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Sunday, 10 August 2014 18:45

Archbishop Welby in Honiara

ARCHBISHOP of Canterbury, The Most Reverend and Right Honorable Justin Welby and wife Mrs. Caroline Welby are currently in the Province of Melanesia as of afternoon today.

Wednesday, 06 August 2014 13:14

Archbishop Welby's visit to ACOM

ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY The Most Reverend Right Honorable Justin Welby and Lady Caroline Welby will be visiting the Primate of the Anglican Church of Melanesia The Most Reverend David Vunagi on the 10th to the 12th August 2014.

Thursday, 31 July 2014 20:46

Kurt Schmidli

ACOM Learning institutions; ownership - self-reliance - sustainable.

SMART people understand the importance of sustainability and the connection with ownership and self-reliance. Leaders and economists around the world, particularly from developing countries encourage their people to adopt the concept of self-reliance. The leaders of the Anglican Church of Melanesia are no exception. They understand that self-reliance will lead to a healthy nation and consequently healthy and happy people.

·         Confidence in your own abilities and judgment

·         Not needing help or resources from other people.

·         To manage one's own affairs; not to be dependent.

·         Self-reliance is the ability to depend on yourself to get things done and to meet your own needs. An example of self-reliance is growing your own food.

·         To make our own decisions

Self-reliance is our chance to take the reins of our life and lead from the front. To give us the chance to discover more about our life and ourselves than if we are led through life by circumstance or others. Being self-reliant gives us great freedom. And this experience opens our eyes to new possibilities, to new prospects, to new options. To rely on yourself gives great satisfaction. If dealt with honestly and with intelligence it can open up a new era in our lives. But no matter what the problem is, you can never force people to help themselves. That's one of the advantages of self-reliance. The addict has to want to get well. The person who is lacking training and resources must be willing to sacrifice and work hard to obtain that training or resources.

Unless there is great need, you are never really motivated to do much, and that's the danger when circumstances suddenly change or disaster strikes. When governments or aid agencies start giving handouts, you learn to depend on others rather than yourself, and eventually you lose both your motivation and your self-respect.  Those who are independent and self-reliant typically survive and function better in society than those who are dependent on others for happiness and sustainability. Taking control of basic tasks and life skills will not only help you stay in control of your own life, but will ultimately contribute to making you a happier person.

Examples:

Independent

Dependent

It gives us the power to make decisions in our own interest.

We have to do things that are in the interest of the people who gave us the aid and most of the time these things are not in our best interest.

We develop our own organizational capability.

We depend on other people and their organization.

We are taking responsibility for our own well-being.

We give someone else the responsibility for our well-being.

We can change things in our best interest.

We cannot change things in our best interest.

We take advantage of all our resources and creativity.

We waste our resources and do not develop our creativity.

We work hard in our own interest.

We become lazy and don’t develop good work habits.

We gain confidence in our ability and we have dignity.

We become beggars, we feel inferior, and we lose our dignity.

We will develop enough to solve our problems and someday even help others solve the same problems.

We will never be able to help ourselves and therefore we could not help anyone else.

We set an honorable example for our youth that our youth and we can be proud of.

It is the worst example for our youth.

It leads us to the emancipation of women and of all of the people.

It is a continuation of the oppression of women and of the people.

We need take ownership in the way we want to live. For example, treat education as an asset or a resource. It gives us choices and opportunities, so we should appreciate it as such and make the necessary sacrifices to get educated or at least give our children the opportunity to do so. Every day a child misses school is a day it misses out on education, so we need to address absenteeism. Take ownership of your communities. Community development increases opportunities for participation and enables the transfer of skills between people, leading to self-reliance. This development ensures local ownership of its infrastructure, its churches, schools or projects and utilizes local resources to solve local problems. Government and Church of Melanesia resources are limited. They are unable to fully fund all their education providers’ projects and activities so priorities need to be set to address issues of training, funding and maintaining in a most cost effective way.

It is anticipated that eventually the government will train and provide teaching staff and the church along with the local parishes will fund the operations of all the schools the Church manages.

The church expects that communities get more involved with their schools and provide assistance for maintaining the school’s infrastructure. This can be addressed in various ways, depending on the school’s location, availability of land, community relations and the land ownership situation:

·         Do fundraising to pay for some of the maintenance expenses. However as most of the schools are located in remote rural areas where communities have very limited access to finance, the rewards of fundraising may be quite small. Community members and students may engage in craft work or produce goods that may be unique and of high value and which can be sold to outsiders, to markets in the bigger centres or to cruise ship visitors.

·         Start a school pet project, like a little poultry business; a small hen house for about 20 hens. The students can get involved in the daily feeding routine and the eggs can then be sold locally.  

·         Schools should allocate plots of land to grow vegetables and fruit for the school’s own use or for sale to the teachers and the community.

·         Grow kava, a product that appreciates in value over time.

·         Grow trees around the school’s periphery, like Namamau or perhaps Natangura. These trees will contribute as building materials over time to the maintenance of school buildings or future community projects.

