Bishop's Charge, Diocesan Synod, 1962
By Alfred Thomas Hill
Taroaniara: Diocese of Melanesia Press, 1962.
 Diocesan Synod, 1962
In opening this second Synod of my Episcopate, I would first like to extend to you all my greetings and pray that God may give us wisdom and understanding in all our deliberations.
I am very pleased that Mr. A. W. Bullen is able to be present with us and may I assure him that we, as a diocese, are continually grateful to him for his devotion and service to us and our work. His presence will help us greatly as we deliberate on future plans and developments. The Reverend J. D. Froud has been kind enough to come from New Zealand to conduct the Retreat and we are very grateful to him for giving us a spiritual start which is so necessary before a meeting of Synod.
I deeply regret that some of the aged clergy are unable to be present, men who have given years of faithful service for Christ and His Church. They are not forgotten and we are thankful to them, for all they have done. I know we are assured of the support of their prayers during this Synod.
While talking of faithful service, I would pay tribute to the Reverend Canon Doctor C.E. Fox, M.B.E., D. Litt., who recently celebrated his diamond jubilee in the Diocese. I believe never before in the history of missionary endeavour has a man given such long and dedicated service, a true missionary who has given his life for the people. Later, we shall be presenting him with a gift to show our love and esteem for his long and devoted service.
Since the last meeting of Synod 1957 some who served Christi here in Melanesia have been called to the nearer Presence. (a) Bishop Walter H. Baddeley, D.S.O., M.C., was Bishop of the Diocese from 1932 to 1947 and his outstanding leadership, especially during the war years will long be [1/2] remembered. During his episcopate he did much for the strengthening of the Melanesian Ministry and also the Melanesian Brotherhood.
(b) The Reverend Ben Hageria, a young friend and disciple of the Reverend Dr. Welchman, he exerted a great influence on the life and church of the people of Santa Ysabel, where he exercised his whole ministry.
(c) The Reverend Elias Sau, another old priest whose ministry was on the island of San Cristoval.
(d) The Reverend John P. Bosamata, a Gela priest who was doing missionary work on Ontong Java where he died. He had been a Brother for many years and had previously served on that island.
(e) The Reverend Arthur Lehina of Raga in the New Hebrides. Part of his ministry was spent in the Solomons but the majority in the New Hebrides where he did faithful work.
(f) Mr. George Bogesi, a layman of last Synod, whose home was on Santa Ysabel. Shortly before his death he translated the whole of the Old Testament into the Bugotu language. May they rest in peace.
One cannot but feel that this Synod is going to be of great importance to the future life and development of the Church in Melanesia, as our islands are going through a rapid transition, and the people assuming a greater responsibility. This is true in the affairs of the State and it is imperative that we as a Church do not lag behind. To fall behind would be fatal and we would have failed in our last hours. Consequently, it will be necessary for us to review the state of our Church without being conservative. We must be ready to change from things in the past that were regarded as essentials of our Mission policy, but which are now obsolete or ineffective to meet the immediate needs. It pleases me greatly to hear from my clergy that they, themselves, can see the need for change. As our Church grows, we must continually ensure that our policies measure up to the new needs. It is indeed a grave sin if we let personal likes [2/3] and dislikes interfere with our general policy, which must be seen as a unity working together in complete harmony. This harmony between all missionary departments must be maintained otherwise we shall not be strong enough to lead our people into the future. All of us have a desire to prepare the Church for the future and I hope that in this Synod every opportunity will be given for all to express their opinions and form a united policy. I hope that we can all remember that each one of us is only a member of a larger body, the Church of Melanesia. Our usefulness and the usefulness of our work depend on how we are fitted into the body of the Church.
Keeping this in mind, I would like to review the state of the Church in the past and especially since the Pawa Synod of 1957. I will deal with the various spheres of our work separately. This is a general survey and later there will be reports given by representatives of the various departments.
