Tag: ACoM

Solomon Island Flag

Solomon Islands’ Independence Day

The 41st Solomon Islands’ Independence Day was remembered on Sunday July 7th, not only in Solomon Islands, but across the UK. At Ottery St Mary Parish Church, in Exeter Diocese, the Ven John Rawlings, Leader of the Companions of the Melanesian Brotherhood in the South West, preached this sermon;

Trinity 3 – Ottery St Mary

I wonder how many people in the town or in Feniton or Alfington would know why there are street names and even a junction on the A30 which bears the name Patteson? Yet for a long time men and women from Melanesia have been making pilgrimage to these places and Exeter Cathedral to honour the memory and see places associated with Bishop John Coleridge Patteson, the first Bishop of Melanesia.

You, I am sure, are familiar with his story; being born in London in 1827 ; schooling at Kings in Ottery St Mary, Eton and studying at Baliol College Oxford; then ordination in Exeter and the cure of souls at Alfington. He had been influenced by Bishop George Augustus Selwyn in his school days and Selwyn wanted him to go to the Melanesian Islands and extend the Church Selwyn oversaw in New Zealand. Patteson’s ministry was exceptional and as a result the Church of Melanesia was founded and flourished. He learned many of the languages of the islands he visited and wanted the new Christians to express their faith in worship which used their indigenous music and dance and not be a transplant of the Gothic church buildings and Hymns Ancient and Modern. He also set up educational institutions. As many of you will know, he was martyred on the Island of Nukapu, either being mistaken for a slave trader or in revenge for the white men who had taken slaves from the islands to work in plantations in the Colonies. His martyrdom is depicted on the nave pulpit in Exeter Cathedral and when I have taken Melanesians there to see it they have always been profoundly moved.

The Melanesian Mission was set up in 1849 and still facilitates a very special link with Melanesia and is growing in its organization of visitors to and from Melanesia. The current Executive Officer of the Mission, Katie Drew, lives and worships in this Mission Community and the chairman is Bishop Mark Rylands who is now the parish priest at Ashburton.

The Diocese of Chester has had a special link with the Church there for a long time and when Bishop Michael came to be our diocesan bishop, having been a Suffragan Bishop in that diocese, he encouraged a similar link to be formed here. He had been out to Melanesia and was also a Companion of the Melanesian Brotherhood. The Brotherhood was founded in 1925 by Ini Kopuria, a former policeman in the Solomon Islands. It is still the largest Religious Order in the Anglican Communion and takes young men as novices who after their time of training become Brothers making vows for five years which are renewable. Unlike many orders the vows are not for life and Brothers can and often do return to their homes after five years and marry or assist their families.

Bishop Michael had been asked by the then Archbishop of Melanesia if he could find a placement for one of the Melanesian Brothers to have some time in an English parish to broaden his experience after being ordained and studying for a degree. Bishop Michael asked if I would take Brother George as I was in between curates in Tavistock at the time. Brothers always live and work in pairs or more when out on mission and so another brother would join Brother George and we would set up a House of the Melanesian Brotherhood in Tavistock. The brother who joined George was Leonard who has also been back to UK to study for a degree then be ordained. In 2017 he returned having been elected Bishop of Temotu diocese in the Solomon Islands and only a few weeks ago he was elected to be the next Archbishop of Melanesia. Sadly, Brother George died a couple of years ago but had exercised a remarkable ministry. In Tavistock both brothers were very much loved and admired for their simplicity of life, deep and prayerful spirituality and an ability to enable people to see what the Christian faith is all about. Some of you will have seen the brothers at work, as it were, when a large number of them came to the diocese in 2004 for the great mission or pilgrimage where they travelled round a number of places performing their dramas which depict elements of the Gospel together with their infectious dancing, singing and music on bamboo pipes. As a result of that and the time Brothers George and Leonard had in Tavistock, a number of people became Companions of the Melanesian Brotherhood based here and in Tavistock mostly. They support the work of the Brothers in prayer and financial aid especially when disaster strikes as it so often does.

