Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Br. Obed leads Melanesian Brotherhood in Vanuatu

THE Melanesian Brotherhood in the Southern Region together with the Church goers at Tumsisiro, the head quarter of MBH in Vanuatu witnessed the installation of their new Regional Head Brother; Br. Obed Johnson.

Brother Obed Johnson was installed by the Father of the Brotherhood in Vanuatu, the Rt. Rev. James Ligo on the 10th of May 2013 during his episcopal tour to the Diocese of Vanuatu and New Caledonia.

Brother Obed Johnson was appointed to lead the MBH in this region after the position of the Head was vacant from several months following the release of former head brother Rev. Ricky Lenga on 18th November 2012.
Since 18th November 2012, the MBH in Vanuatu without the leading figure encountered many challenges and hardships physically, emotionally and spiritually but continue to believe in God to intervene in thy own good time.
Brother Obed Johnsen was appointed at the Brotherhood Council meeting held at the Head quarter of the Melanesian Brotherhood – Tabalia early February 2013.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Agents of Change launched in Honiara - SI

The Anglican Alliance biggest capacity building programme, Agents of Change was launched in Honiara on the 11th July 2013. The ACOMBM Mission Secretary, Fr George Elo launched the study programme and will be facilitated by the Anglican Alliance Pacific Facilitator, Tagolyn Kabekabe.
A total of 11 participants are undertaking the program which will run for six months. The participants are drawn from all walks of life and are all very enthusiastic about their participation.
The Honiara participants have two mentors, Robert Price and Kayleigh Pickard who are based in London. The mentors are the first point of contact for the participants in providing feedback on modules as well as guiding them in working toward their chosen project. Mentors who normally come from outside the country of the participants they are mentoring, are people with higher education qualifications, many of them development professionals or academics, who commit to providing feedback to participants at five key points of their studies.

According to Mrs. Kabekabe, the programme is given such a name as it is the expectation of the Anglican Alliance, through the Anglican Communion that the participants upon completion of their study will work with their communities as Agents of Change and live out the 5 Marks of Mission that is; to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom, to teach, baptise and nurture new believers, to respond to human need by loving service, to seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation, to strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.
This is part of the first round of launches that is currently happening in the four main regions of the Anglican Communion namely Africa, Pacific Asia, Pacific and South America & Caribbean. It is hoped that there will be a second round next year 2014.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Thousands witness the inauguration of the Diocese of Guadalcanal


Warriors meeting Archbishop and his party at Lengalau beach on Saturday 22nd June 2013


THE 23rd day of June 2013 is now a historical day for the Anglican Community in the Province of Melanesia but more particularly it is for the Anglican members of Guadalcanal.

Thousands and thousands of Anglican members both in and around the new diocese of Guadalcanal witnessed the inauguration of the diocese of Guadalcanal and installation of Right Reverend Nathan Tome as first Bishop of the diocese of Guadalcanal at Saint Paul’s Church, Lengalau Village. Straight after the service, Bishop Tome was also installed as cultural leader of the island of Guadalcanal.

Deputy Prime Minister Honorable Manasseh Maelanga along with other Government Ministers and the leader of Opposition Dr. Derrick Sikua, Archbishop David Vunagi and the Council of Bishops, General Secretary Dr. Abraham Hauriasi, Chancellor and the Vice Chancellor, clergy men and women and lay people of the church of Melanesia that includes Vanuatu and New Caledonia; Archbishop Adrian Smith of the Roman Catholic Church in Honiara, Representatives from the Melanesian Mission United Kingdom, Australia Board of Mission and Melanesia Trust Board New Zealand are among thousands and thousands of people attending the grate event.

The official program begun on the beautiful Saturday afternoon; the 22nd day of June with an official welcome ceremony that begun with traditional war canoe escorting the Archbishop of the Church of Melanesia the Most Reverend David Vunagi and his team from the Anglican Flag ship – MV Southern Cross.
On the 23rd at the Inauguration service and the installation of Bishop Tome, Archbishop Adrian Smith of the Roman Catholic Church in Honiara shared a very simple and inspiring message based in the book of Kings about the story of Elijah when he response to God’s call and confronted the Prophets of Baal and a gospel from Saint Luke chapter 8 verses 26 – 39.