Over the last few years, finance has caused us all a great deal of concern, and later Mr. Bullen will be giving us a report on the general state of our finances. Here, I must state that we cannot anticipate any increase of support outside the Diocese. I know that every effort is being made in New Zealand, England and Australia to increase our revenue, but I must impress upon all it is imperative that we increase our internal revenue. There have been opportunities for us to make special appeals outside the Diocese, and under the careful supervision of The Melanesian Trust Board, Finance Committee in New Zealand and the English Committee every effort has been made to use our revenue for the greatest good. Here, I would like to extend my thanks to our financial advisers, who have done so much to forward our work in the Diocese. I should also make mention of the assistance given by the Christchurch Committee. We are indeed in a difficult position at the present moment having a situation developing, where the new social and economic changes are demanding from us extra revenue which we are finding difficult to obtain. For instance, we are faced with a challenge to provide for a multi-racial [3/4] school in Honiara and also a chapel and house for a Melanesian priest for the new labour lines, being erected on the outskirts of the township. In addition to these I have been asked to provide for a Chapel at Yandina, for a Girls' Primary School for Malaita and also it will be necessary to have a chapel at Gizo. In all this, we must keep our financial state firmly in mind and dare not outreach our financial resources. This is a challenge to faith. In some cases it will be necessary to direct our finances into different channels to meet these new demands and in other cases there may have to be drastic reductions in budget.
Here I wish to digress and talk about the Church Association, as I believe that ultimately this will have to be an important source for our future revenue. I know that every effort has been made by the Church Association indifferent islands and districts to collect as much money as possible. In some cases, people have found great difficulty to do their part, as the local tax is making a heavy demand upon them. There have and will be many difficulties in firmly establishing the Church Association throughout the Diocese. Methods will have to be investigated to find the most satisfactory method of collecting. It is imperative that through the Church Association an organised system of giving is established. It is hoped that it will soon be possible to have a meeting of the Heads of the various branches of the Church Association so that methods can be compared and a uniform policy be produced. At present, the Church Association is not unified, with each branch pursuing its own policy. I feel that the time must come very soon for these branches to be united in a common plan, and I hope this Synod will provide an opportunity for starting this. We, the people of Melanesia, must learn to give; to feel responsible for our Church, for in the past we have received so much, but now as we become more an indigenous Church, we must learn to give.
You know, I as Bishop, consider that education is one of the first essentials in the building up of a strong Church, a Church which will be able to face the future without fear. Since last Synod much has been done to improve our schools [4/5] and much credit for this is due to the wise policy followed by our educational superintendents, Mr. Roger Mountfort and Mr. George Arthur. One notices the radical changes in the life of our village and Junior Primary Schools through Teacher Training at Kukum, Maravovo and Lolowai. The schools have greatly advanced in their standards of education. We now have men in our schools capable of running a first class school. It has been noticeable to see the change that has occured in the minds of the people over the education of girls. Whereas only a few years ago, we had great difficulty in obtaining sufficient girls for our schools, we have now reached the position when we have not sufficient schools for all the girls wishing to be educated. Our thanks must also go to Torgil, Pamua and Bunana who have produced trained teachers who, on leaving school, have started sound schools in their islands. We are in the process of raising the standard of all our schools both for boys and girls, and it is hoped that these Senior Primary Schools will be able to meet the demands of our Junior Primary Schools. But all of us know that we are greatly hampered by lack of finance and that by ourselves we cannot contemplate any expansion. This means, if we want to sustain our present schools, and to expand the spread of our Junior Primary Schools to meet the demands of the people, we shall have to work in partnership with the Government. The Government has produced a White Paper on education which is in the process of being discussed. The policy which they wish to persue is for the ultimate good of the Solomons. We must co-operate as far as possible and at the same time not lose the strength that has come to our Church through its schools. We must remember the Government is here to help the growth and development of these islands and it is to our good and the good of all of us to co-operate as far as possible. In the White Paper, certain schools will be receiving much greater financial help, which will enable more time to be spent on education and less time on gardens and buildings. We are not in a position to refuse this help as it is for our own good and I can envisage our schools producing even higher standards of education in the near future, when this White Paper comes into force. We must keep our schools strong and use every available means to keep them as such. It cannot be denied that as a [5/6] Church we have led in the realms of Education and we must continue to do so.
Teacher training, as already mentioned, has played a great part in the advances made in our schools, and it is hoped in the not too distant future that here in the Solomons there will be teachers training schools provided for both young men and women through Mission and Government Training Colleges. In the New Hebrides, we have already started a co-educational Teacher's Training College. I feel that we in the Solomons must also look into such a possibility. Once again, this largely depends on staff and finance. One cannot now go into details about our future policy for education. I will soon be calling for an Education Conference. It is obvious that at the foundation of a strong Church one must have education so that people can be taught the Faith, read about the Faith and pray intelligently. Our whole evangelical programme depends on educated men and women and more than that, as we are here to help the people meet the social changes, to make Christians who can face any situation and know what is right and wrong. We cannot do this without education.
