Project Canterbury




Occasional Papers No. 4.







By J. M. Steward,

                   FIFTH BISHOP.





British Solomon Islands:
Printed at the Melanesian Mission Press, Guadalcanar.



These 'Hints' are intended primarily for men starting District Work in the Mission for the first time, but they are published in the hope that they may be of use to others as well.

They are divided into two parts: first, General Hints; and secondly, Hints on matters mainly connected with the Services of the Church.

I have called them 'hints' because that is exactly what they are. A fairly long and comprehensive experience of work in the Mission has shown me that one cannot make 'rules' which will suit the very varying conditions of the different Districts, but 'hints' one can offer, and they are here offered to all who are sufficiently interested in the District Work of the Mission to read them.

But, first of all, two RULES:--

1. Always keep a Register of Baptisms, Confirmations, Marriages and Funerals, and ALWAYS KEEP IT UP TO DATE.

2. Compile, or if one is already in existence, add to, a VOCABULARY of the language or languages of your District.



The Melanesian is an expert flatterer, a past master in the art of 'leg-pulling,' and as quick as a school-boy in taking the measure of his master.

If a native clergy shews you that he thinks, or even tells you, that you are the best Missionary he has ever known (and such things have been known in Melanesia): BEWARE!

You may be perfectly sure that he has said all this to all your predecessors, will say it again to all your successors, and that his reason for it is NOT the flattering one that you are half inclined to believe.

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1. Frequency of Visits. This must depend largely (a) on the size of the District; (b) on the type of work, i.e. whether mainly among Christians or among Heathen; (c) on the weather; (d) on the available means of travel; (e) on your bodily health.

As a general rule one should try to visit all one's district at least once a quarter.

2. Duration of Visits. Again much must depend on circumstances, which differ in nearly every District; but as a general rule, TWO NIGHTS should be the shortest time spent in any place of importance. For smaller places one night will SUFFICE, but it must be borne in mind that it takes a native some time to make up his mind, (a) as to what he wants to tell you; (b) as to whether he has anything to tell you or no. N.B.-IF A TEACHER ALWAYS TELLS YOU THAT EVERYTHING IS ALL RIGHT, BE SURE THAT HE IS EITHER LAZY OR IMCOMPETENT OR HIDING SOME GRAVE MATTER FROM YOU, OR ALL THREE. SUSPECT THE TEACHER WHO DOES NOT COME NEAR YOU.

You are there to hear whatever he has to tell you, HE KNOWS THIS QUITE WELL, if he does not come near you there is nearly always something seriously wrong with him.


If he has only come 'to pass the time of day,' he will soon see that you are tired out and leave you; but if he has summoned up his courage to tell you of some serious trouble, and you send him away, you will very likely have lost an opportunity of doing good, which WILL NOT OCCUR AGAIN.

YOU MUST ALWAYS BE READY TO HELP. You will soon see who is a mere chatterer and who a real enquirer, but suffer the chatterer gladly till you are quite sure that his chatter is not really a cloak for shyness, and that he is not only chattering till he can find courage to tell you the real purpose of his visit.

When you ask a Native what he wants, he NEARLY ALWAYS says, "O kakakae gap," i.e. Just to chat; BUT he does this out of politeness, he does not expect you to believe him. As likely as not he has something very important to tell you,--and he will tell you it LAST OF ALL. BE VERY PATIENT.

If the extent of your District will permit of it, stay a week or even more in each village, but you must be very careful not to pay long visits only in the places where the Teacher is pleasant. Many a good Teacher, and above all, many a Teacher who badly needs your help, has not attractive manners. Such a man will probably need more attention than the pleasant one. The former is uncouth and shy and needs encouragement. The latter needs no encouragement, he is welcome and knows that he is, but very likely does not need your help half as much as the other.

If your stay is a fairly long it is a good thing to get the Teacher to build a small 'closet' for you. Unless you know your way about you may relieve yourself in the wrong place, and anyhow a certain amount of privacy is desirable for many reasons. If your stay is short, keep your eyes open to see in what direction the men go early in the morning, and go in that direction yourself. The other direction will lead you to the women's place.