They were joined by a number of Sisters as there are other religious orders in the Islands – The Sisters of Melanesia, The Sisters of the Church and the Franciscans. Again, some brothers and sisters came back to this diocese for what was called ‘Simply Living’ – a time of prayer, discussion and mission to encourage the Church here in its own mission. It is no longer a case of the Church in UK sending missionaries to the Islands of the South Pacific as in the 19th century but a two-way traffic of people from the islands coming here to encourage and support us. It is very special to be able to meet Sister Kristy here this morning.

All the religious orders in the Solomon Islands are engaged in work of reaching out to their communities and the islands, of which there are many. Some, especially the women’s orders are engaged in work with those who suffer domestic violence, other kinds of abuse, and have set up a women’s refuge. Education is also high on their agenda. The Mothers’ Union is very strong in the islands and has set up educational and parenting programmes. There is a huge need to combat the political instability and prevalent poverty and challenge the industry which has deforested so much of the islands and made them even more vulnerable to the effects of climate change. In past ethnic and tribal tensions and recent riots in the Solomon Islands the Brothers were the people most trusted to seek reconciliation. In 1999-2000 the Brothers worked on the Townsville Peace Agreement to enable working towards a better understanding in their Islands. But there is always at a cost and many of you will remember the seven brothers who, at a time of conflict with warring factions in the islands, were captured and martyred. Harold Keke, a rebel leader, would not comply with the agreement. Brother Nathaniel tried to reason and negotiate with him but was killed. Other Brothers went to find him and were also murdered. The martyred brothers have been remembered throughout the Anglican Communion and particularly at the last Lambeth Conference where a large icon was blessed and is in Canterbury Cathedral.

In the last few years a number of people, both ordained and lay, have gone from this diocese to the Solomon Islands and people from there have come here. There are schools which have special links with schools in the Solomon Islands which are proving beneficial in both directions. A PhD researcher is looking into the effects of climate change and the rising sea levels around the area as this is affecting so many communities who are very vulnerable.

In the Gospel Jesus sends out the 70 disciples two by two to proclaim the Kingdom, restore human dignity to the suffering and possessed; to show the face of God to the world. But they go with every vulnerability like lambs amongst wolves but need to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. That was not just the challenge to those early disciples it is a challenge to all of us now, whether in UK or Melanesia. One of the bishops from the Solomon Islands was asked what was the greatest priority for the Church in the Islands? His answer, given that at the time 95% of the population there was Christian, was mission and evangelization. He pointed out that God has no grandchildren. Every new generation needs to be confronted with the Gospel afresh.

The early disciples of Jesus were sent out in simple trust. They were not to be hampered with baggage. But they were to make a difference to the lives of those they encountered. They returned to the Lord rejoicing that their ministry and message had been effective.

Today we have been reflecting on the life of the Church in Melanesia on what is Solomon Islands’ Independence Day and we thank God for what the Church there is doing. It was recently announced that a previous Archbishop, The Most Reverend David Vunagi, has been appointed by the Queen to be the next Governor General of the Solomon Islands. The Church there and especially the religious orders are making a difference to the lives of people living in a very different kind of society from ours. But we, too, are called to make a difference in our society. As Jesus says, ‘the harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few’. We need to ask ourselves this week, will my life, my witness to Christ through what I do and what I am, make a difference to the life of someone else?

Ven John Rawlings

Jane Brooke

Learning From Each Other

Visiting four religious communities, four schools and St Barnabas Cathedral in Honiara, talking with clergy, Mothers’ Union and the brothers and sisters occupied nearly all of my time in the Solomon Islands very well! George enjoyed engaging with clergy undertaking their Bachelor of Theology degrees at Tabalia where the Melanesian Brothers offered us wonderful hospitality. Out of all my experiences, I thought you might like to hear about the visit to the cathedral.

St Barnabas CathedralOn June 16th we attended the cathedral in Honiara: it was a celebration of Trinity Sunday, St Barnabas and their 50th anniversary of the cathedral.

