The Right Reverend Alfred Karibongi officially retired as the Bishop of the Diocese of Hanuato’o (DOH) at a Liturgical Farewell Service in August at the Saint Peter Diocesan Cathedral, Kirakira. Bishop Karibongi turned 65 on the 9th of June and had served the diocese for 13 years since his consecration on 30th September 2007 at the same Cathedral.
“The Liturgical Farewell service as such is an important occasion in which the Church celebrates the gift of leadership and service and today we gather here to give thanks to God for calling Bishop Alfred, and his good wife and children to take on the episcopal leadership of God’s sheepfold in this diocese in the last 13 years. We are here to celebrate a successful mission of leadership and service for God’s people in this great land of Hanuato’o,” the Rev. Dr. Ben Wate said in a farewell address at Saint Peter’s church.
“Prior to becoming the Bishop of the diocese, Bishop Karibongi has held various posts as a clergy including Dean of the Saint Barnabas Provincial Cathedral,” Chief Operating Officer of the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACOM) Mr. Peter Pitia said in his farewell address.
“As a priest and Bishop, he served on many important decision-making bodies of ACOM and his contribution has been immense given his wealth of experience and wisdom,” Mr. Pitia added.
“On taking office after his consecration on September 2007, the first situation he encountered in office was that the Diocese was at the brink of collapse financially,’ Diocesan Secretary, Mr. Silas Hulanga said in his farewell speech.
“With the financial difficulties experienced by the Diocese at that time; the main concern then during the 6th Diocesan Synod at Ngorangora, and also at the bishop’s first synod in 2008 was to re-afloat the diocese financially rather than making a lot of wishful promises. Later on, it was a Mission decentralization program passed and implemented with Mission Field officers stationed at each of the four (4) four zones setup around the diocese to carry out mission work and training in their respective zones.” He added.
‘With the implementation of the partnership network or Parish Strengthening Concept, the diocese successfully established 5 Parish Headquarters namely: West Wairaha Parish HQ, West Haununu, East Arosi, Ugi, Oa Riki,’ the Diocesan Secretary stated.
Mission work over the last 13 years then was on decentralisation of mission coordination, down to the parishes; self-reliance on parish and diocese, strengthening and empowerment of people to participate fully in mission through training.
The Premier of Makira Ulawa Province, Hon. Julian Maka’a in his address acknowledged the unity that brought together all who have come to witness the Liturgical farewell service of Bishop Karibongi.
“We cannot go on our separate way to look after our people. We must hold hands together to serve our people effectively. And I thank you Bishop Karibongi for that unity rendered to the Province through the successive Governments as well as to other stakeholders, churches, house of chiefs and others.” The Hon Premier said.
In his final speech, Bishop Karibongi acknowledged the Anglican Church of Melanesia, Makira Ulawa Provincial Government, Ecumenical Partners, Chiefs and elders, friends and family members for their support and working together over the 13 years when he was bishop.
He also reminded clergy about their mission and ministry in his farewell address.
“A priest is a person who offers intercession and sacrifice, and hence should be at the sanctuary at all times. Therefore, we must be committed to our work, set godly example to people around us, live a life of prayer and keep oneself spiritually and physically clean.” The retiring Bishop called on the clergymen.
The Vicar General of the Diocese, Rev. Canon Clayton Maha will look after the welfare of the Diocese during the transition period under the supervision of the Archbishop of ACOM, the Most Rev. Leonard Dawea until the election of a new Bishop which will take place before the end of this year after the diocesan synod.
The Archbishop calls on the whole church to pray for Bishop Karibongi and his family as he takes on a well-deserved retirement.
THE Diocese of Hanuato’o (DOH) was inaugurated at St. George Church now renamed St. Peters Cathedral, Kirakira on 29th day of June 1991, at the feast of St. Peter’s.
The first Diocesan Bishop was The Rt. Rev. James Philip Mason who came into office on 29th June 1991 followed by The Rt. Rev. Jonnie Kuper on 10th April 2005, and the retiring Bishop, Rt Rev. Alfred Karibongi from 30th September 2007 to 16th August 2020.