[7] 3. LENGTH OF DAILY JOURNEY. Don't try and do too much. At first you will feel strong and ready for a really hard journey; but it will soon tell on your strength. Go slow and steady and you will do more work in the long run. Unless forced to do so, don't try and cover more than twenty miles in one day at the most. Limit yourself as far as traveling goes to an Eight Hours Day. This will be quite enough for you and your Crew.

If you are walking you will probably not do as much. Eight hours walking in the Bush will soon seem a very good day's work. You will not be able to keep it up for long. NOR WILL YOUR BOYS.

For very long journeys by sea, choose a moon-light night.

4. CARE OF YOUR BOAT'S CREW. Generally you will be able to stand more than they can. You are traveling because you want to, so are they, i.e. because YOU want to. This makes a very great difference. The man who considers his boys, gets them easily, the man who does not, has great difficulty in getting them at all.

If they are wet, see that they change; they easily catch colds. You do not want to have to nurse a sick boy as well as do the rest of your work.

See that they are properly housed and fed. "A merciful man is merciful to his beast." It is only the fool who is not.

Select a 'Captain' from among them, and let him know that you are always ready to listen to him if anything is needed.

If NECESSARY do not mind sleeping in the same house as they do, but, at this day, there ought always to be a house, of sorts, for the white man, in every Christian village. If there is not, tell the Chief and the Teacher that there must be. If they pay no attention, tell them that you will not sleep there again until there is. AND KEEP YOUR WORD. NEVER THREATEN UNLESS YOU MEAN TO CARRY OUT YOUR THREAT.


[8] 5. INSPECTING SCHOOLS. This is part of the ordinary work of a District Missionary, but not at all an easy thing.

Unless a question is put in the way to which he has been accustomed, a native child often finds it difficult to frame an answer. You may think a form untaught when really it is only that they do not see what you are driving at. Put your question in the way they expect and you will find that they know the answer all right. Again, very few white men speak the language in the same way as a native does. The Teacher is used to our use of words and expressions, and knows what we mean. The young child is not, and fails to catch our meaning. Listen carefully, and you may hear one native repeat what you have said yourself. His phrasing will be slightly different, so slightly, perhaps, as to be almost imperceptible to you, but the difference is there. And it is the difference between having to think what you mean and understanding it at once. Dullness in a class may be, and probably often is, caused by the children failing to grasp exactly what you mean, because you do not speak "like a native."

Very often, of course, the children have been badly taught, heave learnt the answer to a fixed question by rote, without any idea of its meaning, but not always. Broadly speaking, the only way to tell if a class has been properly taught and learned its lesson, is to visit the school several days in succession, get them accustomed to you and to your way of speaking and behaving, and then see how they answer you. Insist on a Teacher keeping a Register, but do not put too much dependence on it. Teachers have been known to fill up a Register for months ahead, supposing that what you wanted was a well filled book. Find out how often he teaches and for how long. Listen to him taking class. Watch the children's faces. See how they respond in Church, and how far they join in the Service. You will get a very good general idea of the schooling from this.

Again, bear in mind the different type of Teachers.

One, pleasant mannered and self-confident; another, rather uncouth and very shy of the white man, not in the least grasping what he really is looking for, and in consequence [8/9] making a very poor show, but none the less, possibly a better teacher than the other.

Do not be in a hurry to condemn the dull, stupid old Teacher as incompetent. He may be so, but on the other hand, though perhaps not so much good at teaching, he may be a real power for good in the place; such as a more brilliant, better educated man, very likely, could never be. An ideal combination would be, a good solid reliable Head-teacher, who would be a father to his people, with a bright, well educated Assistant who would do most of the actual teaching.

6. APPOINTING AND DISMISSING TEACHERS. This is part of the normal work of the District Missionary, though, of course, the Bishop has the right to intervene where he thinks right.

In this a beginner should exercise great caution, and seek the advice of his elder and more trustworthy Teachers, especially of Native Priests or Deacons.

