“I am pleased a huge number of you young people attended this youth convention; these are signs the giant is waking” said the Archbishop.
Extracts from Archbishop David’s opening address to the 2015 ACOM Provincial Youth Convention.
“This convention is by far a convention that has brought together the biggest number of young people compared to the ones took place at Selwyn College in 2001 and the one that took place at St.
Joseph’s Tenaru on 20th June 2010,” Archbishop David said.
“We should always remember with gratitude that one of the church’s strength is its yough people that make up around 70% of the church’s population. An important mission and task for the church is therefore, at all costs to “empower youths for participation and effective ministry,” said Archbishop David.
On 6th - 9th August 2007 Provincal Youth Consultation was given the task and mandate to listern to the voice of young people and to develop appropriate strategies and plans for the church in partnership with young people at all levels of Ministry, governance and leadership.
Two years after, on 28th August 2009, the church youth policy was launched with the main goal and vision to provide “a brighter and opeful future for young peoplein leading a life that fully acknowledges God in word and in action; and where eaqual participation and fellowship amongst young people and the wider community is enhenced with in the life and ministry of the church,” quoted from ACOM Provincial Youth Policy, 2008.
The policy aims to provide guidance in developing youths in the church of Melanesia. And if the church is seriouse about implementing the policy it must commit capacity and finance. As a policy document, it maps out te following objectives:
•To instill in young people christian values and virtues through evangelism, teaching and discipleship.
• To ensure a holistic approach to allow youth development is enhanced at all levels.
•To provide a supportive environment for young people to become stewards of their time, gifts and talents.
•To foster the spirit of coorperation and partnership for the benefit of all youths within the church.
... However, inspite of these good policy objectives there is virtually lack of support for youths in various ways and in different levels. In the church’s involvement with the youth as a ministry i can see the following problems:
There is poor coordination of the youth ministry between the Provincial and the diocesan levels and in the communities.
There is lack of proper facilities for youth activities.
Low priority is given to position of youth wokers.
Inadequate finances and resources are given to the youth ministry.
In Solomon Islands about 80% of the population live in the rural areas. And as more and more young people leave formal schooling, the number keeps increasing every year. Unfortunately, the pool of young people in the villages find themselves in the following situations:
- They have no regular work to do.
- They do not participate in community and youth group activities.
- They do not respect the village chiefs and church authority.
- Their link with church life in the community is very loose and casual.
No doubt, as young people they are greatly challenged by the situations mentioned above so they continue to be under illusion and that is where urban-drift becomes an option to look for paid employment that is not there.
In view of that, the real issues that affect our young people today are:
1. UNEMPLOYMENT - This problem keeps increasing every year because the employment sector has been saturated because it lacks teh capacity to create more jobs.
2. ABUSE OF ALCOHOL/DRUGS - This has become a problem for the youths today and it is not only confirmed to urban centres but it also commonly seen in the villages.
3. CRIME - There is rise in crimes and violence that are committed y young people not only in the urban centres but also in the villages. Stealing, sexual crimesof all sorts, fighting/violence are also reported in the villages.
As we ponder on these unfortunate circumstances we come to realise that breakdown of custom and church teaching has been the main cause of social and spiritual decline in Anglican communities.
The measures that need to be taken must therefore relate to education and training:
- Short courses for youths must be delivered in parishes and communities.
- Courses on practical skills for village youths must be available.
- Leadership courses for youth and community leaders must be made availbale.
- Literacy programmes for illiterate youths must be made availbale.
All of the above should be part of the mission programmes of the church to encourage youths to engage in some meaningful activities in the communities.
However, there are communities that have very good youth programmes and have the reasourses such as land, timber, marine resources etc...And they also have the manpower - the youths themselves but the young people still leave those programmes and go to urban centres. SO WHAT IS MISSING?
I think, the real issue that youths face is MONEY and that is what we need to work on.
Youth programmes in communities must have a money making component so that youths could have some income from what they do.
The way for therefore is creativity, initiative, innovation, patience and commitment. I believe the subsistance life style in the villages can be developed to deliver economic rewards.
Therefore, if the church and the society at large are seriouse about addressing the issues that affect our young people, we must be honest with our selves and give our full commitment to the ministry of the youth.
We cannot improve the youth ministry unless we allocate sufficient resources that include capacity and funds for its organisation and administration. And that is a task that we must take with responsibility.
END OF EXTRACT FROM THE ARCHBISHOP’S ADDRESS
More than a Thousand youths from the seven Anglican dioceses in Solomon Islands gathered together at The program began with an opening parade from All Saints Church to the Melanesian Haus at the St. Barnabas Provincial Cathedral where the Diocesan Bishops of Malaita, the Rt. Rev Sam Sahu shared a challenging message to the youths and a holy Eucharist conducted by the Rt. Rev. Alfred Hou. (See the sermon on pages 28 & 29).
On Monday 22nd Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia the Most Rev. David Vunagi delivered an opening keynote address followed by an open and interactive questioning and discussions to Archbishop’s address.
The weeks’ program includes the Review of ACoM Youth Policy and introduction of the National Youth Policy of Solomon Islands, presentations on Youth and Mission, presentations on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, Mindset Development, Social and Community Development, stewardship: Christian Ecumenical renewal and Youth, Formation on Morality and Governance, Formation in Social & Economic Justice, Formation in Care for Environment, giving, leadership, health, law and order and many more.
Cultural shows and talent nights, road cleaning up from St. Nicholas to All Saints area as well as Diocesan Youth groups visiting six Parishes in the Diocese of Central Melanesia.
It was truly an exciting and joyous week for the young people as they learn from each other, share and discuss on issues concerning young people within the Anglican Church of Melanesia.
The program is organized by the Anglican Church of Melanesia Board of Mission through the office of Faith, Mission and Evangelism.
The Anglican Church of Melanesia Board of Mission (ACOMBM) would like to thank the Ministry of Home Affairs; Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs; overseas supporters who offered support through Canon Simon Stephens and the Anglican Church of Melanesia for financing the week long programme.
Fr. Nigel Kalaepa Coordinated the convention urged the youth leaders and participants to the ACOM Provincial Youth Convention 2015 to go back to respective dioceses and parishes and continue the work in the diocesan and parish level.