Tag: Melanesian Brothers

Melanesian Brothers

AGM & Festival 2020 Zoom Gallery

AGM & Festival 2020

AGM & Festival 2020 Banner

On Monday 21st September, the Melanesian Mission held its first online AGM and Festival, with over 70 attendees from across the UK, Australia and Melanesia.


The event was due to have taken place in London in July with all the Bishops from Melanesia, just before they were to attend the Lambeth Conference. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and postponed Lambeth Conference, plans were changed and the event went online.

The evening began with worship led by Trustees Canon Daphne Jordan from the Diocese of Blackburn and the Ven Mike Gilbertson, Archdeacon of Chester. A recording of the congregation at Tabalia singing the Lord is My Shepherd (Psalm 23) hymn was played, and the Collect for Patteson Day read.

At the Annual General Meeting, the charity presented and approved the end of year accounts from 2019 – 2020, appointed Thomas Westcott Accountants as Independent Examiners for 2020 – 2021 and approved the Review of the Year.

The Ven Mike Gilbertson was re-elected as a Trustee for three years, and Canon Jane Brooke from Chester Cathedral was elected as a Trustee for three years. Mr Andrew Cartwright stepped down as Trustee and was thanked for his many years of service.

At the Festival there were presentations from MMUK Trustee Kate Pwaisiho on ‘village life and climate change’ and from Sam Rylands who stayed with the Melanesian Brothers in March. There was also an opportunity to hear from Revd Sr Veronica CSC, joining the meeting from Honiara, and Revd Br Nelson MBH who is training in Fiji. In a pre-recorded address, the Archbishop of Melanesia thanked members for their ‘unwavering support to Melanesia’.

The Archbishop went on to speak about the current COVID-19 situation in the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, the importance of climate research in the region and his church’s priorities for mission, including the reintroduction of ‘health ministry’.

Archbishop Leonard ended his address by saying: “I wish you all God’s blessing on your work and our partnership for the Kingdom of God. It is good to talk to you. Though we missed out a lot on the face-to-face communication, may I assure you that ACoM holds you and your families and the work you do to heart. And most especially during this time of extraordinary uncertainty and fear. May God bless all the Trustees, supporters, your families, and our partnership in mission. Thank you.”

Read the full Archbishop of Melanesia’s AGM & Festival 2020 Address.

The Rt Revd Mark Rylands, Chair of MMUK, finished the evening by sharing the charity’s priorities for the year ahead, recognising that events and visits in both directions will probably be impossible. The charity will continue to facilitate climate change research in the region, and review how it communicates with supporters, and create more online resources and events, including online coffee mornings.  

Finally the date and venue of the 2021 AGM and Festival was announced. It will be on Saturday 18th September at Exeter Cathedral, where the charity will celebrate the life and ministry of Bishop John Coleridge Patteson, first Bishop of Melanesia, on the 150th anniversary of his martyrdom.

Hear more from Sam Rylands in our Summer 2020 Magazine on his time spent with the Melanesian Brothers;

Cosimo Lewis with Melanesian Brothers at Chester Rest House

My Time With The Melanesian Brotherhood

A little over a year ago, two members of the Melanesian Brotherhood came to my school to give a sermon during our morning chapel service. They talked about some of the history of the Brotherhood, the work it does now, and closed off by encouraging us to spend part of our gap year working with them in the Solomon Islands. This caught my interest, as at the time I was deliberating whether or not I should take a gap year. I was able to meet the brothers, along with some other boys who had expressed an interest, where we were able to hear in more detail what a gap year would entail, as well as ask some questions.

Following this, I was put in to contact with the Melanesian Mission UK, as well as Brother Alphonse, the secretary for the Brotherhood, who helped me organise the 3 months I planned to spend there. All of this came as something of a surprise to my parents, but when I explained to them what I would be doing, they were very supportive. English is the official language of the Solomon Islands, but the most commonly spoken language is Pidgin. Therefore, I agreed to teach English to the novices at Tabalia Central Headquarters, on the main island of Guadalcanal.