Teachers are divided into four categories:--Overseers, who have charge of two or three villages; Preachers, who hold the Bishop's License to preach (these are recommended to the Bishop for Licensing, by the District Missionary); Teachers, who, though not sufficiently gifted to make Preachers, are competent to teach in School; and Readers, who are only sufficiently educated to read the services.

In almost every case the higher office includes the lower ones; but it is conceivable that an Overseer might be an impossible preacher or a very poor teacher.

Speaking generally, personal character and influence over others, is to be preferred, as a qualification, to brilliance. A brilliant person is sometimes unstable, and with our small number of European Clergy, a very great deal depends on the Teachers.

If a Teacher is accused of any fault which renders his dismissal necessary, the greatest care should be taken in investigating the charge. Trustworthy natives should always be called in to help as 'Assessors.' False accusations are a common native method of getting rid of a Teacher whom they dislike, often for far other than moral causes.

[10] This is a Melanesian fault. It will need generations to educate them to the pitch of seeing that the laying of false charges is a sin. But it must not be overlooked on this account.

If every native who brings a charge against another knew that, if his accusation was proved false, he would be personally liable to a penalty equivalent to that which would have befallen the person he has accused, it might do much to root out this besetting sin of the Melanesian.

Should you have but little doubt as to the guilt of the accused, but not be able to secure convincing evidence of it, you must not 'acquit him for lack of evidence,' this will be taken as condoning his offence. He must be suspended from his office till he can establish his innocence. This will seldom fail to have the desired result. It may GENERALLY be taken for granted that, when the villagers are themselves certain of a man's guilt, they are right, though evidence sufficient for a legal condemnation may be lacking. It is generally a great mistake to re-instate a teacher who has fallen and repented in the village where his sin was committed. But NOT always. ABOVE ALL, BE MOST CAREFUL TO AVOID EVEN THE APPEARANCE OF PARTIALITY.

Do not be in a hurry to dismiss a teacher simply because he is old and seems past his work; the man who suggests the move may be looking for his job. In all such matters consult the other teachers, they will, at least, tell you everything there is to be said in the old man's favour. If this does not outweigh his shortcomings, you will, probably, be quite justified in dismissing him.

But, until you know the circumstances of your District pretty well, do not set too high a standard in what you think requisite in a Teacher. But, on the other hand, you must remember that the efficiency of the work that you attempt, depends very largely on the efficiency of your teachers.

7. SETTLING DIFFICULTIES. The Native looks upon the District Missionary as the natural court-of-appeal, and as one who has a ready answer for any and every kind of question.

[11] For this work, until you have gained a very considerable insight into the native mind, your main requisite is common sense.

There are one or two cautions to be observed.

a. Try, first of all, to ascertain whether the other natives consider the matter one of serious importance. There are certain things which appear very trivial to a European, but to the native mind they are of great importance. In some cases the converse holds true also.

b. Find out if the 'appellants' have already laid the matter before the 'Government' or no.

c. If they have, and in your opinion the Government has acted unadvisably, tell them you will see to the matter, and then write a very careful letter to the Officer concerned. Some Officers are sympathetic, some are not; but most of them will resent anything that savours of 'dictation' or 'interference' on the part of a Missionary. Therefore you letter should be very tentative and humble IN TONE, otherwise you may prejudice the Officer in question against you from the start.


d. Be definite in your decision, or else refuse to give one. The Native dos not appreciate 'judicial caution.'

e. You need not be in a hurry to decide. Tell the persons concerned to come again to-morrow, or the next day, or two days hence, if you want time for consideration or private enquiries.

f. Do not judge by outward appearance. The most guilty Native may have the countenance of a persecuted saint, the most innocent may appear confused and shame-faced, or may even have the air of a criminal.

g. Do not be disgusted if the witnesses contract themselves. They are only trying to find out what you wish them [11/12] to say. This is the native's idea of combined good manners and common sense.

h. Do not put too many 'leading questions,' they will only act as a guide to the Native as to what he thinks you want him to say, AND HE WILL SAY IT.

i. Be very patent and good mannered. The Native is very easily flustered or hurt.

