The team members of the Melanesian Mission in the United Kingdom, His Excellency the British High Commissioner, Sisters, Brothers, ladies and gentlemen.
On behalf of the chairperson of the village committee and our community members, I take this wonderful opportunity to welcome you to our community. We understand that your visit to us has something to do with livelihood and lives drastically and adversely affected by climate change.
Many years ago the Melanesian Mission ships use to visit us. It was during one of these trips that they stayed here for six months to load sand to build houses purposely for the services of Christ. Today these sand beaches have disappeared due to adverse effects of climate change.
Brother Charles Elliot Fox wrote in his book, and I quote, “Bishop Patteson first visited Mala in 1856 but found few people on the shore.”
However the Fanalei community was one of the very few communities living in these low-lying coastal areas in Port Adam well before the missionaries came.
In the early years of the Anglican Mission in Melanesia, the Fanalei community had been working together with the Melanesian Mission in spreading the development of the church. The individuals from this community who had participated in spreading the Gospel includes John Oili who became a brave teacher, Joe Leo who was ordained Deacon in 1924, Elizabeth Siakula and Alice Alide whom in 1884 both married to missionaries and were also involved in converting heathen people to became Christians during those dangerous days.
Your visit today is a very important one to us and we really appreciate it with thankful hearts because our community is very keen to work closely with the Melanesian Mission in working towards addressing livelihoods and lives drastically affected by climate change.
We are also thankful for your visit today so that you can see for yourselves that our community is also affected by the climate change. The venue we have used here today to welcome you was once the site of our church building. In 2011 our community completed a permanent church building without any help from outside. Much of this from our own fundraising and a tiny income we got from sea resources. This type of income is also drastically affected by climate change. Perhaps it is worth mentioning here, that other organisations have also visited us in the past for the same reason and have done the same activities you will be doing during your short stay with us. We have not heard anymore from them since they left us! Despite of this, your visit today is very valuable and meaningful to us, because it reaffirms our long-time friendship with the Melanesian Mission since 1849.
In this context may I ask this mission team from Melanesian Mission in the United Kingdom to convey our greetings to his Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, your Christian friends and relatives in England.
We hope your short stay with us here will be worthwhile. Team members of the Melanesian Mission in the United Kingdom, his Excellency the British High Commissioner, Sisters, Brothers, ladies and gentlemen, we trust that your short visit to us will be useful and we thank you for giving your busy time to us.
Thank you in Christ’s service.
Presenter: Joseph Leo