At the start of my gap year I spent some time working to raise enough money for the flights, and in mid-January, flew from Gatwick to Honiara, via Honk Kong & Port Moresby. Upon arrival, I was greeted by three of the brothers, including the Assistant Head Brother, as well as the sweltering heat of the tropics. Although I had arrived towards the end of the wet season, it was still extremely hot and humid. We were driven to Tabalia, with a short stop at Chester Rest House, where I was introduced to the Head Brother and the novice in charge of guests, and treated to some local delicacies, including fresh fruit and coconut, and given a flower garland.

Melanesian Brotherhood at Tabalia

On one of the first Sundays after I arrived, a Saint’s Day feast was held. This involved a great deal of preparation, including grating cassava for a pudding with which I helped. The feast itself was very impressive, laid out on palm leaves, and preceded by some excellent singing. Several brothers from other parts of the mission had also travelled to Tabalia for the feast, and to bring greetings from their stations.

The general routine of my day included chapel in the morning and afternoon, meals in either the guest house or the dining hall, and teaching English to the novices on Monday & Thursday. Teaching and getting to know the novices was a very rewarding experience, and the main feature of my time there. Their classes were separated into Year 2 and Year 3 (new novices having not yet arrived), who each had a double English lesson once a week. My lessons included explaining grammatical concepts, and then having the novices answer questions about them, both verbally and on the blackboard. One area I particularly focused on was explaining tenses, as Pidgin has no real equivalent. Towards the end of the lesson, we would usually play a few games of Hangman, which the novices really enjoyed, as well as being a good way of improving vocabulary and spelling. I also set the novices several essays to write for homework, to allow them to practice writing longer pieces, as it helps them prepare sermons.

Of course, it wasn’t all work. I greatly enjoyed taking part in the Sunday football matches (admittedly with more enthusiasm than skill), including one memorable match in the pouring rain, which resulted in some very entertaining tackles. It was also very refreshing to be able to walk down to the beach, through the jungle, to go for a swim. Along the path to the beach, one can also see the remains of a WW2-era Japanese tank.

While I had originally planned to stay for three months, unfortunately I was forced to return home after only two, due to the coronavirus pandemic resulting in borders shutting and flights being cancelled. While of course I was very happy to be seeing my family again, it was a great shame to not be able to stay the full three months, as there was still a lot to do and see. For instance, I would have spent Holy Week staying with some of the novices in one of the local villages, helping out with their teaching. I hope to be able to visit the islands and the Brothers again soon, but in the meantime, I aim to encourage others to do the same, particularly those from my school who are considering taking a gap year.

Cosimo Lewis

Port Cruz, Honiara, Solomon Islands

Melanesian Brotherhood – April 2020 Update

Honiara, Solomon IslandsAt the moment the Solomon Islands have officially recorded no cases of COVID-19. However, this certainly is no guarantee that the virus has not arrived here, as suspected cases have to be sent off to Australia for testing and take 4-5 days to be returned. We are currently awaiting the results of a several tests and have already begun lockdown procedures across the Islands. Additionally China is the Islands main trading partner, with a significant population of Chinese as well as Philippines, Malaysians and Vietnamese all regularly travelling back and forth for the last several months- it is more likely that the virus has not been properly tracked here due to the lack of an adequate and organised health care system.

Central Market, Honiara, Solomon IslandsCurrently the government have already begun a lockdown, with people being sent back to their home islands, schools, shops and markets all closing. The threat of the pandemic is considerable here, with generally poor hygiene practice and understanding, people living closely in communities and many living under one roof means the option of self-isolation is not viable and with only one hospital on the main island and no ventilators, an outbreak of COVID-19 will likely hold extremely severe consequences.

Furthermore, and potentially more of a threat than the virus itself, is the economic impact. Being a collection of islands, the Solomons is especially reliant on outside trade for food and medicine supplies. However, with several neighbouring countries stopping or reducing their shipping and flights, there is a real threat of food shortages and other essential items becoming inaccessible. At the moment there is a plan for a weekly humanitarian cargo flight from Australia organised by WHO and Australian Aid. However, if restrictions are in place for too long this could pose a serious threat to the social and economic stability of the Solomons. Moreover, the closure of the markets here in Honiara means that in lots of cases people’s sole source of income has been removed overnight.