On principle, distrust the native who is NOT a little flurried. Nearly every native will be shy and uneasy UNTIL HE KNOWS YOU WELL.

j. Let a Native give his evidence in his own way, he will come to the point in time.

k. Be very careful not to interfere in a purely governmental affair. It is one thing to protect a native against injustice and another to protect him against the natural penalty of his wrong doing; but he does not always see this.

In many cases the Native is inclined to consider the Mission and the Government as rival powers, always seeking opportunity to 'score off' one another. Be very careful to give them no grounds for this idea. Try and explain to them that the Government really desires their well-being, and generally, act as a palliative rather than an irritant. Remember that, in the long run, the Government holds 'all the high cards.' Always treat a Government Official courteously and sympathetically, if you wish him to treat you in the same manner.

REMEMBER THIS:--While you are corresponding with District Officers, Commissioners, High Commissioners and Colonial Secretaries, the 'Government' can ACT, and by the time you have received your final reply (say, in a year or eighteen months, if you are lucky), the thing you are trying to prevent may have happened, and indeed, become ancient history. Therefore always try TACT first of all, and only in the last extreme, indignant correspondence.

Also, try and 'put yourself in his place,' see how the matter appears to the Government Officer, and try explanations before [12/13] remonstrations. YOUR DUTY IS TO INTERPRET THE NATIVE TO THE GOVERNMENT AND VICE VERSA. You will find that this takes up all the time you have to spare.

8. COMPLAINTS TO AND ABOUT GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS. Always be quite certain of your facts. Vague, unsubstantiated complaints do no good, they only serve to irritate and put you in the wrong. Do not accept rumour; make personal enquiries, then as the Government Officer if the facts are as reported (he will very often have quite a different tale to tell), and THEN, and not till then, take what action you think right.

The Native will sometimes tell you that some Official has made some quite outrageous remark about you or the Mission generally. You will, naturally, be indignant. BUT the Native knows this, and may be, has 'touched up' the remark of the Official concerned, with this very purpose in view; or, to take a more charitable view, has misunderstood what the man said.

The best thing is to take some such line as this, "Oh, nonsense; I am quite sure he never said that, no man in his position would be so foolish."

Then, if he has said it, you have, quite courteously, called him a fool; if not, you have rebuked the native for his misdoing in reporting an untruth.

Remember that everybody here gets irritable at times, and in consequence, sometimes says things that would have been better expressed otherwise.

Possibly, even you, have at times said things about Government Officials which you would not repeat in cold blood, or which might have been expressed better.



In your dealings with the Native Clergy, remember that very often they are much older, and possibly even wiser, men than you.

Many years ago, the Native Priest in a District where they were expecting a new District Missionary, said to me, "Oh, I DO hope they will not send us a boy." It is very galling for an old man to be disregarded and 'bossed about' by a much younger man, just because the latter is a Foreigner and a novice.

Treat your Native Clergy as colleagues not as curates.

Seek their advice, consult with them on all matters which concern the District as a whole, and bear patiently with them when you are told that your predecessor 'never did this.' You predecessor MAY have been a fool, but, on the other hand it is just as possible that he was NOT.

The Native is inherently 'conservative,' all innovations are 'anathema' to him. AT FIRST, but patience and courtesy will soon bring him round, if you have reason backing you. But, at first, you must be on your guard against unnecessarily offending native susceptibilities.

b. The same applies to Teachers, except that the Teacher will not be quite so dependable as the Priest or Deacon, a little more ready to 'pull your leg,' and a very good hand at doing so too, in most cases. See previous paragraph (6).

c. Native Chiefs, may generally be divided into two categories, the Knave and the Fool. BUT THERE ARE CERTAIN OUTSTANDING EXCEPTIONS. Generally speaking, treat the Native Chief with outward courtesy but do not pay much attention to what he says. The exceptions are so rare that you are not likely to make a mistake. Since the arrival of the Government, the 'worth' of the Chief has decreased in the same degree as has his power.

