Tag: ACoM

Green Apostle Training

The Anglican Church of Melanesia and Climate Change

Climate change and the future
The Anglican Church of Melanesia [ACoM] considers climate change one of the most significant environmental and social issues facing its community. With more than 100 years in the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, ACoM understands that it can play a crucial role in solving future challenges. To do so, we need bold, innovative steps.

The remains of Fanalei Island
The remains of Fanalei Island

Sea level rise, increased severity of storms and flooding, droughts, saltwater intrusion into freshwater agriculture, and reef habitat loss, all threaten to destabilise local communities. Knock-on social consequences could result in ethnic conflicts, land disputes, and internally displaced peoples. Latent social tensions may be exacerbated if adequate preparations are not undertaken.

One challenge is a lack of accurate local data and environmental monitoring. The Solomon Islands Government does not have sufficient infrastructure or systems to monitor ongoing environmental change. International monitoring is focused on the wider Pacific region. Fisheries, forests, extreme weather events, and shoreline changes, are not sufficiently studied. The reality is stark: without monitoring we cannot know local conditions. We therefore cannot develop evidence-based mitigation plans.

The Anglican Church of Melanesia considers this an opportunity. We can contribute to sustaining local communities and supporting the people of the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. We are undertaking the following initiatives.

The ACoM Environment Observatory
The creation of the Anglican Church of Melanesia Environment Observatory is forging new alliances between the environmental sciences and the Anglican Church of Melanesia. It aims to solve the dearth of local environmental monitoring. With a majority Anglican population, we are using churches throughout the archipelago as a network of scientific observatories. Installing monitoring equipment operated by clergy and lay people, churches are beginning to measure shoreline change, rain fall, storm intensity and duration. Daily readings are sent at regular intervals to ACoM headquarters, Honiara, where they will form the basis for scientific analysis.

In our first year of implementation we established three observatories on three islands. Students and faculty from the Solomon’s Island University are undertaking shoreline measurements on Guadalcanal north shore.

In the coming years, we will expand stations to all islands with ACoM churches and integrate observing with clerical duties. This will produce a close-range portrait of environmental change and the basis for accurate mitigation strategies. Data will be in the public domain and a valuable resource to local and international climate change scientists. Rather than import costly monitoring equipment and expertise from abroad, the observatory repurposes existing church infrastructure and expertise.

This innovative approach is appealing to churches in the Asia Pacific region and beyond. Anglican and other Christian communities in Australia, Vanuatu, Samoa, and the UK, are developing partnerships to extend the observatory network. Post-graduate architectural design courses on the observatory are being development with the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building, University of Technology, Sydney; and, the School of Design, Harvard University. The observatory is being studied as case study of the integration of science and religion in courses at the Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge, and Malua Theological College, Apia Samoa.

Green Apostles
To link environmental sciences with the Anglican Church of Melanesia community we have developed the Green Apostle award in collaboration with the Melanesian Mission (UK). Each award is given to monitors operating Observatory stations. Interested lay members and clergy have been trained in measuring shoreline change, operate rain gauges, and notating storm intensity and durations. It incentivises, recognizes and gives thanks for the efforts of our participants and contributes to skilling our community.

Green Apostle Training
Green Apostle Training

Education
We are undertaking initiatives to combine climate and environmental sciences with theological and religious education. With Bishop Patteson Theological College, international coastal scientists, theologians, and social scientists, are developing curriculum that integrates the study of climate change science with theological training. With faculty at the Solomon Islands National University, we are developing climate change curriculum. Our educational efforts endeavour to cross conventional boundaries between science and religion.

Coastal Erosion
To facilitate climate change research, we have formed a partnership with the University of Southampton, UK. We are supporting PhD research into coastal change impacts in the Solomon Islands. The research combines physical evidence of historical shoreline change from remote-sensing technology and a study of social implications based on participatory workshops and interviews in affected communities.

