Anglican Church
of Papua New Guinea
Diocese of Port Moresby

Bishop's News (May 2000)

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The Diocese has now started up its clergy inservice programme. Because most of the clergy live within the city it is easy for them go gather once a week. This they do on Mondays with the day being divided up into two sections.

Session One: Bible study on following Sunday's Gospel with sermon preparation.
Session Two: General discussion on pastoral issues of importance. Teaching on set topics.
Lunch break
Afternoon Session:     Inservice topic.

The inservice training is aimed at achieving two main goals. The first is to help the clery to work together on growing in their spiritual, personal and professional lives. By doing this as a group, their sense of identity as clergy is strengthened and they are encouraged to look to each other for support. The second is that much of the material used in the inservice is presented in such a way that they clergy can take it out and present it to their own lay groups in their parishes. By helping them to develop skills in drawing up courses and in teaching, the clergy inservice programme serves as a broader training programme at the same time.

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At the recent Diocesan Synod a number of important decisions were made that have significantly changed the nature and pastoral direction of the Diocese. In the twelve months leading up to Synod, Anglicans throughout Port Moresby engaged in discussions and planning sessions to help prepare the areas to be covered at Synod. One of the important factors in making the synod a success was the decision to spend most of the meeting in committees. These were actually small groups which were formed with representatives of each of our parishes and Church organizations. It was decided that Synod should not be restricted only to those who were for formally elected representatives. All Anglicans were invited to come along and take part in all Synod activities, with the exception of voting. This gave it a depth and richness that is apparent in their final decisions. The membership of the groups basically stayed the same throughout the four days of Synod. They covered the set topics as well as provided additional areas which were thought important enough to pursue further, either at Synod or as part of an agenda for the later Diocesan Council. Each group provided detailed minutes of their discussion which were put onto butcher paper and verbally presented to the full committee.



(in small groups)

Our Vision: The Church:

What is it?
What is our role in Port Moresby?
What is our mission statment?
How will we fulfil this vision?

Th Church: Working on our vision statement with reporting back to the full Synod



Missionary ministry in the remote and rural areas:

Religious Orders and their role in the Mission of the Docese.

Introducing Mission to the City.

The needs of the city of Port Moresby:

In settlements.
In its institutions (schools, gaols, hospitals, university, etc)
Special pastoral and social needs (Domestic violence, AIDS, literacy, family life, child health and child care, maternal welfare, marriage guidance, family planning, unemployment, drugs, alcohol, gambling, law and order)



The present situation - strengthes and weaknesses.
The clergy.
Lay ministries.
Developing new ministries (the permanent deacon).

Parish Councils - role and responsibilities.
Working on pastorally helpful parish boundaries.
Parish responsibilities and roles.

Our Diocese: Finances.
Our future


Proposals for the celebration of the new Millennium.
Solemn Sung Eucharist.

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Throughout 1999 the canons committee met to complete a revision of the existing canons. These were to be rewritten into a form that was more easily read and understood by Anglicans throughout the Diocese and were to be expanded to cover a wider range of topics and areas. To the canons were added a wide range of Bishop's Guidelines to further help the local church communities run smoothly and to order their parocial life. Up until the point, the Diocese has had no such comprehensive canons and guidelines. In time these will be available on the Diocesan Web Site. One of the decisions of Synod was to set up a permanent Canons review committee which would continue to work on updating and revising the Canons and Guidelines to meet the needs of a rapidly changing Church and society.

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One of the important acts of the Synod was to approve a set of Canons and Bishop's Guidelines for the Diocese and to come up with a Vision Statement. This is something that had been worked on for over a year and has undergone a number of important revisions, leading to the approval of the final text reproduced below. This is how the Church sees itself and its mission in Port Moresby and will hopefully provide some guidelines and framework for our planning and activities.

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The Church in the Diocese of Port Moresby is:

God's community of Love coming together in Christ,
which is made up of a number of small communities
gathered around its Bishop;
it is a part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church,
which is called to proclaim the Good News of salvation to all peoples.

Living and believing the teachings of Christ,
it is to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world and
in this mission every baptized member of the Christian family has a special
role to play.

Led by the Holy Spirit
and empowered by Jesus Christ in His Word and through His sacraments,
the Church seeks to be open to being used by God
for the building up of His Kingdom,
by proclaiming the Gospel faithfully
and by making it fruitful and lively,
meeting the needs of the people around it.