We arrived at 7.30am for the main service of the morning at 8.00am. There were 200 people attending the earlier 7.00am Eucharist and we waited until they left. They all left very quickly because there are many openings alongside the cathedral for them to use as an exit. The cathedral was decorated with vibrant flowers and the service was led by a choir of 70 with no organ. The Eucharist, celebrated by the Senior Bishop, was conducted with dignity and reverence and the Bishop of Ysabel preached on the theme of ‘love one another’. There were about 1000 people present with many young families: the overflow was catered for with extra chairs outside at the back of the cathedral. The Melanesian Brothers sang and danced traditional tribal dances bringing up the gospel in a small canoe which had, ‘Christ in culture’ written on the side. The Bishop read the gospel from the Bible which was open in the canoe.

The Dean of St Barnabas cuts the celebration cakeThe offertory of bread and wine was also carried up in a canoe accompanied by a vigorous and colourful dance by the Sunday School (selected from its 200 members). I thought you might be interested to know that the congregation bring their own hymn books to the service.

After the service there were speeches and then everyone went to the covered area next door for lunch. 800 were served lunch with a system of efficiency only to be admired. Meanwhile groups from the cathedral sang or danced on the stage enthusiastically and with joy. The groups included Sunday School (who sang the Lord’s Prayer), Mothers’ Union, Men’s Fellowship Group (who were mostly female!), the choir, the Melanesian Brothers and more. The Dean cut a cake for the 50 years of the cathedral – even though the cathedral intends to celebrate the 50 years properly in 2020. It was a wonderful day and I can’t see how they can improve on the celebrations next year. We finished at 3.00pm.

Thank you to you all for your prayers while we were there.

Canon Jane Brooke

Archbishop Elect Leonard Dawea

Anglican Church of Melanesia elects new Archbishop

The Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACoM) has a new Archbishop. He is the Rt Revd Leonard Dawea, who is currently the Bishop of the Diocese of Temotu (DOT) in Solomon Islands.

Bishop Dawea 47, was elected to the highest Episcopal position within the Anglican Church by the ACoM Provincial Electoral Board this afternoon, the 25th of June at Tabalia; headquarters of the Melanesian Brotherhood, west of Honiara. The Provincial Electoral Board that elected the Rt Revd Dawea has been in retreat since Sunday 23rd June.

He is the sixth Archbishop in succession since the Anglican Church of Melanesia was inaugurated in January 1975 as an independent ecclesiastical province from New Zealand. He succeeds the Most Revd George Angus Takeli who retired on the 24th March this year.

The Rt Revd Leonard Dawea holds a Bachelor of Theology with Honours (BTh/Hons.), in the field of Theology and Ethics from the University College Chester (now Chester University). Prior to being elected as the next Archbishop of the church, he served the ACoM as a full member of the Melanesian Brotherhood from 1995 to 2007. He was ordained into the Priesthood in 2007. After his ordination he served within the Melanesian Brotherhood as tutor and chaplain. In 2013 he was appointed the Mission Secretary of DOT from 2013 to 2014 and later as Diocesan Secretary from 2015 to 2016.

Archbishop elect, the Rt Revd Dawea is from the Reef Islands in Temotu and is married to Dorah Dawea from Guadalcanal and they have two children.

His enthronement and installation to become an Archbishop is scheduled for 15th September at Saint Barnabas Provincial Cathedral this year.

The previous Archbishops serving the church were, – The Most Reverend Norman Palmer 1975 – 1987, The Most Rev. Amos Waiaru 1988 – 1993, The Most Rev. Sir Ellison Pogo 1994 – 2008, The Most Rev. David Vunagi 2009 – 2015 and the Most Rev. George Takeli 2016 – 2019.

The Anglican Province of Melanesia covers three independent nations of Solomon Islands, the Republic of Vanuatu and the French Trust Territory of New Caledonia. Its Provincial Headquarters is in Honiara with a sub – Provincial Administration Office at Luganville on Santo in Vanuatu. It has seven dioceses in Solomon Islands and two in Vanuatu.