In light of this, the Brotherhood and the local church are preparing to step into the breach should the situation overwhelm a government who simply does not have the organisation or communication systems available to control the situation. Particularly given the Brother’s role during the ethnic tensions in the early 2000’s (for which they were awarded a UN peace prize), the Brotherhood are a central and trusted community for the people of the Solomons and they are already playing a crucial role in relief efforts- through their spiritual support, but also in practical guidance in modelling and sharing best practices of hygiene and health care as well as helping people financially who have no income following the closure of shops and markets. During the tensions the government and other authorities were unable to do anything and the people turned to the Brothers. So now with the virus, the Brothers are preparing spiritually and practically to support the people through this.

Alphonse Garimae
Secretary of the Melanesian Brotherhood

The Right Revd Dr Keith Joseph, Bishop of North Queensland

More Flooding At Selwyn College

Last month Selwyn College was flooded, and the school had to be evacuated and closed. The Right Revd Dr Keith Joseph, Bishop of North Queensland, looks back on his experience of flooding on Guadalcanal.

“I was a lecturer at Bishop Patteson Theological College in February 2009 when the first big floods to hit North-West Guadalcanal happened. Selwyn College was flooded, all the food garden around the college were flooded, but the floods were more widespread across all of the area from Selwyn College back towards Honiara. About 10,000 people lost their food gardens, sources of fresh water were polluted for months, homes and villages destroyed. At least twenty people drowned.

The heavy rains were not particularly new, though with Climate Change there might be more periods of sustained heavy rain than before. But in this case the new factor was deforestation. Before, when there were heavy rains, the forests on top of the hills and mountains held the water and released it gradually. But without the forests the rain just ran off the soil immediately and there was “flash flooding”. Since 2009 there has been more deforestation and more flooding.

The cause of deforestation and the cause of climate change are the same: human greed which sees the environment as something to be used and abused without consequences. The cash stays with the big men but does not get to the people who need it – but they are the ones who suffer the consequences of deforestation and climate change. The Churches must take a prophetic role: they must tell out that this abuse of the environment is ungodly and goes against the Bible. In Genesis 1.26 we humans are given “dominion” over creation – but this is never ownership. God owns creation. We are simply his stewards, entrusted with his creation for our use and that of our children and grandchildren, remembering that in the end we all will return to him. In the Old Testament the people of God are told to look after the land, to give it sabbath – and then condemned for not doing so (2 Chronicles 36.21). Like the prophets of old we are called to proclaim God’s justice against those who spoil his creation.”

+ Keith

The Right Revd Dr Keith Joseph
Bishop of North Queensland

Litany of Environmental Lament Header

Litany of Environmental Lament and Repentance From Melanesia

Minister General for the Society of St Francis Br Christopher John, was recently asked by the Anglican Communion Environmental Network to ask Franciscans in Melanesia to write a litany of environmental repentance. Br Chris expanded the brief and held a short workshop for all four of the Orders in Melanesia to write the piece for Ash Wednesday. The below is taken from the original, Litany of Environmental Lament and Repentance From Melanesia, and is free for further distribution.

God of the whole human race.
You have given us responsibility to care for each other. But we have exploited and hated each other by our wickedness.
We turn to you in sorrow and repentance.
Please help us to look to you and care for each other.

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

O God of creation.
You have created land for us to make our gardens and for trees, animals and all living creatures on the earth.
Forgive us for our destruction of the land by logging and poisonous chemicals.
We turn to you in sorrow and repentance.

Help us O Lord to care for the land that you have given us.

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

God of the universe, the ocean and of love.
You have given us the ocean for fish, shells, reefs, whales, waves, corals, and for ships and boats.