This sacred mission is not new
but takes its origins back to Christ himself.
It seeks to be ever faithful to the Apostolic Traditions in which it continues
and to build on the work of its faithful ancestors in Papua New Guinea
as well as of those within the wider Anglican Community.
All that the Church does must be directed towards the fulfilling of this
mission and it must seek to constantly renew itself,
in order to ensure that each new generation of believers
hears clearly the Gospel call proclaimed in ways that it can understand
and to which it is willing and able to respond.

It is a missionary community,
open to the call of God to reach outside of itself and its own communities
and beyond its own Anglican faithful,
to take up the work of the Gospel throughout the world.

It is a praying community building its mission and identity
on a life of appropriate liturgical worship of God,
of thanksgiving, confession, intercession, praise and contemplation.

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One of the concerns of synod was that in the past many of the decisions that had been passed never made it into actual programmes. This meant that the same problems were addressed synod after synod. The committees in their discussions came to see that this inaction was a result of too much of the responsibity for action being put onto the Bishop and the Diocesan Council. If it was true that in the new pastoral vision, every baptized Anglican was seen as beign responsible for carrying out the mission of the Church, opportunities had to be developed which would give them a chance to become more involved. Hence the formation of the committees.

These were set up under the direction of two main committees: The Port Moresby Board of Mission and the Pastoral Committee. The first would be responsible for developing and overseeing the areas of: evangelism, institutions (chaplaincies in the hospitals, gaols and other institutions in the city) teaching, ministry and mission outreach (ministry in the settlements as well as in the rural areas) The Pastoral Committee would oversee and develop ministry in Family Life (parenting skills, domestic violence, marriage counselling, health,gambling, family planning;), AIDS, Drugs and Alcohol. When these committees were formed (with representatives from each parish) the Diocesan Council quickly discovered that we had many Anglicans already trained and working in these areas and so the developing of our own programmes has progressed rapidly.

The big advantage of having the committees is that it means that many more Anglicans are involved in the work of the Church. It also means that action will be more likely to take place because the groups will be working in small areas in which they have expertise. Previously the initiative had to come from the Diocesan Council. We hope and pray that these will continue to grow and to work effectively.

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Fr Denny Bray, the Archdeacon for Port Moresby will be going down to Melbourne, Australia for three months of work experience. He will be the guest of four different parishes in Melbourne, who are sharing the cost of his travel and a small allowance while he is away. The purpose behind the trip is for Fr Denny to experience Church in a different setting to the one he has lived in all of life. The four places he will be visiting are all very different and hopefully will offer Denny new challenges in theology and pastoral care. It is not expected that he will be bringing back ideas that he can put into operation in his parish of Gerehu here in Moresby, but he will be encouraged to think about why things are done the way they are, and what pastoral needs give rise to what pastoral responses. By working with four different clergy, in four different pastoral settings, he will have a wonderful opportunity to expand his ecclesial horizons and appreciate that there are many ways of being authentically Anglican. It is hoped that we will be able to find other parishes willing to offer a similar programme to priests not just in this Diocese but throughout the Province. If we were to dream even futher than that, it is the kind of thing that our lay leadership could also share in as well.

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One of the major problems facing the Diocese is its lack of unity. We live in a small geographical space yet communications between one parish and another and between groups within the Diocese is very poor. Over the years there has been built up a whole range of animosities, suspicions and fears that have really come about because of the lack of effective and warm relationships. This has also become a worrying problem within parishes themselves. This lack of unity is one of the main reasons we struggle to grow and have failed to respond to so many of the pressing needs facing the community.

To help with this problem, the Diocese has launched a "Pentecost 2000" programme. It is a series of family and small community bible studies on the theme of reconciliation (a copy of the full programme is available on this web site). It is hoped to be able to put a copy of the study booklet into the hands of every Anglican in the city, those who come to Church as well as those who have, for whatever reason, wandered away from their faith communities.

The studies begin with the individual and their need to be reconciled with God and with others. It moves on to family reconciliation, a time for reflecting on and praying about the wrongs that hurt and divide family life. At this point there is a small service of reconciliation that can be celebrated within the family home.

An important part of reconciliation in the traditional village is the gift. This is usually one or more pigs with other gifts thrown in as well. These are important signs of the genuine nature of the reconciliation and help bind the two groups together in a new relationship. We are applying this same thinking to our parish reconciliation. During the six weeks from Easter to Pentecost, each family will collect odds and ends of money each week and put it aside until the Sunday of the Ascension. They will then bring this money to the parish Eucharist and join it with the offerings from the other families in the parish as a sign of reconciliation. The Sunday Mass will be especially drawn up so that the opening penitential part has opportunities for acting out what is happening spiritually.

