The Handbook on the work of the Melanesian Mission, entitled, "Melanesia To-day," has been out of print for several years now. The English Committee of the Mission decided that the time had come to issue a new Handbook, which would give an account of the many phases of missionary activity in the Islands.
During the past few years considerable progress has been made in the work of the Mission in the Islands and new ventures have been launched. The following pages will show that the romance of Melanesia is not a thing of the past, but that to-day there are opportunities of work in the diocese, which are as romantic in their appeal as any episode in the long history of the Mission. Our readers will find in this work the most up to date information regarding the recent activities of the Melanesian Mission.
The present book is the work of several writers, all of whom have had a wide experience in the mission field, and thus are able to write with sympathy and knowledge on the various phases of missionary activity in the many Islands of Melanesia.
Our readers may be glad of a brief note concerning each of the writers of these chapters, stating their service and work in the Island Diocese.
The Rev. A. Innes Hopkins, curate of Brafferton, Yorkshire, 1897-1900. Joined the Mission in 1900 and engaged in pioneer work in the island of Mala amongst the reputedly wildest people in the Pacific. He gave over thirty years to the work of building the Church in Melanesia. Author of "In the Isles of King Solomon," and From Heathen Boy to Christian Priest."
The Rev. Dr. Walter Ivens joined the Mission in 1895, being ordained priest by Bishop Cecil Wilson in that year. He worked in the Mission for fourteen years, and was the first missionary resident on the island of Mala, Solomon Islands. After his retirement from the Mission, [vii/viii] he returned twice to Mala and Ulawa, doing research work in Melanesian languages and anthropology for the University of Melbourne. He has published many grammars of Solomon Island languages, with dictionaries and vocabularies. His translational work includes New Testaments and translations of the Book of Common Prayer in three Solomon Island languages. He is the author of two anthropological books, "Melanesians of the South East Solomon Islands," and "The Island Builders of the Pacific."
The Right Reverend Bishop John Manwaring Steward served in the Islands as a missionary priest and was consecrated Bishop of Melanesia in 1919. He inspired and directed the formation of the Native Evangelistic Brotherhood in 1925. Author of "Melanesia in Pictures." Miss Ellen Wilson served in the Diocese of Melanesia for twenty-three years. During that time, amidst her many duties, she found time to write a charming little book entitled, "The Isles that Wait." She is also the author of a recent book, "Dr. Henry Welchman," a pioneer medical missionary and priest.
As Editor, I should like to say how much I appreciate and value the help which this small, but expert group of authors have given in setting forth in these pages an account of the building of the Church in Melanesia. As I read in MS. their various contributions showing how the power of the Gospel has changed the lives of primitive men and women in Melanesia, I realised, as never before, the force of those words in the Acts of the Apostles (vi, 14), "Jesus of Nazareth changeth the customs."
A four-page leaflet has been issued, for the benefit of those who wish to use this Handbook for Study Circles, giving questions on each chapter and a list of books for further reading. These may be borrowed from our lending library. This leaflet will be sent free of cost to any applicant.
STUART W. ARTLESS.
S. Matthew's Day, 1936.