THE Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia, the Most Rev. David Vunagi said it is time the sleeping giant MUST awake. He said this in his closing address to the ACOM 2015 Youth Convention held at St. Nicholas College from 21st to the 28th of June 2015.
“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:
- UNEMPLOYMENT – This problem keeps increasing every year because the employment sector has been saturated because it lacks teh capacity to create more jobs.
- 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.
- 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.