By Andrea Mann
On Sunday April 17, 2016, the Most Reverend George Takeli, former bishop of the Diocese of Temotu, was installed and seated as the sixth Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACOM) amidst more than 3,000 church members, partners and visitors gathered at the Provincial Cathedral of St. Barnabas, Honiara, Guadalcanal Island. Archbishop Takeli will also serve as Bishop of the Diocese of Central Melanesia.
Celebrations began early in the day with solemn vows, indigenous liturgical art and dance, and the Eucharist. Archbishop Takeli’s message to the faithful present appealed repeatedly for local mission-centred church renewal. ACOM is comprised of more than 250,000 members in eight dioceses in the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia. The Provincial Headquarters are based in Honiara, Guadalcanal Island, where Provincial Programs are coordinated through the Melanesian Board of Mission. Honiara is also home to the Coordinator of the Anglican Alliance South Pacific Regional Network, and to the four Anglican Religious Orders associated with the Anglican Church of Melanesia.
Following the enthronement service, all were hosted by the Mothers’ Union and Anglican School students who had worked for days preparing a delicious feast of local vegetables, meats, fruits and beverages. An afternoon of presentations and entertainment followed, where, with others, greetings were conveyed from Primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, with assurances of renewed partnership between the Anglican Church of Canada and ACOM.
The opportunity to travel to the Solomon Islands and experience this important occasion in the life of the Anglican Church of Melanesia marks an important moment in the renewal of mission-centred partnership between ACOM and the Anglican Church of Canada. Where historically, relationship between our churches was mutually significant and deeply valued for decades, relationship of late has been less active. This is the result in part of changes in the capacity of General Synod for global church partnership, and because it takes time and effort to work in new ways, to develop integrated, national platforms for relationship involving Canadian and Melanesian dioceses, church institutions and individual champions. There is every indication such a platform will emerge in the coming triennium to nurture and support relations with the Anglican Communion in the South Pacific.
For now, the Anglican Church of Canada joins the many thousands in the Anglican Church of Melanesia and throughout the Anglican Communion, to wish Archbishop George Takeli every blessing in his new ministry. Let us pray for him and his family and for the leadership of ACOM as they embark upon a new course in serving God’s mission in the remote and rural regions, villages, towns and cities of the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia.
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