The Senior Bishop of the Church, the Rt Revd Nathan Tome is calling on all members of the church to pray for Bishop Leonard and family as he prepares to take on this highest position within the Church of Melanesia.

Released on the Authority of: The Senior Bishop of ACoM – The Rt Revd Nathan Tome and the ACoM Provincial Electoral Board
News story and pictures from ACoM Communications

Archbishop Retires

Archbishop Retires

Archbishop RetiresThe sixth Archbishop of the Anglican Church Melanesia and the Bishop of the Diocese of Central Melanesia (DoCM), the Most Reverend George Angus Takeli, was officially farewelled last month in a moving Liturgical service at Saint Barnabas Provincial Cathedral. Towards the end of the service, the Archbishop placed on the Altar the two symbols representing his pastoral oversight; the Primatial Cross of the Archbishop of Melanesia and the Pastoral Staff of the Bishop of Central Melanesia. These will be handed to the new Archbishop when he is installed later on this year.

A large congregation including the Bishops from the nine Dioceses, representative from the Melanesian Mission Trust Board in New Zealand, supporters from Melanesian Mission in UK and other government dignitaries came to witness the service.

In his Sermon, Archbishop George said the Liturgical Service marks the beginning of a time of prayer and reflection for the Church to uphold members of the Provincial Electoral Board, to seek the mind of God to reveal the next person to lead the Church.

“As we choose our next Archbishop, it is important for us to see the mission field and the future of our Church with fresh eyes or with the eyes of God,” he added.

“God did not allow me to continue on with the plans I have for the Church; however, he has already anointed someone amongst his Church to continue this work into the future.” he said.

In his farewell address, the retired Archbishop thanked the chairman and team from the Melanesian Mission Trust Board in New Zealand, members of the Trust and supporters of the Melanesian Mission in the United Kingdom, oversea partners, Diplomatic Offices in Vanuatu and Solomon Islands through relevant Ministries, Solomon Islands Christian Association (SICA) and Solomon Islands Full Gospel Association (SIFGA,) for friendship and support during his term as Archbishop.

Archbishop Retires
In his three-year period, Archbishop George launched the Decade of Renewal and Evangelism, provided training for the Council of Bishops and their wives, clergy and lay administrators, in the areas of leadership and administration, mission work and pastoral care; raising the Clergy remuneration, and the building of a new office complex for ACoM Provincial Head Quarters; to name a few.

Garry Swift of MMTB New Zealand, Dr. Abraham Hauriasi, ACoM General Secretary and the Senior Bishop of the church, the Right Rev Nathan Tome, acknowledged the leadership of the retired Archbishop over the past three years. “You end your term of leadership with many and big achievements though within a short period of time.” Bishop Tome said.

The next Archbishop will be elected in June and installed in September.

News story and pictures from ACoM Communications

MBH Australia

Melanesian Brotherhood News

MBH Australia
Br. Augustine Paekeni and Br. Matthias Tovotasi

The Melanesian Brotherhood (MBH) opened a new household in Shepparton Parish, Wangaratta Diocese in Australia in April.

Br. Matthias Tovotasi from Guadalcanal and Br. Augustine Paekeni from Isabel, joined two Papua New Guinea Brothers to serve in the household.

The extension of the MBH mission to Shepparton Parish came following a request by the Diocesan Bishop of Wangaratta Diocese, the Right Rev. John Parkes for Melanesian Brothers to serve in his diocese.

The Rt Rev. John Parkes in his letter to the Melanesian Brotherhood in July last year stated a need to have the Brothers in his Diocese.

MBH Australia - Keith Joseph
Rt. Rev. Keith Joseph – Bishop of Northern Queensland

“We see the Brothers joining us as equal participants with the existing ministry team of the Shepparton Parish; to fulfil their apostolate of prime evangelism to the untouched multicultural population of Shepparton. This is a mission the current parish ministry finds it difficult to do because of some barriers; to give a wholeness to the ministerial team which is a gift those in religious life traditionally bring and to enhance holiness of the community by their participation in the daily round prayer within the Parish and to provide for training opportunities in both secular and religious fields”.

