I have another quick note for today, just to say that I found a gospel canoe. The Melanesian brothers used one at our morning service and when I snuck back to look at it I saw it was painted with these words: “Christ in culture.”
Indeed. Everywhere we’ve worshipped in the Anglican Church of Melanesia, there has been something uniquely Melanesian. Warriors. Bamboo wall panels. Hymns that sing of sea, fish, and islands. Inlaid shell designs in altars, prayer benches, and candlesticks.
There was even a canoe used at the cathedral service last week, to carry the sacraments during the offertory procession I wrote about earlier.
Is this what people mean when they talk of an “indigenized church?” Out of all churches I’ve seen in my limited travels, this one is the best at integrating local culture. Yet there are still echoes of the colonial period—old language and foreign imagery (like snow) do pop up in a service.
We have just one more full day here but I hope to talk to some of the leaders about this. How (and why) does ACOM foster indigenous culture?