Measuring Coastal Erosion
Measuring Coastal Erosion

Relocation
Widespread coastal erosion threatens the well-being and development of communities in the Solomon Islands. The majority of the population live in highly vulnerable, low-lying coastal areas and relocation is already occurring across the country, most notably on the outer reef islands and small offshore artificial islands. At present, relocation efforts are rarely assisted by the government or NGOs. Unaided relocation of whole communities has led to the formation of illegal settlements and overcrowding, land disputes, and social conflict. ACoM, the Melanesian Mission UK, and the University of Southampton recognise the immediate need to develop adequate strategies to manage climate-induced relocation and intend to develop partnerships to support relocation efforts.

Combined strategies
Through this work we hope to be good stewards of the Solomon Islands for future generations.

Marie Schlenker and Dr Adam Bobbette

Shoreline Erosion on Fanalei Island

Climate Change in a Melanesian Context

When I first started my PhD project about climate change impacts in the Solomon Islands, neither myself nor my supervisors expected that I would be telling a story about land disputes, traditional customs and the wantok system. I considered myself a natural scientist, with an academic background in Geosciences and Environmental Physics, keen to collect and analyse numerical data. However, as I started delving into my project, I had to rethink this initial perception. How can I study climate change impacts if I do not consider the people who are being impacted by it?

ACoM Environment Observatory: Measuring shoreline change on Fanalei Island
ACoM Environment Observatory: Measuring shoreline change on Fanalei Island

My research still focuses on the analysis of physical data to gain insights into climate change impacts in the Solomon Islands. I use satellite images, aerial photographs and beach surveys to understand how shorelines of small islands have changed in the past and how they might evolve in a changing climate. However, I also added a significant social science component to my work. During my two-months long fieldtrip to the Solomon Islands, I conducted interviews and participatory workshops with local people to learn more about their perceptions of climate change and its impacts on coastal areas in the country.

Both, government representatives and leaders of the Anglican Church, confirmed what I had already expected: many coastal communities in the Solomon Islands are already experiencing adverse impacts of environmental change, including severe shoreline erosion and increased flooding frequency. The good news is that the majority of these communities seem to be highly resilient to the new environmental conditions. Most Solomon Islanders live a simple lifestyle in rural areas. They reside in palm leaf or wooden huts and subsist on fishing and growing crops in small gardens. As shoreline erosion and flooding threaten their villages, people simply dismantle their houses and rebuild them further inland on higher ground. Due to the strong sense of solidarity and social cohesion within extended families, known as the wantok system, people who are forced to relocate will receive boundless support from their relatives.

Flooding at Fanalei Island during high tide
Flooding at Fanalei Island during high tide

While this system of assisted relocation within villages currently seems to work well in many places across the Solomon Islands, it is simply not an option in some other places. Why? Some communities do not own any land to fall back onto. As part of my trip, I visited two communities in South Malaita, Fanalei and Walande, which have been dealing with this problem. Both communities are seafarers from Lau Lagoon in North Malaita who migrated to the small islands off the South Malaitan coast generations ago and have been growing ever since. Their status as migrants means that they do not have any original ancestral lands in the region. Land ownership in the Solomon Islands is tribal and passed down from generation to generation. As rural communities depend on the land for their survival, they guard it like nothing else.

Shoreline Erosion on Fanalei Island
Shoreline Erosion on Fanalei Island

Fanalei and Walande have experienced severe shoreline erosion and flooding in recent years. Fanalei community lost the majority of its former settlement area to the waves and is regularly flooded at high tide. Walande transformed from an island that hosted a population of over 1,000 people in 2002 to a deserted sandbank. As a result, the majority of the villagers migrated to the nearby mainland of South Malaita. Unfortunately, not without complications. Fanalei people are illegal settlers on the mainland and the traditional landowners will not let the issue slide, leaving Fanalei Islanders with an uncertain, possibly bleak future. Land ownership and land use are common sources of conflict in the Solomon Islands and even led to violent ethnic tensions in the past. Unfortunately, climate change and population growth are very likely to significantly exacerbate the issue over the next decades and, currently, the Solomon Islands government neither has the capacity to handle the increasing number of land disputes, nor to effectively support resettlement or to slow down the alarmingly high rate of population growth.

