This is a short dispatch after a long journey, a quick note to offer evidence that we have landed—and been welcomed—in the Anglican Church of Melanesia.
It was no small feat to get here—more than 24 hours of travel—and at the end was a warm Melanesian welcome. A crew from the provincial office met us at the Honiara airport. They whisked us away to our comfortable lodging and surprised us with garlands of orchids. Archbishop Fred Hiltz is pictured above with our main host, Archbishop David Vunagi, Primate of ACOM.
Already our quick chats with provincial staff have pulled out some interesting questions.
-We learn that 60 percent of Solomon Islanders claim to be part of the ACOM, and most of the country is Christian. So what does mission look like in a Christian country?
-On the way from the airport we spy the huge, airy cathedral, which looks distinctively South Pacific with its few walls and a peaked roof. How does the church adapt to and redeem culture in this particular nation?
-The Solomon Islands is still recovering from the ethnic tensions around 2000 and reaching the end of its national truth and reconciliation process. What role does the church play in helping build a stable country?
Stay tuned. With some sleep, fresh fruit, and a full day tomorrow, there will be more to report.