When you give up trying to get back to sleep at 3.30am, you really can fit a lot into one day!
Before the sun was up our group was at All Saints for Morning Prayer. Shame it was the priests day off. Instead Bishop Willie led us as we sat in our small circle with the church dog in the middle. I was told he is the most faithful dog in Honiara.
Next stop the Hot Bread Kitchen to buy our breakfast and then the Central Market to buy provisions for dinner this evening. The group has promised to teach me how to prepare the Rainbo (with no ‘w’) fish we bought, skills I lacked woefully when I came to the Solomons in 2011.
At PHQ it was good to see more familiar faces and get the finer detail into the programme. Even with the Archbishop’s enthronement only days away, we were given all the assistance we needed with our programmes. Looking at the draft programme for the enthronement, I noticed I am reading the Lesson, which is a privilege but also very daunting.
Here are all the readings for the service on Sunday:
The Lesson – Isaiah 6: 1-13
The Epistle – Ephesians 2:11-22
The Gospel – John 10: 7-18
Final appointment of the day was with British High Commissioner Chris Trott. Chris began his posting in the region in January and I am delighted that he will be joining us on the Southern Cross to see first-hand the effects of climate change. We will be going to places on Malaita which Alex Leger has filmed in the past, when they were thriving villages and communities. We are told that we will now find them abandoned due to rising sea levels and battering storms. You can watch Alex’s previous Melanesian films on his YouTube Channel, Topsham TV.
On Easter Sunday just before Bishop Willie left to travel to the Solomons, he was filmed by BBC North West about his visit to see these displaced people. I am hoping that on our return, the BBC, regionally and nationally, will air what we have found and filmed.
Many villages and communities across Melanesia are struggling to cope with severe weather conditions. Recently ACoM held a workshop for the relocation of other communities across the Solomons Islands including Ontong Java. Fr Nigel from Ontong Java will also be joining us on the Southern Cross. Fr Nigel attended the Environment Conference in Paris last year, to plead on behalf of the Pacific.
Thanks to supporters in the UK we are also able to take along a group of Brothers and Sisters on the Southern Cross, including some of the 2013 Simply Living team. Br Hilton SSF, Head Melanesian Sister Collin and Melanesian Brothers Br Albert (now Regional Head Brother for the Solomon Islands) and Br Jack will be on-board for the journey around Malaita.
Well I think that is just about it for today. Off to learn how to prepare a fish.
Revd Cate Edmonds – Exeter Diocese
What an interesting start to our time here in this amazing country, peopled with such friendly faces. It has been wonderful to meet again members from the religious communities who came over on the Simply Living Mission in 2013, it was like meeting up with old friends. After a morning orientating ourselves and shopping in the local market, a huge fish for £8 and those piles of veg. displaying the range of God’s creation, we rested before traveling to the British High Commission. What a view of the area lay before us. Clear views of neighbouring islands where we will venture later but also some interesting conversation with the Commissioner about crime. Amazing that since the amnesty in 2006 on guns there have only been 15 gun related incidents, a thought!
Returning from the High Commission we were just in time for the daily communion service. The church of All Saints was fairly full. Wow we thought but then realised that there were to be 5 baptisms, so wonderful. No font in sight just a huge clam shell so at the end of the service out came the camera – ideas for prayer spaces abounded. What an interesting first day of activities we can’t wait for the next.
PS Katie never got to fillet the fish it was done for us!