The MBH Council agreed upon the request in July last year and arrangements were made. A total of eight Brothers from Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, including the Head Brother, Br. Nelson Bako and Regional Head Brother of Papua New Guinea region, Br. Joe Narui, witnessed the opening of the new household in Shepparton Parish, on 7th April.

Before the opening, the Brothers attended the consecration service of Fr. Keith Joseph as the 11th Diocesan Bishop of Northern Queensland on Sunday 31st March. Dr. Aram Oroi, Principal of Bishop Patterson Theological College preached in this consecration service.

On 4th May Companions to the Melanesian Brotherhood from across the UK, will meet in London to pray and give thanks for the Brotherhood and plan their activities for the next 12 months.

News story and pictures from ACoM Communications

Solomon Islands Flooding

Solomon Islands Flood Update

ACoM DISASTER COMMITTEE RESPONDS TO AFFECTED COMMUNITIES

ACoM Disaster Committee continues to respond to communities and church institutions affected by the bad weather earlier this year in parts of Guadalcanal and Honiara. Relief supplies are mainly of bags of rice which will sustain these communities and institutions while their crops regrow over the coming months. Information gathered shows that the receiving communities and institutions are not just Anglican members, and ACoM is happy to give out what it can give to the victims of the recent bad weather.

The recipient communities include; Marasa Inland and coastal villages and Kolina in Weathercoast Areas, Selwyn College, BPTC Kohimarama, Religious Communities (MBH, CSC, CSM and SSF).

ACoM acknowledges its donor partners – Melanesian Mission Trust Board, Anglican Overseas Aid, Australia Board of Mission, The Melanesian Mission, dioceses, businesses, families and individuals who have made donations towards this appeal.

Disaster happens anywhere at any time, so let’s be on alert at all times.

News story from ACoM Communications. Picture by Kasper Supa

ACoM Bishops Rt Revd James Tama and Rt Revd Rickson Maomaoru

Melanesian Bishops Visit The UK

New BishopsIn February, the Rt Revd James Tama, Bishop of Vanuatu and New Caledonia, and the Rt Revd Rickson Maomaoru, Assistant Bishop of Malaita visited the UK. First they attended the ‘New Bishops’ course in Canterbury with visits to Lambeth Palace and the Anglican Communion Office.

The Bishops went on to visit Wycombe Abbey, one of MMUK’s oldest supporters, which is also linked with St Patrick’s College in Vanuatu. The Bishops were interviewed by pupils and were able to give an update on St Patricks College, which was evacuated from the island of Ambae last year.

Bishops Rickson Maomaoru, Robert Atwell, Bishop of Exeter, and James Tama
Bishops Rickson Maomaoru, Robert Atwell, Bishop of Exeter, and James Tama

In Exeter Diocese, the Bishops met Rt Revd Bishop Robert Atwell, Bishop of Exeter and the Dean of Exeter Cathedral, the Very Reverend Jonathan Greener. Walking in Patteson’s footsteps, the Bishops also visited the home of Bishop John Coleridge Patteson (first Bishop of Melanesia), his family’s church, the church where he was curate, and memorials to Patteson’s ministry and martyrdom.

The Bishops then went to the Diocese of Chester, which is officially linked to the Province of Melanesia. They met representatives of local schools which have partnerships with schools in the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. They visited the retreat house at Foxhill, where they saw the new cross which has been made and presented by the Melanesian Brothers, and the Sisters of Jesus Way, who are now linked with the Sisters of Melanesia. They spent a day looking at mission projects across the diocese, ending with a dinner hosted by Bishop Peter at Bishop’s House, attended by many friends and supporters.

Both Bishops enjoyed a ‘quiet day’ on the Saturday, with Bishop James meeting up with family and Bishop Rickson spending the day with Reverend Jacky Wise, who had worked alongside him at Selwyn College, as part of the Chaplaincy Team. The two visited Liverpool Cathedral and Jacky was delighted to be able to return in some small way something of the generous hospitality that she had received in the Solomon Islands. The Bishops also took part in the Sunday morning Eucharist at Chester Cathedral, where Bishop James preached and Bishop Rickson gave the blessing.