Walande Island - 2002
Walande Island – 2002
Remains of Walande Island - 2019
Remains of Walande Island – 2019

However, just a few kilometres further north, Walande people have found their own strategy to secure their livelihoods. In the 1940s and 50s, Walande’s leaders had the wise foresight to acquire land from tribes on the mainland by negotiating a payment consisting of traditional shell money, dolphin teeth and modern currency and maintaining close friendships with their neighbours. After Cyclone Namu hit the island in 1986, the villagers decided to take their fate in their own hands. Educated community members created a settlement plan and obtained the support of Australian Aid to bulldoze the land for relocation. When storms were becoming more frequent in the 2000s, leading to increased erosion and flooding of Walande Island, villagers had the opportunity to build a safe new home on the mainland.

New Walande on St Michael’s Day
New Walande on St Michael’s Day

The story of Walande shows that rural communities in the Solomon Islands are capable to manage their own local climate change adaptation. However, any kind of support from outside is greatly appreciated by the communities and can go a long way. The Melanesian Mission UK currently supports the development of an environment observatory within the Anglican Church of Melanesia, which will empower local people to create their own scientific evidence of climate change and shoreline erosion, increase environmental knowledge within communities and facilitate the design of effective adaptation strategies.

More information about the communities of Fanalei and Walande and the ACoM Environment Observatory can be found in my travel blog: Save Islands.

Marie Schlenker

Marie Schlenker is a PhD student within the Energy and Climate Change Research Group at the University of Southampton, researching the impact of climate change and coastal hazards on the Solomon Islands. Her project is jointly supervised by Prof. Robert Nicholls, Prof. David Sear and Dr. Ivan Haigh and supported by the Melanesian Mission UK, the Anglican Church of Melanesia and the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute. She has just returned from a 2-months long fieldtrip to the Solomon Islands.

Bishop Willie Tungale

Anglican Church of Melanesia Elects New Bishop For The Diocese of Temotu

The Diocese of Temotu Electoral Board has elected the Reverend Willie Tungale as the sixth bishop for the Diocese of Temotu.

Reverend Willie Tungale, 54, succeeds the Most Reverend Leonard Dawea who was enthroned and installed as the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia and Bishop of the Diocese of Central Melanesia in September this year.

Reverend Tungale is currently serving as Chaplain and New Testament Teacher at Mona Community High School in Santa Cruz, Temotu Province; a post he has held since 2012. He was also the Principal and deputy Principal at the said school in 2010 and 2011. He holds a Bachelor of Theology Degree from the University of Auckland, New Zealand from 2002 – 2004 and Diploma in Theology from Bishop Patteson Theological College from 1995 – 1998. He also holds a Diploma in Education and Leadership from the University of the South Pacific (USP) in Honiara through DFL mood of study. Revd Tungale comes from Napir Village, Graciousa Bay, Santa Cruz, Temotu Province. He is married to Ruth Tungale and they have five children.

The Consecration and installation service for Revd Willie Tungale into the office of the Bishop will take place on 16th February next year in Lata.

The Archbishop calls on all members of the Anglican Church of Melanesia to uphold Revd Tungale and his family in prayer as they prepare to take on this important responsibility in the church.

ACoM Communications

Canoes on a beach with island backdrop

Prince Charles to visit Solomon Islands

King Fish in a canoeHis Royal Highness Prince of Wales Prince Charles will undertake an official visit to Solomon Islands from Sunday 24th to Monday 25th November 2019 at the invitation of the Solomon Islands Government. This will be The Prince of Wales’ first visit to this country.

Prince Charles upon arrival on Sunday afternoon will receive an official welcome ceremony at the Government House and meet with the recently knighted Governor General Sir David Vunagi. As outlined in the short visit, His Royal Highness will attend a number of public engagements including a reception. His Royal Highness’ programme will focus on climate change and ocean governance where he will have the opportunity to launch “Solomon Islands National Ocean Policy” and the “Malaria Elimination Roadmap.” While in Honiara Prince Charles will visit Parliament where he will make a brief address and meet with the Speaker of Parliament Mr. Patteson Oti as well as the Honourable Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare. After he will then attend a State Luncheon hosted by the Governor General. His Royal Highness will also attend a brief program to honour the service men and women including Solomon Island Scouts and Coastwatchers who had served during Pacific War campaign (World War II) in Solomon Islands. The Prince will also spend time learning about sustainable fisheries management in the Pacific Ocean with a visit to the Forum Fisheries Agency Surveillance Centre.