It has been pleasing to note that over the last few years more and more positions of responsibility have been placed in the hands of Melanesian teachers. It is hoped through our schools and King George VI School more men women will be sent overseas to obtain to sufficient scholarship to take more responsible positions in the not too distant future. Later during Synod, Mr. R. D. Mountfort and Mr. G. Arthur will be giving detailed reports of what has been achieved and what we propose to do to face the new demands of this changing society.
SHIPPING AND WORKSHOPS.
In this vast and scattered diocese shipping is so important and our life to a large extent depends on our ability to move around. We are all grateful to Mr. B. Ayers, Mr. P. Banks, Mr. M. Dutton and Mr. C. Van Raalte, for their industry and devotion. Great advances have been made through the reconstruction of our new workshop at Taroaniara. Courses have been started for Navigation, Engineering, [6/7] Electrical work and Boat-building. Thus we are preparing our people to take care of their own ships. Our men have had to sit for Certificates and proved themselves up to standard, we can feel proud of this fact. Our policy is two-fold, firstly to maintain our ships and secondly to produce men who will be able to do more and more themselves. In our services in general, it is always important to remember we have this two-fold mission, to maintain and prepare others to maintain. In all our missionary endeavours we have our misfortunes and all know the story of the loss of "Southern Cross VIII." Now we have a ship we can feel proud of, and pray that she may give us long service. With the "Southern Cross IX," "Baddeley," "Fauabu Twomey," and "Mavis" in the Solomons and the "Patteson" in the New Hebrides, we should be able to maintain our shipping services. It is my hope that finances will allow me to provide each Rural Dean with a vessel to enable him to tour his district regularly, but finance and maintenance are continual difficulties. It is regretted that Mr. P. Banks and family have to return to England. Such will be a great loss to the diocese' and we wish him, his wife and family God's Blessing and Protection in the future. Mr. B. Avers will be reporting on Shipping and Workshops later and I shall leave explanations to him.
THE PRINTING PRESS.
It has been a great joy to see how the work of the Printing Press has been developed to meet the needs of the diocese. This has been due to the industry and devotion of Mr. M. Norris. Most impressive advances have been made and new machinery has been supplied to meet the needs. This has been largely due to a generous gift from the Australian Board of Missions. Once again our policy of maintaining a department and at the same time training others to maintain it has been persued with pleasing results. We now have Melanesians setting type and doing most of the duties required in the Press. I will not go into details as Mr. Norris has printed a most comprehensive report which I am sure you will find both interesting and enlightening. Mr. and Mrs. Isom did so much work in the past and we are thankful that this work has been [7/8] carried on.
Through the concerted efforts of churches and Government much has been achieved in the improvement of the health and hygiene of our people. Through our hospitals at Fauabu and Lolowai we have been able to send nurses trained as midwives and dressers to deal with the medical demands in the village life. Many more dispensaries have been opened and slowly our medical work is increasing in its activities. I would like to pay tribute to the work done by our medical personnel. At Fauabu, we have Dr. and Mrs. G. M. Thomson and Sister Curtis who are not only maintaining a first class hospital but also producing every year trained nurses to carry on and extend our work. In the New Hebrides we have the Godden Memorial Hospital at Lolowai with its staff of Sister E. Pyatt and Sister R. Bennington who likewise are producing nurses and at the same time doing much through their hospital to improve the general health of the people. Later this year Dr. and Mrs. Mackereth and family will be stationed here. This will be the first time that we shall have had a doctor in the New Hebrides. Later we are to have another doctor at Fauabu, and it is hoped he may be able to tour around the islands.
The Leper Colony at Fauabu continues to develop and thanks to the financial aid from the N.Z. Leper Trust Board much has been done to improve the buildings and the general life of these people. We were very sorry to lose Sister P. Crawford, but happy to know she is now happily married in New Zealand. Sister K. Pahulu has carried on the colony and is doing a grand work for these afflicted people. We were fortunate to have a visit from Mr. P. J. Twomey last year and our thanks go to him and his helpers for the many different ways they have forwarded the leper work in these islands. There are still many lepers within the Protectorate, so this work is a very important social service.