[15] d. The Native Policeman is nearly always a knave and an unmitigated nuisance. Lose no opportunity of putting him 'in his place.' He nearly always is acting without authority. He is a beggar on horseback, generally a blackguard by nature, instinct and behaviour. The ARE exceptions to this rather sweeping statement, but you will have NO difficulty in telling them from the ruck. The good Native Policeman is a very valuable adjunct to Missionary work, but, alas, VERY RARE.

e. You will be told that Melanesians are 'children.' But NEVER forget that they are MEN and WOMEN. If you treat them as children, you will bitterly offend them and you will run serious risk of doing grave harm to yourself and them as well.

Avoid anything in the least degree approaching 'petting.'

The very graves moral dangers may be incurred quite unwittingly by petting a native. ABOVE ALL, in dealing with the opposite sex, is the idea that they are 'children' DANGEROUS, FOOLISH and WICKED.

Be friendly to all, familiar with none.

Be kind to all, affectionate to none.

Sentimentality is the WORST quality in a Missionary.

It renders him blind to the natives' faults and inefficient in his work.

Patience, sympathy, kindness, accessibility and unwearying service of all entrusted to him are the qualities of the ideal Missionary in Melanesia.

Impatience, slackness, sentimentality; these are FATAL faults.


Find out what the Heads of the Schools or College want, and as far as possible send them what they want.

Give plenty of notice both to the Island Heads and to the Captain of the "Southern Cross."

[16] Remember that the latter makes up his itinerary the preceding voyage.

Remember that you are not the only person to be considered.

Remember that the Heads are probably the people who know best what kind of Pupils they want.


Make it up in plenty of time.

Make sure that you get it countersigned by the Bishop IN PLENTY OF TIME.

Make it quite clear where and how you want it put down.

If it is a question of saving yourself or the Ship trouble, save the Ship.

Make it clear to the Teachers that prices fluctuate.

Try and find out, at any rate approximately, the price of the goods you order.

Do not order £5 worth of goods for a Teacher who only gets £2:10:0. If you do, don't be angry with the Auckland people if they exercise their own judgement as to what they send.



Take reasonable care of your health. A sick Missionary is very little use to any one.

Don't gossip. Don't grumble. Don't scold. Don't nag. Don't bully. Don't criticize others. Don't pity yourself. Don't praise yourself. Don't lose your temper,--and--DON'T THINK THAT YOU UNDERSTAND THE NATIVES.


Finally, when in doubt, difficulties, or distress, read--I Corinth. xiii.





1. BAPTISMS. You are not likely to be asked to baptise infants when there is any reason not to do so. It is impossible ALWAYS to keep the rule as to God-parents quite strictly. One must use one's own judgement as to individual cases. N.B.--Always get written down the names of the child, native and Christian, also of the parents, BEFORE the Baptism. It is not necessary to take the child into your arms. It may frighten it too much. Think what you would have thought, as a baby, if you were handed into the arms of a black man. Also a naked strong baby is very hard to hold. Never mind pouring plenty of water of its head; it has no Christening robe to spoil.

In baptizing ADULTS, the main questions to ask are, (1) Has he or she been schooling regularly? (2) How long? We do not accept a person who has 'schooled' for less than a year, except under very exceptional circumstances. (3) What sort of general character has he or she? (4) Is all right as to plurality of wives, and general rejection of Heathen ways?

Teachers are sometimes worshippers of numbers. Their main idea is to present a large number. Beware of this.

Also of 'spectacular' conversions, e.g. of a Heathen Witch-doctor, or Chief. They may be only 'making things safe' in case their own faith proves no good hereafter, or they be only yielding outwardly to the pertinacity of the Teacher.

2. CONFIRMATION CANDIDATES. The circumstances are much as in Adult Baptism, but Teachers are even less dependable here. Make the same enquiries as for candidates for Adult Baptism, only even more carefully, before admitting them to 'School,' and, above all, before presenting them for Confirmation.

All Candidates for Confirmation are expected to have also been prepared for receiving the Holy Communion.

Until you have mastered the language, do not think that you can 'examine' the Candidate yourself. They are very often too confused in the presence of a stranger to answer at all. This will almost always be the case with elderly people or with women of any age.

Your safest plan is to be guided by a Native Priest or Deacon, or a Teacher whom you have reason to believe you can trust.

