SEARCHING the role of the church today was one on the key question highlighted by the Diocesan Bishop of Vanuatu and New Caledonia (DOVNC) the Rt. Rev. James Ligo to the 20th Diocesan synod. The synod hosted by the Port Vila/Noumea Region was held at the Church of Resurrection- Tagabe Port Vila from 11th to 14th of May 2014.
“Look at the bible both Old Testament and New Testament as well as the history of the Christian church, we escape the fact that one of the main roles of that the church played at that time was to speak out and even protest against unjust structures of society and national policies that oppress ordinary people” Bishop Ligo said.
He said “The prophets of Old Testament and Jesus himself saw that things that were happening in their society in their time. They saw poverty, they saw inequality, and they spoke out that there must be justice.”
He urged synod members that “ the Anglican Church as one of the leading churches in Vanuatu today in terms of population and its assistance in national developments towards health and education and other smaller services delivery, I think we have an important role to play in addressing issues and challenges facing our country.”
“I believe that it is time the Anglican Church must speak out and protest against the attitudes of injustice, in a political and economic system. As leaders we must understand what is going on in our communities and government. We must be aware of the development that brings in inequalities to our brothers and sisters. It is an important duty that we do out of the love of God and the love of our neighbors;” the Chairman to the synod said.
Bishop Ligo adds, “We cannot separate the message of the Gospel from the economic, social and political situations of our time”.
“I believe our mission can be more effective if we learn to serve each other and other people from the heart” Rt. Rev. James Ligo concluded.
Amongst other decision reached at the Synod is the inclusion for a Parish on Malekula Island for Anglican members living and working there.
The next diocesan synod will be held after three (3) years and will be hosted by the Central and Southern Pentecost Region.
The 20th Diocesan synod was held back to back with the 4th Diocesan Youth Convention also held in Port Vila. The Diocesan Offices chartered the MV Tina to pick up Synod and Youth participants.
Amongst many distinguished guests who attended the Official Opening of the synod are: Hon. Ham Lini (Opposition Leader – now Deputy Prime Minister of Vanuatu), Honorable Ralph Regenvanu – Minister of Lands, Ulrich Sumptoh – Mayor of Port Vila Municipality and Justice Dudley Aru – Vice Chancellor of Anglican Church in Vanuatu, Government and Private section officials, Chiefs, Women Leaders, Youths and whole Anglican community in Port Vila. The Official opening was witnessed by over a thousand people from different Parishes in Port Vila.
Over 100 participants from different regions starting from within Santo, Ambae, Maewo, Pentecost and Port Vila attended the 20th synod.
The theme of the Synod is: “Living and Serving together for effective mission service”.