The visit coincides with the Royal couple Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall Camilla Pacific tour to New Zealand from 17th – 25th November 2019. Camilla will return to the United Kingdom after the New Zealand tour whilst Prince Charles will continue on first to Tuvalu before coming to Solomon Islands to celebrate the Monarchy’s relationship with these Commonwealth Realms.

His Royal Highness Prince Charles is the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II and is currently heir to the British throne. Review of the Royal Family visits here saw Queen Elizabeth II herself visit Solomon Islands twice – in 1974 and 1982. And the recent Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and wife, Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton in 2012 as part of their Asia tour.

Source: SI Gov’t Communications Unit

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

 

Climate Change & Multiple Hazards - Emoatfer Swamp, Efate

Climate Change, Multiple Hazards and the Future of Vanuatu

The nation of Vanuatu in the Pacific Ocean is an archipelago of 83 islands, over 100 languages and a highly diverse and endemic flora and fauna. Paradoxically, Vanuatu has been described as being both the most naturally hazardous place on earth whilst also hosting the happiest people on the planet. It is also a nation facing changes; changing climate as the world warms, and changing social and economic futures driven by increased connectivity with the global community.

In August of this year, the University of Southampton funded a trip to Vanuatu with the help of the Melanesian Mission and Anglican Church of Melanesia. The aims of the visit were to build links with organisations in Vanuatu to learn more about the challenges and choices faced by the people, but also to better understand how natural hazards are transferred into changing risks to local communities. A third goal was to recover samples of lake and swamp sediments, that can be used to reconstruct changes in the natural environment and climate over timescales longer than monitored records. Some 23 hours of travelling and 11 time zones later we arrived in Vanuatu. For David this was the third trip to Efate and Port Vila, but for Chris and Sally it was their first time in Vanuatu and Melanesia.

Climate Change & Multiple Hazards - David, Sally, Chris, and Pastor Peter Kolmas
L-R: David, Sally, Chris, and Pastor Peter Kolmas. Background section cut through old (6000-7000 year) lakebed sediments. Oral history says the lake drained after an earthquake

Day 1 was all about recovery! This was made possible thanks to the very kind hosts Hugo, Fabienne and Marcel at Aquana Beach Resort. Day 2 and we were off to core swamps and lakes. We visited Emoatfer swamp in Eretap, an infilled lagoon containing over 4000 years of environmental and climate history, including evidence for the arrival of the first people on Efate. We were keen to get stuck in – which we did quite literally. After a walk up and over the former coral reef (now a low ridge) we descended through the Pandanus swamp forest and out into the sedge of the swamp. We recovered 4m of mud with a series of peat layers distributed down the core showing periods when the climate was drier. Thoroughly soaked, muddy but delighted, we moved on to Lake Emaotul. Getting to Emaotul involves a track that with increased use of 4WD has almost become impassable. We met up with Pastor Peter Kolmas – who is building a small church in the bush to serve his parishioners. Peter set about cutting us a trench through the road cutting so we could sample the lake muds that were exposed 22m above the current lake level. Local stories tell of an earthquake and the sudden draining of the lake about 2000 years ago. Peter and his family live up near the lake, care for the local community and grows some crops and tends his forest garden. His church is a simple breezeblock barn like structure with a tin roof, a few benches and a simple table festooned with flowers for the Altar.

