With the Primate in Melanesia–virtually

It may be hard for you to tag along as the Primate visits the Church of the Province of Melanesia, March 15 to 28. There may not be enough berths in the ship that will ferry him across the Solomon Sea. You may not have taken anti-malarial medication. You may not like roast pig.

But you can still follow Archbishop Fred Hiltz’s adventures through the blog, “The Gospel Canoe,” which I will write as I accompany him and Global Relations Coordinator Dr. Andrea Mann on the trip.

The blog title references a liturgical practice common in some parts of the church: to carry the Gospel into the sanctuary in a small wooden canoe. Often the procession includes traditional dancers and musicians on panpipes and rattles.
The blog will capture anecdotes and insights along the way, with an eye to exploring how the Gospel is lived in this church and particular partnership.

While in Melanesia, the Primate will visit local Anglican diocesan leaders as well as the Melanesian Brotherhood and the Sisters of the Church. He is also scheduled to visit a hospital, a prison, and the site of John Coleridge Patteson University.

The relationship between the Anglican Church of Canada and the Church of Melanesia began more than 30 years ago with a collaboration in theological education. Several Canadian volunteers have worked as theology lecturers in Melanesia and other Volunteers in Mission and theological students have served the province in multi-year stints.

In 1995, one of these volunteers, Terry Brown, returned to the Church of Melanesia to serve as diocesan bishop of Malaita-a position he held for 15 years.

The Church of the Province of Melanesia was founded in 1975 and covers the Republic of Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, and the French Trust Territory of New Caledonia. Its Primate is the Most Rev. David Vunagi, who has a degree from the Vancouver School of Theology.

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