The World Health Organisation has started a Malaria Eradication Campaign which will rid us of a great deal of infant mortality and also deaths among adults. I believe with the eradication of Malaria people will be able to advance and [8/9] do more, as so many people are hampered and hindered through continual sickness from fever. The Protectorate itself could not attempt such a venture and we are thankful to the W.H.O.
There are two other matters I should mention regarding medical work. First, all will be delighted to hear that Sister C. M. Woods M.B.E., is returning to us early in the New Year and will be in charge of a medical centre to be erected at Taroaniara. This is being made possible from a donation of the New Zealand Leper Trust Board, to whom we are most grateful. At Kerepei on Ugi, we now have Mr. & Mrs. Read and as the latter is a trained nurse there will be more activity at that centre.
Canons, Rural Deans, Archdeacons.
Since the last Synod, there have been various appointments made, and both in the Solomons and in the New Hebrides, Canons, Melanesian and European have been appointed. These appointments have helped to strengthen the life of the Church and have been given to those who have done long and outstanding service. There are now nine Rural Deans in the diocese, seven in the Solomons and two in the New Hebrides. These priests have large areas under their oversight and work directly under the Archdeacons and the Bishop. At last Synod Archdeacon Rawcliffe was appointed as Archdeacon of the New Hebrides and recently I have divided the Solomons into two areas. This has relieved Archdeacon Reynolds of some of his large area and Archdeacon Peter Thompson has been appointed as Archdeacon of Malaita, Sikaiana, and the outer Eastern Solomons, that is Santa Cruz, Reefs, Tikopia, etc.
Now we come to a very important part of our work in the Mission, although it cannot be separated from all that has been said already, namely the pastoral work of our Mission throughout the Diocese. To a large extent the drive achieved [9/10] depends to a great extent on the efficiency and of those things already discussed and that is why co-operation and harmony between all is so essential. We cannot deny that the next few years will be of great importance to the Mission as well as to the Government, as in a real sense the Church and State cannot be separated. As already mentioned in my charge, we must be ready to review this all in detail, with great care and patience and charity; as a comprehensive uniform policy is the first essential. It is here that I wish to hear the voice of the Church especially of my Melanesian Clergy, who with a few exceptions are the only ones conversant with what is going on in the general mind of the people. It is indeed fortunate that we have our Rural Deans, who have over the last few years, been of such great help to me and my Archdeacons. It is hoped that during this Synod the Rural Deans will speak out so that those who live on stations may become familiar with the problems and difficulties that exist in the normal Melanesian social structure. We, who are expatriate, often have our own opinions about what is best, but so often we are wrong. We have not a grasp of the people's real needs, this is a difficulty which exists in every Missionary Diocese, so this Synod is an opportunity for you to hear the mind of the Church, and it is for the people here, the Church of Melanesia, that we must place first consideration. We must not be guilty of inflicting on them things which are not needful and deny them things they need. That is why I am anxious for all to remain for Synod so they may have the whole picture of our work, it stops to a certain extent "parochialism."
At this stage I want to outline broadly our work over the past few years and state what I envisage for the future. In some cases, there will be what you may conceive as radical changes, but I know that you will all do what you can to co-operate.
Our evangelical programme can be summed up under the following headings:--
THE THEOLOGICAL COLLEGE, CATECHISTS' SCHOOLS, THE MELANESIAN BROTHERHOOD.
These provide the manpower for our work, and the strength of our laity depends on [10/11] the efficiency of these various departments. But the strength of these centres depends to a large extent on the type of man they receive for their training.
(a) THE THEOLOGICAL COLLEGE.
Over the last three years the general standard of the students at Siota has increased enormously and last Rogation Sunday I ordained ten students to the Diaconate. These men are of a very high calibre and should be able to meet the immediate needs of the people in this time of transition. We are indeed most grateful to the Warden of the College for the enthusiasm which he has given to this development of the College, as our clergy must be of sufficient education to be leaders in their districts. A second course is now well under way and it is hoped to have another intake early next year. We are thankful to God that many more men, than the College is able to absorb, are offering themselves for the Sacred Ministry of the Church. It means that in the not too distant future we will be able to replace many of our ageing clergy who have done so much for our Church and relieve them of the onerous task of large districts which they find hard to look after. At the college we have also had "Refresher" courses for our clergy which have proved to be most valuable, especially here in Melanesia where it is difficult for the clergy to keep up with their reading; also the spiritual fellowship obtained during their time at Siota was, I am sure, of great help to them as they are for such a long time on their own. After Synod there will be another "Refresher" course started at the College and some of the clergy have already been selected to attend. With these two streams coming from our college I feel that we can face the future with hope and confidence.