·         Grow trees for the long term (15+ years). Depending on climatic and soil conditions, plant sandalwood, whitewood or mahogany. These trees will greatly benefit the schools and communities in years to come. It is important however that the ownership of the land for these long term projects is recognised and isolated from land disputes and claims. 

·         Schools in conjunction with the communities should consider introducing a planting day, perhaps once a month, where members of the community and pupils work the gardens and plant crops and trees. At the same time, the working group could take care of the school infrastructure and carry out repair work and maintain the buildings and furniture to a good standard.  

If we want to create vibrant communities, particularly for young adults, it is critical that these people feel ownership over what they are building. Without having a sense of ownership over their own work, young leaders will not be empowered to take control of their own success and it will become impossible for us to cultivate new leaders. It is not enough to just give young adults a seat at the table – we need to give them the tools, support and, most importantly, the confidence to build and engage in a Christian way that makes sense and has meaning to them. This is the only way to help ensure strong leaders for our communities who can build an independent future for the young people of Vanuatu.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014 21:28

JCPU recent developments

THIS update intends to be honest about what is going on with the John Coleridge Patteson University project. In the church’s search to strengthen the education legacy in the move to setup the university, hard and tough thinking must be taken on board. Seven years without a tangible result caused by the lack of financial commitment by the church mustn’t be allowed to go on in the next seven years. It doesn’t mean we’ve been laidback doing nothing. The reality is that, the Task Force Committee appointed by the General Synod to do the planning and mapping the course of the project were vigorously exhausting all avenues to setup the university in the last seven years, but without funds to make initial constructions to put up infrastructures on the land acquired from the landowners.

In recent times, the landowners were reluctant to give away completely ownership of the land even when the church has bought and is now taken ownership of the land. Thanks to the Diocesan Bishop of Guadalcanal the Rt. Rev’d Nathan Tome for spearheading the intention to resume talks with the landowners. In his report to the TFC Bp. Nathan has revealed that, the landowners are willing to restart the talk with the church. That talk is yet to take place.

The issue about land is a contentious issue. The landowners and the Anglican Church of Melanesia are yet to meet at some stage to sort out the issue. However, a common understanding to be reached between the parties has some underlined issues for both parties to resolve. To deal with these issues, the landowners must resolve their internal disagreements and if need be thoroughly negotiate among themselves through their Land Trustees, should they have new demands with the church. Importantly, to recognize the process the church has taken to return the land from the government to the point the church in turn had to acquire the land from the landowners. These are legal, time consuming and difficult processes ACOM on behalf of the landowners has committed her-self to, and is therefore appeals to the landowners for their understanding over the issue.

There is also the need to respect the initial mutual talk and understanding in as far as Anglicans are concerned. It was the landowners who initiated the offer for the church when they heard the church was looking for a place to relocate Kohimarama. The ACOM bishops and delegates of BPTC Board of Governors then went on an initial trip to the current site based on the offer by the Anglican landowners. At the first sight, everyone agreed as they saw the location was as ideal for a grand development. To this end, the need to speak as Christians in search of building the Kingdom of God among us should also be considered.

Pressure is also on the church on the issue. Since we have come in the last seven years with no funds set aside for this huge project, its time ACOM set aside funds for JCPU project in its capital project funding. Better still start investment in all vacant lands. The General Synod is coming up. Therefore, let’s use it to do God talk about many unfinished business facing the church. As for the office of the Coordinator I am hoping in the words of Jesus. “Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom”. With such divine assurance I am hoping for positive and mysterious things to come our way. I believe this, because Tertiary education is a tiny undertaking for God. Let us not be afraid of it. God is so pleased and is willing to step in, if only we dispose ourselves into his pleasure and not in our own disbelief and disappointments.  

AFTER the relocation of the Center from main down town Port Vila to the Ports and Habour area; around 47 seafarers have already enjoyed the facilities provided in the Mission to Seafarers Centre in Port Vila – Vanuatu.

Thursday, 26 June 2014 22:18

Five admitted into Sisterhood at Veranaso

THE Community of the Sisters of Melanesia (CSM) celebrated the admission of five (5) Novices into the  Sisterhood on the PENTECOSTAL Sunday at Veranaso, east of Honiara.

STAFF and students at Navele Junior Secondary School situated in Santo, Vanuatu were shocked to see a boy’s dormitory turned into ashes within less than an hour.

The dormitory constructed with local materials was on fire when all students were on their normal night study schedule at around 7PM on the 26th of May 2014. The classrooms were located few meters away from the dormitories.

THE Anglican Church of Melanesia held a successful three-day working conference for its partner agencies in Honiara between 5 – 7 June. Over 50 delegates attended, drawn equally from the different parts of the Anglican Church’s organisation in Solomons and Vanuatu and from representatives of overseas Mission Agencies and a number of the NGOs based in Honiara.

Churches in the Solomon Islands have agreed to actively support the political independence struggle of the people in West Papua.

“We in the Solomon Islands have heard the cries of the peoples of West Papua and we commit to advocating their inherent right to gainful political self-determination and true freedom”, said Rev. Fr. Peter Houhou, of the Archdiocese of Honiara.

Rethinking the ‘political freedoms’ inherited since independence in order to independently ‘self – determine’ is the direction the Solomon Islands will need to head to.