I arrived back from Melanesia last week having spent just over two weeks on Guadalcanal. It was an amazing experience and I had the privilege to meet so many people and find out what is going on.
I stayed at Chester Rest House in Honiara for the majority of my visit and I was taken care of by the Melanesian Brothers who help to run it. I was also able to visit the HQ of the Melanesian Brothers at Tabalia and whilst I was there I visited Atkin Zaku (Principal of Bishop Patteson Theological College) and during my stay I taught some classes at the college. I was also able to meet the Principal of Selwyn College where I also engaged in some teaching of the pupils.
During my time in the Solomon Islands I met a whole variety of people: on my first day at the Provincial HQ of the Anglican Church of Melanesia I met with Abraham Hauriasi (General Secretary), George Elo (Mission Secretary), Desmond Waita (Education Secretary), and Nigel Keleapa (Coordinator for Faith Mission and Youth). Later in the week I met up with Sr Kathleen Kapei who is the Provincial Sister of the Community of the Sisters of the Church and at their local HQ I met the sisters and on my final Sunday we celebrated Michaelmas which occasioned a large Eucharist followed by a feast and entertainment. During my stay I also visited the Society of St Francis and the Sisters of Melanesia; I met up with Mary Vunagi (President of the Provincial Mothers Union) to hear of the work that they are involved with, including the parenting programme. I met her husband, David Vunagi, who has recently retired from being the Archbishop of Melanesia. I also popped in to visit Adrian Smith, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Honiara, and Dominic Meiklejohn, the British High Commissioner, both of whom were able to give me an idea of what the Solomon Islands are like.
Since the Melanesian Brothers are having their Great Conference in October I was unfortunately unable to experience their worship, however it was a joy to be able to join in daily with the worship at All Saints, the local parish church adjacent to Chester Rest House.
I shall be writing a report on my visit, but in the meantime I hope this gives you a little idea of what I was up to. I really enjoyed my time and I have so many memories to cherish.
Revd. Richard Sherratt