Beware of the plausible nice-mannered Teacher. He may be all right, but, on the other hand, he may NOT.

"Put not your trust in any child of man" should be your rule till experience has shewn you whom to trust and whom not to trust.


Candidates for Confirmation should always be encouraged to make their Confessions. At first you may not be able to understand them. In such a case your wisest plan is to take their penitence for granted, and give Absolution, rather than to try to make them put their confession into some form of words that you think you WILL understand.

The whole question of Confession to a newly-joined Priest is so difficult that if you want further advice you had better apply direct to the Bishop or to some experience Priest.

3. RECEPTION OF PENITENTS. Don't try and find out if the man is REALLY penitent, because you won't be able to do so in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred.

[19] (1) Find out what he has done. Teachers have been known to put a man 'out of Church' just because he has been rude to them, or refused to do something they had no right to tell him to do.

(2) Find out how long he has been 'out of Church.' A year is the usual period for serious wrong doing.

(3) Find out how he has behaved during that time. If he lived cleanly, or 'returned to his vomit again.'

Some Teachers seem to look upon the time spent 'out of Church' as the ONE criterion, not even considering the need of some outward and visible signs of a desire to reform.

ALL OPEN SINNERS MUST BE RESTORED OPENLY. To do otherwise will probably be taken as condoning the sin.

If we wish to awaken a 'sense of sin' in these people, it seems to me that we MUST shew our reprobation of sin.

REMEMBER Private Confession is much easier than open penance. Few Natives possess such a sense of sin as to feel any shame in confessing any but sexual sins, and not always even this.

Many years ago a Native Teacher said to me, "What is this 'confessio' the Romans talk about? It seems to me that when one of them has 'fallen' all he has to do is to tell the Priest, and then nothing more happens.

REMEMBER the Native looks at things from his own strange point of view, and everything that suits us may not suit him.

A man grows gradually, seldom by leaps and bounds.

A child fed on food for an adult seldom thrives.

'Festina lente' is a good Missionary motto.

4. MARRIAGE. The impediments to Marriage among Melanesians are:--

a. The money has not been paid. This may cause serious trouble in the future unless satisfactorily settled before Marriage.

b. The relations have not given their consent. This MAY be a serious matter; on the other hand sometimes a distant relative causes trouble by refusing consent because he is not satisfied with the share in the money that he has been given. In a matter like this, the villagers can GENERALLY be depended on to give good advice. Find out if the 'objector' has any real right to stand out.

c. Husband and wife are of the same 'tribe.' This is a very old custom, and, in probably the majority of places, still holds good. But, on the other hand, in SOME places it is dying out. Enquire carefully whether, if they are of the same tribe, the relations mind, or there is any general feeling against it.

Of course no Church law forbids such marriages, but one can refuse to marry a couple on the grounds that it would cause scandal and offence, and might give ostensible grounds for some more serious breach of Native code. It is always possible, too, that it might be claimed as grounds for a civil divorce, which might be granted by a District Officer and lead to what the Church would be forced to consider adultery, and punish accordingly.

d. The bride or bridegroom have been promised to some one else before. This may or may not be a real objection. Probably it means that somebody's feelings are hurt.


Naturally, a native will first of all produce a reason which he hopes will appeal to you, but it may not be the REAL reason.

Don't take native objections lightly, but, on the other hand, try and satisfy yourself that they are genuine and not fictitious.

Marriage with a deceased wife's sister or husband's brother or with a divorced person is not contrary to Native custom.

[21] It is not likely that you would be asked to marry people who come under the above heads, but it is possible. So be on your guard, and if necessary make enquiries first.

Separation is allowed, and sometimes to be recommended. Many Native Teachers hate the idea, and will try and force reluctant couple to live together again. This often leads to serious trouble.

A native will quite grasp the fact that separation an divorce are not the same thing . . . for himself . . . .he judges others differently.

Divorce, is of course, not permitted on any grounds.

Should a husband and wife have deserted the other and be living far away, and have continued thus for many years, I, personally, should be ready to 'presume death' on any reasonable grounds.

There need be no fear of 'Enoch Arden's case' here.