Off the two readings he picked out his theme “God is strong and has power over all evil”.
“Today as we inaugurate the new diocese of Guadalcanal, it is important that all we do is done in the name of Christ Jesus” Archbishop Smith said.

“It is only through Christ Jesus that this new diocese can achieve the mission of the Church” he continued.
“We have to put away our tribal differences and united as one in Christ Jesus because the strength of the diocese of Guadalcanal depends on your fidelity (loyalty, faithfulness)”; Archbishop Smith made the call to the people of the new diocese. 
On the same note after declared the first Bishop of the Diocese of Guadalcanal by the Archbishop of the Church of Melanesia the Most Rev. David Vunagi; Right Reverend Nathan Tome urged the people of the new diocese to think diocesan in attitude and behavior where responsibility and trust are urgently called.

Meanwhile, St. Paul’s church at Lengalau village would be his cathedral until the diocesan head quarter is built.
Straight after his installation as the Bishop of the diocese, Bishop Tome was also installed as a cultural leader of the island of Guadalcanal. On this cultural enthronement, Bishop Tome was escorted by traditional dancers and tribal chiefs up to a traditional war canoe placed on the stage where he and his wife got in. According to one tribal chief on stage at the moment, he said that the action signifies his (Bp Tome’s) leadership would not only be in the church but also taking into account culture of Guadalcanal where he was given traditional gifts, shell money and a paddle to paddle the island of Guadalcanal and look after the cultural heritage of the island.

The day was beautifully filled with speeches, encouragements, best wishes and gifts from a lot of prominent speakers. That includes representative from the Solomon Islands Government, Guadalcanal Provincial Government, and Archbishop of the Province of Melanesia, Church partners in Solomon Islands and overseas, dioceses, different church ministries and various tribal groups on the island. Traditional feasting and entertainments off the day also keeps people on their knees that fill the day with smiles and laughter till late.

General Secretary, two Chancellors of the Church followed by Dean and Bishops processing into the Church

Archbishop David declaring Right Rev. Nathan Tome  the first Bishop of the Diocese of Guadalcanal
Archbishop Adrian Smith of the Catholic Church in Honiara during his sermon
Bishop Tome signs document before Chancellor Lyn Stevens

Overseas guests at the inauguration service

Bishop Seka presenting a Pastoral Staff of the diocese to Bishop Tome

Deputy Prime Minister of SI greeting Bishop Tome

Part of the crowd attending the inauguration Service

Bishop Tome given the paddle as part of his cultural installation

Archbishop David addressing his speech at the inauguration day
Part of the days feasting. Communities bring traditional foods

Traditional dancers providing entertainments

Presentation of gifts

Bishop Tome and his new congregation showing the gratitude to the guests
 Part of the day's entertainments



Thursday, 16 May 2013

Dean of Cathedral, the Very Rev'd Davidson Nwaeramo and Archbishop Vunagi followed by the casket of Late Archbishop Sir Ellison Pogo processing into the Cathedral for the funeral service 
THE Anglican Church of Melanesia is mourning the death of former Archbishop of the church, Archbishop Emeritus Sir Ellison Pogo.
Archbishop Emeritus Sir Ellison Pogo was called to rest peacefully at his residence at Ngossi, West Honiara at 4:20pm on Monday 13th May 2013. 
Born in 1947 and comes from a family of 15 children, Sir Pogo was educated at St. Johns College in Auckland and was ordained into the Priest hood ministry of the Church in 1979.
In 1981 he was elected and consecrated the diocesan bishop of Isabel where he served for 13 years. In 1994 he was consecrated Archbishop of the Anglican church of Melanesia, a post he faithfully served for another  13 years until he retired in 2008 when he was succeeded by the current Archbishop, the Most Reverend David Vunagi .