Climate Change & Multiple Hazards - Joses Togase, David Sear and Father Nigel
L-R: Joses Togase, David Sear and Father Nigel outside the Vanuatu Christian Council Workshop building

During our time we met up with a range of wonderful and interesting people, including the UK’s new (1 month in post) High Commissioner Karen Bell and Deputy High Commissioner Paul Lawrence. They are part of a wider UK ‘Pacific Uplift’ policy that is seeing increased presence of the UK government in the Pacific with Samoa, Tonga and Solomon Islands receiving new High Commissioners this year. We were also able to give a presentation and meet up with the team in the Vanuatu Government’s Division of Meteorology and Geohazards. These are part of a wider Disaster risk management and climate change group whose job is to monitor and respond to natural hazards such as Cyclone Pam in 2015 and the recent eruptions in Ambae. We are hoping to develop more formal links with VMGD.

A key part of our trip was to deliver a workshop on multiple hazards with ACoM. Selwyn Leodoro, former speaker of the Vanuatu Parliament, and Joses Togase (Secretary to ACoM) helped organise the workshop under the leadership of Bishop Tama and hosted at the newly built Vanuatu Christian Council Centre. This centre is a fantastic resource as proven by its hosting two workshops – our one on Multihazards and across the grassy square another on the Theology of Disasters. At lunchtime we all met up where I met Father Nigel from the Solomon Islands who was due to host Marie Schlenker a PhD student co-funded by the University of Southampton and Melanesian Mission who is working with Rob Nichols, Ivan Haigh and David Sear on coastal erosion and community impacts of sea level rise in the Solomon Islands. A small world indeed but meeting him gave me great hope for Marie’s visit.

Climate Change & Multiple Hazards Workshop
Our workshop in Port Vila discussing how geohazards affects communities, and how people feel Vanuatu will change in the coming decades

Back on Vanuatu, our workshop attracted a range of stakeholders from Government, Communities, different islands, educators and students and NGO’s with experience of disaster management. We worked them hard – asking them to identify pathways along different hazards propagated into communities. We then asked them to identify the different scenarios for the future of Vanuatu. This prompted lively debate, but we agreed in the end on two major axes of future choices for Vanuatu – one that saw a traditional future at one end, and a highly ‘westernised’ future at the other. The other axis had a sustainable future at one end and an intensive industrial/agrobusiness future at the other. This provided lively debates and groups clearly had different perspectives, based on their backgrounds and nature of work. We then asked the group to explore how different factors would change along each axis – for example how might agricultural practices change in a sustainable traditional future vs an intensive westernised future? We had already seen evidence of changes when we passed the new shrimp farming lagoons built on the floodplain of the Teouma River in Eratap. This floodplain is subject to intense flooding during Cyclones – construction of shrimp farming ponds may not be sustainable in the long term.

In the afternoon after a fantastic lunch of Melanesian and Solomon Island dishes we asked the group to identify where in the possible future scenarios for Vanuatu each main Island lay – Tanna for example was seen to be largely traditional and sustainable whereas Efate was seen to be moving towards an intensive/westernised future. In our final session we asked delegates to return to their multiple hazard pathway diagrams and to highlight the changes that would occur under the different futures they had identified. In this way we were able to show delegates how the decisions made on the future direction of Vanuatu could impact communities during natural hazards. We found differences between islands, and this understanding is important for development planning, and in response to disasters (which directly relates to Sustainability Development Goals). For all delegates this was a new way of thinking and helped them to see how important it is to develop joined up planning for disaster management. What we learned was how most people wanted to retain a traditional, Christian community ethos – valuing strong community and family bonds. However, clear areas of change were also identified as necessary, including preserving sustainable livelihoods, whilst increasing gender equality and opportunity.

In our final day we explored Port Vila. There has been quite rapid change since David’s last visit in 2017. Roads were newly repaired and surfaced, and new building works were evident, largely funded by Chinese investment. In the market we met a woman who was weaving. We struck up a conversation with her and it turned out she was one of the many people evacuated form Ambae in the recent eruption. Although recently removed from her home, she seemed at peace with the events. Her explanation was down to the welcome she had received from the community in Pentecost Island who welcomed her and her children into their homes when hers became uninhabitable. Subsequently, she had been able to make her way to Efate and was schooling her children whilst working in the market. That said she wanted to return to her home, where her husband is buried, and where her family is slowly returning. This conversation clarified for us the outcomes from the workshop, whilst answering the apparent paradox of Vanuatu. It is those family and traditional bonds with home, coupled with a life that despite its apparent simplicity is nevertheless fulfilling which together enables the Ni-Vanuatu to be both happy and resilient in the face of natural disasters.

