Arrival of Christianity on Ulawa, important in overall history of ACOM

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BY BARNABAS MANEBONA

THE significance of Ulawa Island’s Anglican Church history is noted towards its contributions to the life and work of the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACOM) in the past and to today.

It is an important story in the overall history of the movement, establishment, and growth of ACOM according to the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACOM), the Right Reverend George Takeli last week at Ulawa, Mwadoa, joining the celebration remembering Ulawa’s pioneer missionaries, Fr. Clement Marau and Walter Waaro.

Clement Marau was the youngest son of Chief Qoqoe from Merelav Island in the Vanuatu Group.

He was taken by Bishop Patterson to New Zealand to train for Christian work in year 1869 at the age of 12.

Clement Marau was later moved to Norfolk in 1875 being a man of great faith in God, and whose life and work stood out as a leader and father to all Melanesian students. He was confirmed and baptised in the same year and made Deacon by Bishop John Richardson Selwyn in 1890 and Priested by Bishop Cecil Wilson in 1903.

Walter Waaro met Clement Marau at Norfolk Island School and was so affected by his life, character and leadership that he asked Fr Codrington to have Clement accompany him to do mission work on Ulawa Island in which Fr Codrington agreed.

Mwadoa Community doing a drama of Clement Marau and Walter Waaro’s church history on Ulawa Island last week. PHOTO BY MANEBONA BARNABAS.

They made their first visit to Ulawa in 1877 and established the first Christian School running it for three months before returning to Norfolk Island.

Marau returned to Ulawa in 1878 and continued with the Christian work. He faced challenges for three years because of heathen beliefs and customs. He was able to advance the Christian work on Ulawa from 1881, became Priest of Ulawa from 1903, and supervised the building of a chapel which still stands to this day.

Seen in the life of Clement Marau are faith, leadership and work that helped him bring love, joy, unity and peace to establish the church in communities around Ulawa Island.

The 140th Anniversary of Christianity on Ulawa Island had taken place for three days at Mwadoa, starting on Wednesday and closing on Friday.

Within the program witnessed the official unveiling of the statues of Clement Marau and Walter Waaro at Mwadoa.

A visit was also followed by the Official Guests to Su’utaluhia to witness the remains of Clement Marau’s retirement house and stone Alter.

Dramas including of Clement Marau and Walter Waaro’s were being played during the night program of day two while on the last day of the celebration saw the proceeding to bless the cross on the seaside rock where Clement Marau and Walter Waaro spent for three years because of heathen beliefs.

This included proceeding on to blessing the graves of Clement Marau, Susan Marau (his wife) and Walter Waaro, closing the anniversary with a grand feast.

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