His award.
Late Archbishop Emeritus Sir Ellison Pogo was one of the most decorated and long-serving spiritual leaders of the Anglican Church of Melanesia and the World wide Anglican Communion.
In 2000 Archbishop Pogo was awarded the Knight of the British Empire (KBE), an honor that was bestowed upon him by Head of the Commonwealth Queen Elizabeth II at the Buckingham Palace in October the same year. He was the first Archbishop to receive such an award in the church of the Province of Melanesia and the whole pacific basin including Australia and New Zealand.
On October 17th 2008, Sir Ellison was awarded one of the Anglican Churches highest and distinguished awards – the Cross of Saint Augustine. The award is a gift from the former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams marking the conspicuous service to the church and the wider community.
Later on the 30th October 2008, late Archbishop Pogo was awarded Badge of Honor by the former President of the Republic of Vanuatu, His Excellency Sir Kalkot Matas Kelekele. This award was for the recognition for highest degree in service to the Christian church and to the people of Melanesia in Vanuatu and Solomon Islands.
His final award according to the church archives was an Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) of Theology bestowed upon him by the Pacific Theological College in Suva, Fiji. The award was for his long and faithful service and excellent ecumenical leadership of the College as Chairman of PTC Board of Governors for 15 years.
“While the church mourns his passing, it is time for all members of the church to give thanks to God for his dedicated service to the church and to the nation at large” Archbishop, the Most Rev. David Vunagi said.
“Late Sir Ellison set a good example of a church leader and the Anglican Community adored him” Archbishop Vunagi concluded.
“Late Ellison was always an instrument of peace in the family” his brother Rev. Fr Atkin Zaku said at the funeral service at St. Barnabas Cathedral on Thursday.
Late Sir Ellison Pogo was laid to rest at his home village in Isabel.

Archbishop David Vunagi and wife paying tribute to Late Sir Ellison Pogo during the lying of wreath at St. Barnabas Provincal Cathedral on Thursday 16th May 2013

Family of Late Archbishop Pogo paying tribute at St. Barnabas Cathedral

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Religious communities on mission to UK

FOLLOWING on from the mission in year 2000, 2005 and 2008, a ten member team from the four religious orders of the church of Melanesia is currently on a two months mission to the UK.
The team led by Brother Clark Berge who is from USA left the country on Thursday the 20th March.
The purpose of the tour is for them to showcase the Melanesian way of approaching people and sharing of Gods words through the theme: “Simply living”.
Melanesian Mission UK website stated, during this mission we aim to establish communities for a week at a time in various areas of the UK where people can join these small communities of Sisters and Brothers to live alongside them, praying, explore spirituality, Workout in the local community and spend time together discussing issues such as environment, advocacy, peace and reconciliation”.
Head Brother of the Melanesian Brother hoods, Brother Mathias Tovotasi said they will share God’s word through religious dramas, action choruses and staging talks.
“These are the main channels of sharing God’s words in our Melanesian way of living” he said.
In this mission, they will also have time to visit around ten Parishes including institutions.
This is the fourth of its kind in which religious communities of the church carry out gospels to other parts of the world.
Team to UK before departure at Henderson International Airport Honiara
The ten member team comprises of five Melanesian Brotherhoods including Head Brother, Br. Mathias Tovotasi, two sisters from the Community of the Sisters of the Church, one from the Community of the Sisters of Melanesia and two brothers from the society of St. Francis.
The tour was made possible through assistance from Melanesian Mission UK (MMUK) and the Society of Saint Franciscan.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Final Resolutions of PCC 10th General Assembly, Honiara, March 2013

Climate change and resettlement

RESEARCH into climate-induced resettlement will be a key area of work for the Pacific Conference of Churches over the next five years.

Leaders at the 10th general Assembly in Honiara, the Solomon Islands supported the continuation of climate-induced resettlement research focussing on human rights.

As part of this programme of action there will be an advocacy plan as outlined in the Moana Declaration of 2009.

This plan will look at options for displaced people, explore methods of relocation and ensure the protection of the rights of the displaced people.

Tahiti self-determination

THE Pacific Conference of Churches General Assembly has called on France, the United Nations, Pacific island countries and the international community to support self-determination in Maohi Nui (Tahiti).

At its 10th General Assembly in Honiara, the Solomon Islands, delegates said decolonization was one of the PCC’s long-standing themes.

A request from the Etaretia Porotetani Maohi (Maohi Protestant Church) to the assembly called for support for the re-inscription of Tahiti onto the UN’s decolonization list.

The church said the Maohi people must be allowed to decide for themselves on the sovereignty of their nation.

Delegates recognized God’s gift of freedom to be self-determining.