We have destroyed the ocean and everything in it, and not cared for it.
We turn to you in sorrow and repentance.
Please help us to care for the ocean, and to recognise that it is your blessing for us.

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

God of the forest, in which all living things survive and engage their life and move peacefully.
You have given us wisdom, knowledge and understanding to use our resources well in a manageable manner.

We have been careless, short-sighted, and selfish and failed to share with other people throughout the world.

We turn to you in sorrow and repentance.
Please help us to think positively of your goodness and loving kindness. Please help us  to see the needs of others as you have Litany of Environmental Lament and Repentance From Melanesia seen us living in your beautiful forest.

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

God of the universe, the God who created the atmosphere. By your power of creation you made the sky so beautiful, the sun to give us light during the day and the moon and the stars to give light during the night. You have given us clouds to bring rain and give life to your creatures.

Lord, we turn to you with a penitent heart for all the destructions we have caused to the atmosphere.

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

Merciful God, God of love and everything in this world. You have created the rain, winds, storms, cyclones, earthquakes, volcanoes and floods to renew your creation. Help us to understand their existence in your world.

We turn to you in sorrow and repentance. Please, Father, forgive us for the human activities which have overpowered the weather and caused destruction of our environment.

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

God you are our creator, the source of all wisdom and power. You have created humans and animals and you have appointed us humans to be responsible for them.

Forgive us who destroy your creatures. We turn to you in sorrow and repentance. Help us Lord to love and to care for them as you care for us.

Lord in your mercy
Hear our prayer

Written by members of the four Religious Orders in the Anglican Church of Melanesia.
Melanesian Brotherhood, Society of St Francis, Community of the Sisters of the Church, Community of the Sisters of Melanesia.

The Anglican Church of Melanesia includes 9 dioceses in the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia. It is one of the areas of the world most vulnerable to climate change  due to sea level rise

To find out more about the impacts of climate change
https://abcnews.go.com/International/solomon-islands-disappear-pacific-ocean-result-climate-change/story?id=38985469

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Welcome at Chester Rest House

A chance to see : The Solomon Islands

A chance to see : The Solomon Islands
A chance to meet : Melanesians
A chance to learn : The life and faith, challenges and hopes of the people of these islands

Two weeks in Guadalcanal and Nggela Islands.

Visiting : Four Religious Communities in their households (Melanesian Brothers and Sisters; Franciscan Brothers, Sisters of the Church), villages, schools and local sites.

Tuesday September 15th to Thursday October 1st 2020.

For many this may be a ‘once in a lifetime’ visit to the far side of the world, so we are suggesting everyone makes their own way to and from Honiara (via Brisbane, Port Moresby or Nadi) – you may wish to visit India, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, China , Philippines, USA, New Zealand en route. The choice is yours! (We will certainly help search for flights if you wish!).

Accommodation : Chester Rest House in Honiara, Religious Communities’ and Mothers’ Union Guest Houses.

Travel : Public Transport in Honiara district is by mini-bus and ship.

  • The Religious Communities have their own ‘trucks’ which may not be very comfortable, but very memorable.
  • The Church of Melanesia owns the ‘Southern Cross’ ship, which it may be possible for us to use, depending on its September schedules.
  • 15-seater Mini-bus if and when needed.

Cost : Depending on your route, you should be able to get to Brisbane and back for around £750. The Air Fare from Brisbane to Honiara is about £400 return.

Travel costs around the Solomons are impossible to calculate. A Self-drive 15-seater would cost about £150 per day + fuel.

Tony and Alison Sparham spent two years in Melanesia in 1998/99 working at Kohimarama Theological College. They have agreed to lead this proposed group.

At present, we would like to know who is interested – we can arrange a meeting(s) to go over more details in the New Year.

Be warned!! Anyone who has visited the Solomons Islands has become very committed to developing relationships with them. The people and the places grow on you – life will never be the same again!

Please contact MMUK to receive more information. Numbers will be limited.