(b) THE CATECHISTS' SCHOOLS.
The clergy as we all know are the leaders of the Church life in the districts, but in the smaller unit of the village life we depend on the village catechists. In the past we have had many catechists of outstanding devotion to their particular duties and I have done all I can to maintain this [11/12] status. Since the beginning of my Episcopate we have opened many more Catechist Schools, and developed such schools at Lamalana and Kohimarama, but in all cases we have not achieved the results that I had anticipated. I must add that this has not been due to the lack of industry of those in the Catechist schools. It is a grave fact to note that we have not been getting the men from our schools offering themselves for the Catechist schools, there have been one or two who have offered, but these are not nearly sufficient to meet our needs. Consequently there has been the weakening of prayer life in many of our villages and in some cases the children are receiving no instruction in the faith. This is causing me and my clergy great concern because if this present situation continues then village prayer life will only go from bad to worse. In this period of transition it seems as though our Catechist schools are suffering and we must find some way to remedy this matter. The answer is not an easy one and perhaps during Synod a committee will have to be formed to look further into this matter.
I am however very disappointed that our schools have not been able to produce men for this very important part of the Church's work, I feel that it shows something lacking in our development of the spiritual life of our schools, surely there must be more young men willing to serve God and His Church in this particular way. I cannot help but feel that it is an indictment on us all that such a situation should have arisen. Each one of us must see how we can help to remedy this situation, as all our missionary endeavour is of little value if we cannot sustain our village prayer life. We have the schools ready for the potential catechist, but where are we to find him? There are one or two alternatives which I fear could be retrograde, namely going back to the use of language, as it would mean that in the not too distant future we would have catechists inferior in education to others in the village, this would be contrary to the tradition of past Norfolk Island teachers. I feel that perhaps the inadequacy of their salary to meet the demands of tax and ordinary living may be hindering young men from offering for this work, and I wonder if we made the village catechists the responsibility of the village itself then [12/13] more money might be available. This is a difficult subject and after the reports on the Catechist Schools, perhaps discussion may produce some concrete results.
(c) THE MELANESIAN BROTHERHOOD.
We must all feel proud of the great achievements of our Brotherhood in the Solomons, the Highlands of New Guinea and New Britain. Through this life of devotion and service many have been brought into the way of salvation. Later there will be a report given by the Brothers of their work and you will note I am sure with interest the extent of their work. Unfortunately they are suffering from the same difficulties as our Catechist schools, as the educated men are not offering. Last year through the kindness of the Society of the Sacred Mission in Australia we were able to send Brother Andrew, our head brother, and Brother Silas as companion to spend a year with the Society at the house at Crafers in South Australia. This I am sure will be of great help to the Brotherhood to consolidate it.
Recently I had a request from the Bishop in Polynesia for a household to work in his Diocese among our people. I hope we are able to help, but with the intake of only four novices this year I doubt if we can meet all that is required of the Brotherhood. I do ask all to place the challenge of this work before our young men, as there are still many thousands of heathen people here in the Solomons and we now have the responsibilities outside.
We were indeed fortunate to receive a visit from the Director of the Society of the Sacred Mission, Father Paul Hume, during the last year. He was very impressed with our Brotherhood and gave some very helpful advice. Many of you do not know the hardships and dangers that these Brothers go through in the bush districts, with the cold, and in many cases lack of food and shelter, as the heathen people do not want them. But still they carry on. It has concerned the Brothers recently that they have been stopped from opening new villages because they have not been able to find teachers to place in the villages recently converted. If they leave the recently converted without teachers, there is nothing [13/14] to sustain them and they soon fall back into heathen ways again. So once again we are faced with this grave problem of catechists. During this Synod we must, I feel work out a method for recruiting both for the Brotherhood and the Catechist Schools. Finally I would commend to my clergy that they set an example to the people by being Companions giving the support of their prayers and money for this valuable service the Brotherhood renders to us all. I would like to think that all my clergy felt obliged to join the Companions of the Brotherhood.
THE NEW CATHEDRAL.