They also recognized the human rights of all people, in particular the right to self-determination of all people and in particular the right to self-determination of all oppressed colonized indigenous people in the world in accordance with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.

They called on member churches and the World Council of Churches to support, through advocacy, efforts for the re-inscription of Maohi Nui on the list of countries to be decolonized.

West Papua independence

A PROGRAMME implemented by Pacific churches will address human rights abuse and independence in West Papua.

The Pacific Conference of Churches 10th General Assembly in Honiara, the Solomon Islands resolved to document effective advocacy on justice and respect for human rights in collaboration with ecumenical partners, civil society and governments.

It will incorporate the human rights situation in West Papua as a strong focal point of PCC’s programmatic work on self-determination for non-self-governing territories and communities and peoples who yearn to be free.

 Freedom Sunday
PACIFIC churches will designate an annual Freedom Sunday to pray for island countries and people who are not free.

At its 10th General Assembly in Honiara, the Solomon Islands, delegates agreed to encourage the French authorities to fulfil their obligations and provide all necessary means for the economic, social and cultural, environmental development of the Maohi people.
The PCC delegates agreed to facilitate awareness building in churches, with their partners and networks about the injustices suffered by the victims of nuclear testing in the region.

They agreed to design and implement advocacy activities at multiple levels targeting such injustices and using the thematic areas of praying, speaking out and acting together.

And they agreed the PCC Secretariat would facilitate regional dialogue among its members to raise awareness on nuclear testing.

Nuclear testing

PACIFIC churches will fight for the compensation of people affected by nuclear testing.

At its 10th General Assembly in Honiara, the Solomon Islands, delegates agreed to advocate with the Maohi people a zero-tolerance stance on nuclear weapons and testing.

The assembly resolved to build awareness beginning in churches, with partners and networks about the injustices suffered by victims of nuclear testing in the region.

Members will design and implement advocacy at multiple levels targeting such injustices and using the thematic areas of praying, speaking out and acting together.

And a regional dialogue tour among PCC members to raise awareness on the issues of nuclear testing,

Seabed mining

THE Pacific Conference of Churches has called for an immediate stop to experimental seabed mining.
At its 10th General Assembly in Honiara, the Solomon Islands, delegates said seabed mining was a matter of growing concern in the region.

Over the next five years the PCC will conduct regional advocacy work to create a greater understanding of the long and short term effects of seabed mining.

It will also act on behalf of member countries to advocate at the relevant global levels including the International Seabed authority.

The general assembly resolution came after concerns were raised by several island churches.

Solidarity on mining

CHURCHES throughout the region will develop specific positions on mining, tourism, fisheries and forestry in a resolution passed in Honiara.

Member churches agreed to call on their governments to stand in solidarity with the people of the region who were struggling with the challenges and negative impacts of mining in their communities.

At its 10th Pacific Conference of Churches General Assembly in Honiara, the Solomon Islands, delegates agreed there was a need to facilitate the concerns of members by engaging on the issue with agencies such as the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the Melanesian spearhead Group.

End HIV-AIDS stigmatisation

PACIFIC churches have called for an end to the stigmatization of people suffering from HIV and AIDS.
Delegates at the Pacific Conference of Churches 10th General Assembly in Honiara, the Solomon Islands, called for the inclusion of people with HIV and AIDS.

They also called for the voices and concerns of those with HIV and AIDS to be heard.

To this end the PCC will develop and facilitate a programme on compassion and reconciliation and to include people living with HIV and AIDS in the design and implementation of the programme.

It will work alongside member churches to help dispel stigmas and negative attitudes associated with HIV and AIDS.

Arms trade and nuclear weapons

PACIFIC churches will keep track of arms trading and nuclear proliferation in the region after a resolution passed in Honiara yesterday.

Church leaders agreed to monitor the arms trade and initiate awareness raising campaigns on the issue where necessary.

The PCC Secretariat will also increase networking and consultation initiatives with human rights groups in an effort to address the unresolved nuclear legacy in the Pacific.

The resolution came after concerns that gun ownership in the Pacific was 50 per cent higher than the global average and that firearms laws were inconsistent.

Stories by: Netani Rika, Pacific Conference of Churches, Honiara.