Some natives find it hard to realize that the passage of time does NOT make a sinful connection respectable.

E.g. A has married B, and then has left him or her and is living with C. All parties are nominally Christian.

A and C are, of course, out of Church.

B dies.

At once A and C expect to be 'received back' and to continue living together.

They will be surprised and hurt if you suggest that the death of B does not annul all guilt at once.

Some natives are accustomed to 'exchange' wives and husbands. They also profess to be surprised that we object to this.

Teachers have been known to permit this. In such places as this is the custom (e.g. Lakona, I think), make careful inquiries.

The consent of all parties concerned does not 'respectablise' adultery, but some natives seem to think it does.


[22] 5. CHURCHING OF WOMEN. It is a very prevalent custom for a mother to stay away from Church until she is Churched, for this reason we allow Teachers to 'Church.' Although one would not refuse to Church a woman who did not bring 'the customary offering,' still this is a laudable custom, and people should be plainly told that the woman is EXPECTED to make some offering if she possibly can.

The offerings at Churching are generally added to the 'Alena' for the District, but there is no reason why they should not be allotted to some definite purpose if the Missionary-in-charge wishes it.

6. BURIALS. The general rule is that only the bodies of Communicants are brought into Church. There is no 'Law' on the matter, but unbaptised people should NOT be brought into the Chruch.

Every village should have its Cemetery. Every Cemetery should be kept tidy. People will often need a good deal of stirring up over this. They must not be allowed to get slack. Only in the most exceptional cases is there any reason why there should not be a Cemetery. Sometimes the Villagers are slack, sometimes there is an old semi-heathen dislike of the idea of a Cemetery, but the time has passed when we could allow them to bury where they liked. If we do not see to it that Cemeteries are provided, the Government will do it, and possibly not in away that will please the people.

People who die when 'out of Church' are treated as excommunicate. Every Native Priest, Deacon or Teacher should be instructed that an excommunicate at the point of death should be visited and urged to repent. Provisional 'absolution' should be given if there is no Priest at hand, but no one should be allowed to die excommunicate for lack of opportunity to repent. Teachers must be clearly told that great guilt will be incurred if they neglect this part of their duties.

Provision is made in the Prayer Book and Canons for the Burial of those for whom the usual form is unsuitable.

[23] The custom of throwing flowers into the grave is wide-spread, and, as far as I know, there is no harm in it. The idea is, probably, to typify the Resurrection.

7. DAILY SERVICES. As far as possible the Daily Service should NEVER be omitted, it is the Village Family Prayers. It may be shortened to any extent, held at any hour that may suit, but NOT omitted.

8. CELEBRATIONS OF THE HOLY COMMUNION. These should be provided whenever necessary. The Natives are not accustomed to Celebrations except on Sundays and Holy Days as a rule. Of course when 'on tour' a Celebration will be given on whatever day of the week suits all concerned.

ON NO ACCOUNT should the rule of 'Communion School' on the evening before be relaxed, except, of course, in cases of necessity.

Although people are to be encouraged to receive the Sacrament, and to attend, where they so desire, without Communicating, yet the greatest care must be exercised not to make Communion 'cheap.'

They have a great, though possibly a vague, reverence for It. They must be reasoned with, not blamed, if this seems to make them slow to take the opportunity of being present whenever the Holy Sacrifice is offered. It is sometimes necessary to refuse to Celebrate in a dirty Church, to teach the people that the House of God must not be neglected.

In dealing with this Sacrament it is, in my opinion, far better to be cautious than to run the grave risk of profaning It by too great lenience. We are only the Stewards of God's Gifts; on us lies the responsibility for their distribution, on us will lie the blame for misuse. Our own desire for frequent opportunities of Celebrating must not blind us to this responsibility.

A Missionary must expect to suffer even the loss of outward means of Grace for the good of his people and the work.


We cannot believe that God will let us suffer if, for the good of others, we deny ourselves even 'The Bread of Life.'








In view of the desirability of there being some authoritative Hand-book of Advice to Beginners in the Mission, the writer will be grateful for any suggestions as to additions, alterations or omissions, for a further edition of this Paper.


Project Canterbury