The Anglican Church of Canada’s relationship with the Anglican Church of Melanesia has worked at a number of levels for some 50 years. Today, there are connections with the Anglican Church of Melanesia through the national Global Relations Department.
When asked what our decades of relationship together in the Anglican Communion means, the Board of Mission Secretary had this to say: “The heart of all partnership is human relationship. We have been partners in the mission of God for many years because, by God’s grace we have prayed and worshipped together, met to talk and listen together for the leading of the Spirit, worked and studied side by side. We cherish your friendship in Christ, and want these good links and contacts to grow.”
In March 2012, the Primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz took up an invitation from Archbishop and Primate David Vunagi to visit the Church of Melanesia, to meet the people and to experience a Province of the Anglican Communion in the South Pacific. Read more about the Primate’s visit and the ministries of the Church of Melanesia.
- “With the Primate in Melanesia—virtually” March 2012 news story
- “My travels with +Fred” March 2012 news story
Archbishop Fred is not the first Canadian Primate however, to visit Anglican family in the South Pacific. Archbishop Michael Peers travelled to Oceania many times to be with the Church of Melanesia in the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. Archbishop Peers was the first Anglican Primate to arrive in the Solomon Islands after the ethnic tensions ended in 2001.
Since initial conversations at the Anglican Congress in Toronto (1963) between the then Diocese of Melanesia, Anglican Church of New Zealand and the World Mission program of the Anglican Church of Canada, much has happened in our journey together in God’s mission. Church leaders have visited one another on the occasions of synods, consecrations, and consultations. A successful companionship developed between the dioceses of Calgary and Temotu. Collaboration for stronger theological education took hold.
Canadians have supported and served as theological educators at the Bishop Patteson Theological College, Kohimarama, for more than 30 years, and elsewhere they have served as education personnel and student interns. In serving, these Canadian Anglicans were in return served and grew in awareness and appreciation of the Anglican Communion in the southwest Pacific. Funding from Partners in Mission and Global Relations provided scholarships for advanced theological training and supported the development of catechesis, contextual theology and youth leadership.
Today, relationship between the Anglican Church of Canada and the Anglican Church of Melanesia is finding new direction. Our churches have much in common. We are geographically dispersed churches situated, in whole or part on the Pacific Ocean. We are multi-national and multi-lingual, committed to the Anglican Communion, the Five Marks of Mission and Principles of Partnership. Our churches are involved in national Truth and Reconciliation processes, concerned about spiritual leadership in a secular, post-modern world, and stepping up in Christian love to speak to power about the critical issues of today—poverty, access to education, sovereignty and care of creation, the emancipation of women, and transformation of conflict into peace with justice.
Specifically, partnership between our churches is focused upon the reformation of a Pan-Pacific Anglican group in which Pacific church leaders meet to discern, discuss and respond to issues of continental concern. A first meeting of the Anglican Oceania Fono took place in Melbourne, Australia, in March 2017. A second mutual mission priority concerns Communion and national work concerning climate justice, and in particular the impact of global warming on rising sea levels and climate refugees. Thirdly, the Anglican Church of Canada sends donor support to the Christian Care Centre, Solomon Islands, for sanctuary, counselling and gender justice education for women and families experiencing domestic violence.
- “Sister Act: Christian centre provides refuge for domestic violence victims” Anglican Journal, May 2012