter faith mission”.
On that same note, Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia The Most Reverend Leonard Dawea who delivered the keynote address said; Having reflected on the theme, I cannot help withhold my focus on the gospel story of a woman’s faith in Matthew 15: 21-28. As a Canaanite woman, she held strong faith in Christ for the healing of her daughter. The series of statements she boldly uttered to Jesus, indicated a changed mindset towards Jesus as the healer of her daughter. This story well summed up the theme of this Synod.
“We need to insist on what leads to greater good for our Church and society. We must insist on unity and working together. We must insist on growing and developing the diocese towards maturity as the Body of Christ, the agent of salvation”. Archbishop Dawea added.
“I applaud you for choosing a bold theme to guide the Synod proceedings. A theme is not just a statement to meet the protocols of the Synod, but a guideline or task manifesto for now until the next Synod. The task of the theme is mission work now and beyond, but to do that proactively and effectively, first of all our mindset needs to change and our faith renewed towards that common end,” Archbishop Leonard added.
The synod began with a welcome ceremony on Friday afternoon followed by prayer retreat on Saturday led by Rev. Dr. Atkin Zaku from the Commission on Faith and Order office at the ACOM head office.
“As Christians the responsibility of furthering God’s mission depended very much on us so that it is also equally our responsibility to see necessary changes for its progress. The call to change is thus on us. And whilst we find new ways to allow changes, we are here this week not to condemn each other but to support each other in the things we did wrong and the things we failed to do. However, change must begin in us”. Rev. Dr. Zaku said in his retreat address.
The opening Eucharist service on Sunday morning was followed by the keynote address by the Most Reverend Leonard Dawea.
This was the final diocesan synod for Bishop Tome as he officially retired from office as the diocesan Bishop for Guadalcanal on the 20th of September.
The Diocese of Guadalcanal consists of 19 Parishes and districts with 126 local churches and 14 satellite churches.
BISHOP TOME OFFICIALLY RETIRES AS BISHOP OF GUADALCANAL
On 20th September The Right Revd Nathan Tome, Bishop of the Diocese of Guadalcanal and the Senior Bishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACOM) officially laid down the diocesan Pastoral stuff that was handed to him when he was made Bishop of the diocese in 2013.
The laying down of the pastoral stuff on the altar of the diocesan cathedral symbolizes that act of relinquishing the authority vested upon him as the Diocesan Bishop of Guadalcanal.
Bishop Tome is the first Bishop of the Diocese of Guadalcanal when it was inaugurated in 2013 and served the diocese for seven years.
Bishop Tome served the church as lay church worker for around ten years, a Priest for another ten years and Bishop for twenty years. He spent thirteen years as Bishop in the Diocese of Banks and Torres in Vanuatu.
He is so far the longest serving Bishop in the ACOM.
Rev. Dr. Ben Wate, speaking on behalf of the ACOM Provincial Headquarters team who attended the ceremony acknowledged the many contributions Bishop Tome rendered to the ACOM as a Priest and Bishop.
Re. Dr. Wate said; “As a bishop in the Church, Bp. Nathan participated in various provincial decision-making bodies of the Church including the General Synod, Executive Council, Council of Bishops (CoB), diocesan and Provincial electoral boards.”
“Given his heavy involvement in these important decision-making bodies, it is not hard to see the extent of Bp. Nathan’s influence in the life of the ACoM over the last 20 years,” he said.
He added, “Twice he also supervised the office of Archbishop, the latest being last year following the retirement of Archbishop George Takeli. The Church has benefited from his advice on some of the decisions the Church had to make during those two periods. He also represented the Church in regional and international Anglican and other Ecumenical forums”.
Retired Bishop Tome thanked the ACOM and all members of the church for the support rendered to him and his family during his term as an active Priest and Bishop of ACOM.
“We have shared, worshipped and celebrated together in the past seven years and I have given my best. Now my time is over. I must go down so that a new one must come with new strength to move us forward. Show the same love and support you have for me to my next successor in the coming months.” The Retired Bishop said in his final remarks to a packed Saint Paul’s cathedral.
The farewell Liturgical service was held at St. Paul’s Pro Cathedral, Lengalau, North East Honiara on Sunday 20th September.
The Archbishop calls on the whole church to pray for Bishop Nathan Tome and his family as he takes on a well-deserved retirement.
The Diocese of Guadalcanal in the Province of Guadalcanal is the newest diocese in the Province of Melanesia and comprises the island of Guadalcanal excluding the city of Honiara.