Then, on Pentecost Sunday, each parish brings along its reconcilaition offering to the Diocesan Eucharist. This will be the only Mass in the city on that day and it is hoped to have a huge congregation. Like the Mass for the Ascension, this Day will see many different liturgical acts and dramas, proclaiming the gift of healing that comes to us with the death and resurrection of Jesus. By celebrating together, we pray that we can allow God to heal us, to take away all that divides us and to strengthen us as the Body of his Son Jesus Christ.

An important part of the study programme will be developing an understanding of just what it means to be a disciple. Being a Christian brings with it all kinds of demands and expectations and it is these that the Diocese will have to take up, look at carefully and decide how, when and where to put them into action. Having made personal and family commitments, these will then be presented as offerings on Pentecost Day.

The day will then conclude with feasting, sports, dancing and dramas to round off the spiritual celebrations. It is an important time in the life of the Diocese and one which will lay the foundation for our future life and ministry in the city.

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The Mothers' Union is a Church organization that has never adapted from its English Church background to the life and culture of Melanesia. Over its fifty years in Papua New Guinea it has become more of a women's club than a movement for pastoral ministry. While it is committed to working to strengthen and support family life it in fact spends most of its time on itself, conducting meetings, prayer sessions and workshops, and less and less time on counselling and support. This is very noticeable in a city like Port Moresby where the social problems scream out for attention each and every day.

A major part of the pastoral renewal of the Diocese is the renewal of the Mothers' Union (MU). Up until recent times, a small group of women has run the MU in the city and there has been little opportunity for new faces to come into the leadership and little chance of change taking place. Many branches have never had representation on the executive and so no say in what happens. A consequence of this kind of neglect has been the steady decline in the MU.

Plans are now under way to have the MU executive composed of the presidents of each parish branch. That way there are more effective channels of communication, more and more women can have a say in what is happening and there are increased opportunities for new faces to take on leadership roles. At the moment, the Diocese is becoming involved in many new pastoral opportunities, especially in areas like AIDS, drugs and alcohol, domestic violence, women's health, child care and more. All of these should be areas of concern for the MU but currently they are not involved in any programmes linked to these social needs. It is hoped that the MU renewal programme will enable the mothers to turn this around and to lauch themselves into the action.

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Synod stressed the need for the Diocese to be more missionary if it was to be true to its calling. To help achieve this goal the Port Moresby Board of Mission was set up. Among its many roles is the locating of special projects that can be brought to the attention of Anglicans in the city. Two that have come up are (a) a roof for the Goldie River chapel and (b) a new chapel for the prison.

The Goldie River community is a small group of Anglicans in a settlement outside of Port Moresby. The settlement is predominantly Seventh Day Adventist who are aggressive in their faith and placing a great deal of pressure on the Anglicans to abandon Anglicanism and join the Adventists. So far a small number has been very strong and are resisting the pressures. Their chapel has fallen down and they are in the process of building a new one at the cost of K1,000 (that is about $Aust700). They are going to provide the timber and nails but have come to the Diocese for assistance with the roof. Of course the Diocese is much more than the Bishop and the office but is the collection of all of the parishes and all of the Anglicans and so the request is passed on to them. We are all short of money for our own projects but it is a sign of our spiritual maturity when we can still reach out to those whose need is greater than our own.

Similarly with the Prison Chapel. The prisoners do not have their own chapel and now meet in one of the small canteens. Clearly they have no money of their own so the call is out to all Anglicans to make some donation towards the building of a new ecumenical chapel for the prison. Again the costs are not high (approx.$Aust2000) but the benefits and blessings to the prisoners are enormous. It is something all Anglicans should be concerned about. Most churches and chapels in the Diocese are in need of money for maintenance, but that should not stop us from reaching out to others in need.

Being able to give and support these two projects will be a sign of our growing maturity as a Church and show that we are really moving forward into being more missionary.

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Easter services celebrated throughout the Diocese had higher levels of attendance than previous years. All parishes report that many people had returned to the communities in the weeks leading up to Easter and for the services themselves. This is particularly encouraging with the Pentecost 2000 programme ready for launching in a few days time.

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Created 1 May, 2000
Updated 5 Jun, 2000
©2000 - 2012 Anglican Bishop of Port Moresby