There has been considerable delay in the starting of the Cathedral and I will ask the Rector of Honiara, Fr. E. Wood to talk on this matter during Synod.
In the Diocese of Melanesia we have made great advances over the last few years. As the Diocese grows up, more and more responsibility has been handed over to the Melanesian people, and this policy must continue. As you all know in the time of my Episcopate I have made every endeavour to hand over as much as possible to our people thus ensuring an indigenous Church, as soon as possible With the speeding up of the handing over in the affairs of State, we as a Church could easily be left behind and we as a Church would suffer. I believe one of the most important decisions that I made over the first years of my Episcopate was the creation of the Rural Deans, who have more than proved themselves. The actual pastoral work of the Diocese is under their supervision and they exercise authority over the clergy in their Rural Deanery. But this is only a step in the process of handing over. The Rural Deans have matched themselves to the task and have taken the Church through many difficult situations. There is indeed a need for further development of the spiritual life in our villages, but I know my clergy are conscious of these difficulties, but they along with the Rural Deans need the help of all.
Their work is our work, their failures are our failures, we must always remember that fact. In the past we have [14/15] achieved much, but I believe that we must plan our missionary strategy carefully, all working together. Melanesia is at present very divided through custom, language, and lack of communication, and this makes our work difficult, but we must step forward in faith. We are all under the one Cross of Jesus Christ and this thought should be uppermost in our words and actions. It is my hope and prayer that in the near future there will be two Melanesian Assistant Bishops. This is another step forward in the development of an indigenous Church. It is a step of faith which God calls us to make. Success or failure depends on our prayers and our effort to give them every assistance possible. There may be those who do not think the time opportune but I ask them to make this act of faith and trust in the Divine Guardian of us all. Can we doubt the power of the Holy Spirit? None of us has any strength in ourselves to do anything, all we have done is through the aid of God's Holy Spirit, let us pray to God that the decisions I have made after much prayer and thought, may receive His blessing and protection. We are all members of one body in Christ, let us live as such, let us work as such, let us pray as such, let us talk as such, let us use our faculties for the Body of Christ and not waste them on personal desires and wishes. Let us make ourselves the means by which God can extend His Kingdom here in these Islands. Within the Diocese we have I believe all things necessary for the Church and its task for the future, we are maintaining and preparing others to maintain, in all spheres of our work. We must review all our works, and ensure that they are all working together in complete harmony. We must not look back or step back, going forward in faith and unity.
In talking about the policy of the Church in the future I would finally like to talk briefly on the relationships that must exist between the Church and State. As I have already mentioned, unity is strength and that includes the working of the Church and the State. As far as possible we as a Mission seek to co-operate in every way with the Government. We have always had a broader view than just the Mission. Our medical, educational, mechanical and pastoral policies have not been, narrow. We have sent out many men and women to assist in other departments outside the [15/16] Mission, because we believe that there must be growth in every sphere for the welfare of all. In the Solomons and the New Hebrides, we must do our share in developing the social and economic stability of our people. We do this by creating a Christian community, a people educated to face with confidence the future that lies before them.
Finally in concluding this charge, I would like you to face the challenge that was put before the disciples of Jesus Christ. It was given to fishermen on the sea of Galilee who had not much luck, they were washing their nets and getting them ready for another night's fishing. Perhaps their poor catch was due to the fact that they had not taken enough risks, stopped too much by the shore, worried so much about damaging their nets instead of thinking about the reason for being in the ship, namely to catch fish. Then our Blessed Lord comes along and tells them to "Launch out into the deep." These were experienced fishermen who thought that such an act was a waste of time, but nevertheless as soon as they dropped their nets they immediately became full of fish; so full that the nets began to break and they had to call others to aid them. Notice however they filled both the ships.
This success was contrary to all the expectations of these fishermen who thought themselves authorities on such matters, but it was the power of God that brought the success. God asks you and me to launch out into the deep in the catching of men, and in our work, trusting in God alone, to take risks for the extension of Christ's Kingdom, relying on God's protection. Too often I fear we consider ourselves and our work without remembering the ultimate end of our work, and that is, to go out in faith, "Launch out into the deep."
As we face the future here in these Islands, as we at this Synod prepare policies for the future, we must be brave in the Lord and I call on you as members of our ship, the Diocese of Melanesia, to rally with me as we again "Launch out into the deep."
I now formally declare this Synod open.
+ ALFRED MELANESIA.