BY BEN BILUA
THE Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACOM) will purchase a new and bigger mission ship for the church.
Speaking to the parishioners at St Luke Anglican Church, Archbishop Leonard Dawea said the church is now in the process of selling MV Southern Cross, the mission vessel that has served the church over many years.
He said the Council of Bishops in their recent meeting agreed to sell Southern Cross while work is in progress to scout and purchase a replacement.
He said the decision was made due to the changing weather pattern and climate, which rendered Southern Cross inadequate to further carry out the church’s mission of spreading the gospel.
Archbishop Dawea said MV Southern Cross has been used mostly for bishop’s missions within Solomon Islands and other ACOM countries like Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea and part of New Caledonia.
Often referred to as a “floating church”, the history of MV Southern Cross dates back to 1867, with nine Anglican ships having been named as the Southern Cross.
The early pattern was that the Southern Cross worked out of Auckland and made two trips each year to the New Hebrides and the Solomon Islands, and to Norfolk Island (1867-1920), each lasting three to four months.
The ship visited all of the Melanesian Mission stations, delivered supplies, changed personnel and collected students to take back to Auckland and then Norfolk Island to study.