Our thanks again to Bishop Tama, Joses Togase and Selwyn Ledoro of ACoM, Alan Rarai of VMGD and all those who attended the workshop. A huge thanks too to the Melanesian Mission and the Vanuatu Christian Council. We look forward to reporting back and working with you again.

Notes from a recent visit hosted by the Anglican Church of Melanesia and the Melanesian Mission
David Sear, Sally Brown, Chris Hill – University of Southampton

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

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

Walande Island

Priests Become Scientists on “Disappearing Islands”

Press Release: 7 October 2019

Priests Become Scientists on “Disappearing Islands”

Priests in the Pacific Solomon Islands are being enlisted to help measure the impact of climate change and rising sea levels on the islands where they serve.

Rt Rev’d Mark Rylands, who has just returned from the islands and chairs the Melanesian Mission UK, said: “What we’re doing is using priests as scientists.

“We’ll use the strength of the Anglican Church in Melanesia to do the observations and get concrete measurements on how the islands are disappearing and the sea levels are rising.

“It’s the Anglican Church at the forefront, really pioneering what is of great concern to the whole world.”

It’s hoped the islands’ priests, who are being dubbed Green Apostles, will take daily readings of the tides and temperatures at the same time as they say their daily Morning Prayer.

They are geographically spread throughout the islands and will take measurements from posts in the ground going into the sea.

The plan is for this daily or weekly recording to continue for a decade.

“The nine bishops of Melanesia have signed-up to this project. They want it to happen,” Bishop Mark said.

“It’s the Anglican church at the forefront, really pioneering what is of great concern to the whole world.”

The Solomon Islands are in the Anglican Province of Melanesia, which has a historic link with the Diocese of Exeter in the UK.

Bishop Mark, who is based in Ashburton, Devon, was in the Solomon Islands to celebrate the enthronement of the new archbishop, the Very Reverend Leonard Dawea.

The data being collected by priests is one of a number of environmental research projects being undertaken by the Melanesian Mission with UK researchers and institutions, to enable to Anglican Church in Melanesia to support communities affected.

“The salt has got into the ground, they can’t grow crops anymore and the children have nowhere to play when they come home from school.”

Working with a team led by Dr Ivan Haigh, an associate professor at Southampton University, the project will document the changing patterns of coastal margins in the Solomon Islands.

Bishop Mark said: “This is one place where the Anglican Church can help the rest of the world. We have evidence of the islands disappearing, we’ve got videos from the 80s and 90s.

“We have Anglican church members who have lived on islands which have disappeared in their lifetime.

“When I was there in 2016, I saw the islanders of Fanalei, South Malaita. I spent some time with the elders and they were discussing how, for four months of the year, the island is under water.

“The salt has got into the ground, they can’t grow crops anymore and the children have nowhere to play when they come home from school.”

Marie Schlenker is currently in South Malaita as part of the University of Southampton team. She has been writing a blog about her experience.

The research results will be shared with local communities and presented to the Solomon Islands government. They will also be used internationally to lobby on behalf of those affected.

Former Blue Peter film maker Alex Leger, from Topsham, has been documenting the Solomon Islands on film for a number of decades, he and Dr Haigh will be showing his video evidence and discussing the plight facing the islands at Disappearing Islands a special event at Exeter Cathedral on Thursday 10 October.

For more information and interviews please contact Chloe Axford, Director of Communications, Diocese of Exeter: chloe.axford@exeter.anglican.org; 01392 294905, 07889 523776


Article updated 15 October 2019;

Since his return from the Solomon Islands, Bishop Mark Rylands, Chair of MMUK has been interviewed by the Diocese of Exeter and also United Christian Broadcasters about MMUK’s environmental projects with the Anglican Church of Melanesia.