Reflecting on his visit, Bishop Rickson said: “We learnt much about our historical links and connections. It was indeed a worthwhile visit in terms of the creative response towards climate change and holistic mission in our Anglican Network and how to address these issues globally with sustainable means for the future.

“God continue to sustain MMUK with his wisdom as it becomes a medium for transformation in our Anglican world today. God bless you all,” said Bishop Rickson.

Human Rights Training - The Team

Human Rights Training Continues

Due to fly out this week, Rachel Crossley, Christine Calderwood and Clem Noble report on the latest stage of Human Rights training in the Solomon Islands.

“We are all born free and equal. We have our own thoughts and ideas. We should all be treated the same way”
Article 1 United Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)

In November 2016, we travelled to Honiara as part of the project ‘Article 1: Free and Equal’ to deliver Human Rights Education training to teachers from ACoM Solomon Island secondary schools. ‘Article 1’ is a project to introduce human rights to the Solomon Islands, to increase understanding of human rights and how this integrates with existing Christian beliefs and values. Thereby helping to support efforts being made by Solomon Island Citizens to create peaceful and stable communities, and particularly to help reduce gender inequality and violence against women. We firmly believe that all learning and change starts with Education.

“Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause”
Isaiah 1:17

The workshops were attended by eleven teachers from six schools across the Solomon Islands. All of the teachers engaged enthusiastically with the workshops and successfully completed them, becoming ‘Human Rights Champions’ with a commitment to pass on their learning to colleagues and their wider communities.

Whilst there we were generously welcomed by both the Community of the Sisters of the Church and the Melanesian Brotherhood. Meetings also took place with a number of stakeholders (including the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development, the Ministry for Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs, the Solomon Islands Police Force, and the President of the Mothers Union). The project was positively received by all, and all agreed that national implementation of some form of human rights education would be beneficial and a positive contribution towards ongoing efforts to promote gender equality.

Since returning the team were pleased to receive very positive feedback and encouragement to apply for further funding by the British High Commissioner’s (BHC) Office, to continue and expand the Human Rights Education programme.

Having secured further funding we are due to return in March of this year. The second stage project aims to extend the training to primary school teachers as well as providing further training for secondary human rights champions. The project was also picked up by the British High Commission in Papua New Guinea and we are delighted that we have teachers from PNG joining us for this stage. We have a total of 29 confirmed attendees and will also be holding at their request a one-day workshop for the four Anglican religious orders and the Mothers’ Union.

We are very grateful and thankful for the support of MMUK, ACoM and the British High Commissions in the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, without whom this project would not be possible.

Human Rights Training - Bishops
Christine Calderwood – Project Leader with Bishops James and Rickson, during their UK visit earlier this month

Prayer

Dear Lord
We ask your blessing on Christine, Clem and Rachel as they travel to the Solomon Islands.
May their work be filled with your wisdom.
May those who they work with be inspired by your Holy Spirit
and may they all work for the furtherance of your Kingdom.
May all be encouraged to obey your commandment of love
and may there be respect for all in every part of society.
We ask your blessings and encouragement in Jesus name.
Amen.

Christine and her team will be taking out with them letters and art projects from UK schools linked with schools in the Solomon Islands, as part of the ongoing school partnerships which MMUK facilitates. UK pupils are looking forward to seeing what Christine brings back from the pupils at the partnered schools.

Christine Calderwood

Nupani Atoll

Cyclone Oma

Cyclone Oma left a trail of damage, leaving many homeless in the Nupani Atoll. Homes were washed away by high storm surges submerging the atoll for ten days – killing taro and banana crops. In other parts of Vattu and Pele regions there was also extensive damage to food crops – breadfruit, banana, cassava, pawpaw and vegetables. It will take at least twelve months to recover. Food assistance is needed for six months.

Read the full Diocese of Temotu Disaster Assessment Report and Donate through the our giving channels.

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

Acknowledgements:

  • 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