Tony Sparham

The City is my Monastery: A Contemporary Rule of Life - Richard Carter

The City is my Monastery: A Contemporary Rule of Life

New Book – The City is my Monastery: A Contemporary Rule of Life

Canterbury Press published October 2019

This book is based on my experiences of being a Melanesian Brother and then returning to the UK to become a priest at St Martin-in-the-Fields in the centre of London. It tells of my search to live more prayerfully and sustainably in the middle of the city and to live out the values I had learnt from the Melanesian Brotherhood. The book describes my search through silence, service, sacrament, scripture, sharing, Sabbath time, and stability to build community that is generous, spacious and welcoming and to live values which can sustain us in all the stresses of the modern world.

Rowan Williams writes in the afterword of this book:

“This wonderful book is both recognizable and startlingly new. What we have here is a workbook for living in and with meaning. Christian meaning. Jesus shaped meaning.”

Rev Richard Carter

Melanesian Brotherhood Great Conference 2019

Great Conference of the Melanesian Brotherhood – October 2019

What a huge joy it was to be in the Solomon Islands again and to spend two weeks at the Headquarters of the Melanesian Brotherhood at Tabalia. I was very privileged to be invited by the Melanesian Brotherhood to lead the Brotherhood Retreat and Workshop for Brothers and Companions for their Great Conference 2019. It was wonderful that two of our Companions from the UK Barbara Molyneux and Ruth Chesworth also took part and presented the report from our UK Companions.

The new Archbishop and Father of the Brotherhood The Most Revd Leonard Dawea attended the retreat, and chaired the election of new leaders and the conference presiding at the feast day of St Simon and Jude and the admission of 26 new Brothers. The Melanesian Brotherhood (MBH) elected Br. Jairus Honiseu as their new Head Brother and Br. Augustine Paikeni as Assistant Head brother. Br. Jairus is from Lenga village in Ulawa Island, Makira Ulawa Province and Br. Augustine is from Isabel. 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 Papua New Guinea.

Archbishop Leonard Dawea and the New MBH Leaders
Archbishop Leonard Dawea and the New MBH Leaders

I found the Melanesian Brotherhood in very good heart. The Headquarters at Tabalia is looking more beautiful than ever and we and many others were welcomed with such overwhelming generosity and hospitality. Brother Nelson Bako who studied with us at Chester College had done a wonderful job as Head Brother for the last three years. Huge gardens had been prepared so that all the many guests could be fed and we were overwhelmed by the care and planning that had gone into making this conference such an inspiring event. It really was like living the Beatitudes. The retreat I led focused on the foundation stones of religious life- silence, service, sacrament, scripture, sharing and stability and in the workshop we explored these themes with Brothers and Companions really participating. In the evenings we had talks, dance and music and it was wonderful to see a great production of Ini Kopuria about the founder of the Brotherhood, a play I first wrote for the community more than 20 years ago. I was also so pleased to be there with our UK companions Barbara and Ruth who really have served as such faithful Companions: our Companions and support and prayer for the Brotherhood in UK is so deeply appreciated and the Melanesian Brotherhood particularly asked me to convey to all Companions, the Melanesian Mission UK and all their friends- their greetings, thanks and prayers.

Richard Cater and Most Reverend Leonard Dawea
Richard Cater and Most Reverend Leonard Dawea

The Brotherhood Conference focused on the work in all the Regions including Papua New Guinea Vanuatu and Philippines. Particularly moving were the stories of how the Brothers had soi bravely faced the volcano on Ambae in Vanuatu and relocation of their household. Other exciting developments were the training programme and library at Tabalia, the new mission household in Australia and the new household planned for the Torres Straits and the courage and perseverance of the the Brothers in Palawan in the Philippines. I was particularly impressed by the wise and careful strategic planning and financial management of the Melanesian Brotherhood through the wise oversight of Alphonse Garimae. His very important role and dedicated work was acknowledged by all at the conference. Our new Father of the Brotherhood and Archbishop presided over everything with such a wonderfully refreshing humility, wisdom and grace. It was so wonderful to be back with this inspiring community and to worship and pray with them again.

Revd Richard Carter

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

 

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