The 23rd day of June 2013 is now a historical day for the Anglican Community in the Province of Melanesia but more particularly it is for the Anglican members of Guadalcanal. Truly it is written down in their history – an event the people of Guadalcanal wish to see eventuate and thus talked about since 1978. Some prominent church leaders initiating the idea are not able to witness this great ceremony, but their sons and daughters, grannies and great grannies do witness the day after a weeklong rally, sleepless nights, frustrations, upsets and criticisms.
The day turns out to be a beautiful and peaceful sunny day where young and old celebrate till late in the evening.
On this day, thousands and thousands of Anglican members both in and around the new diocese of Guadalcanal witnessed the inauguration of the diocese of Guadalcanal and installation of Right Reverend Nathan Tome as first Bishop of the diocese, at Saint Paul’s church, Lengalau Village. Straight after the service, Bishop Tome was also installed as cultural leader of the island of Guadalcanal.
Deputy Prime Minister Honorable Manasseh Maelanga along with other Government Ministers and the leader of Opposition Dr. Derrick Sikua, Archbishop David Vunagi and the Council of Bishops, General Secretary Dr. Abraham Hauriasi, Chancellor and the Vice Chancellor, clergy men and women and lay people of the church of Melanesia that includes Vanuatu and New Caledonia; Archbishop Adrian Smith of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Honiara, Representatives from the Melanesian Mission United Kingdom, Australia Board of Mission and Melanesia Trust Board New Zealand are among thousands and thousands of people who attended the great event.
The official program begun on the beautiful Saturday afternoon; the 22nd day of June with an official welcome ceremony that begun with traditional war canoe escorting the Archbishop of the Church of Melanesia the Most Reverend David Vunagi and his team from the Anglican Flag ship – MV Southern Cross. Three to four meters away from shallow water three artificial sharks joined the traditional war canoe escorting the guests on five fiber boats till they were pulled ashore by around twenty old women dressed in traditional wares chanting in their own dialect at the shallow water. As they step ashore on the black sandy beach the guests were welcomed by a group of warriors and a traditional chief of the area covered with grasses and paints all over their body holding spears, shield and axes. The archbishop’s party was then escorted by a traditional dancing group to a garlanding site and later escorted to a resting hut where they later receive refreshments – traditional kaikai in woven coconut leaves. According to the chairman of the inauguration committee, Fr. Reginald Tohutohuniu, the welcome ceremony was exactly what had been put on during the recent visit of Prince William and Kate to Tavanipupu resort at