In November 2018, UK Associates met in London to discuss ongoing support of the Community of the Sisters of Melanesia. We had a very productive meeting and presentations from Revd Cathy Scoffield, and Martin Haigh, both of whom had been welcomed at Verana’aso over the summer.
CSM have provided a detailed annual report which has been circulated to all UK Associates. CSM numbers have increased, and at autumn 2018 there were 45 Sisters and 39 Novices, with an expected intake of 20 Aspirants in 2019. There are currently five households in Solomon Islands, plus a mobile household in PNG, and a small community house in Vanuatu. Most of the community live at the training headquarters in Verana’aso on Guadalcanal, where four part-time staff assist with teaching and administration.
The community have reported that they are experiencing water shortages due to deforestation. The existing water tanks which were installed in 2015 are working well, but there is now a need for additional tanks because of the increased number of novices.
The installation of solar lighting continues at Verana’aso. The Refectory and the Mother House now have solar lighting and work continues on the accommodation for the Aspirants. The Community are grateful to UK and Australian supporters, and the International Committee of St Martin-in-the Fields, who have made financial contributions towards this project, providing the community with much needed lighting.
The chapel, which was constructed around 60 years ago, had become increasingly dangerous during bad weather. The community arranged for the chapel to be deconsecrated by the former Archbishop David Vunagi in September 2018. Designs have been drawn up for a new chapel, and the community and local Associates are fundraising towards this construction project. UK Associates have agreed to send £1,000 to CSM towards the construction of the chapel. Additional money is to be raised. UK Associates continue to support the Community by providing donations for lunches for the Aspirants, Novices and Sisters who live at Verana’aso.
During summer 2018 the Community welcomed visitors from the UK including Revd Cate Edmonds, Revd Cathy Scoffield, and Martin Haigh. CSM are always glad to welcome visitors to Verana’aso.
First and second-year Novices and Sisters went on mission to Gela at Christmas. Whilst seven third-year Novices undertook their practical on Malaita in January. They visited the outer islands and villages in remote areas within the Anglican Communion. During the Mission they taught about the stewardship of money and time, social changes, evangelism, and dramatised Bible stories.
News story from Sarah Crompton, leader of the UK Associates