BY GEORGINA KEKEA
THE Diocesan Bishop of Guadalcanal, Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACOM) yesterday celebrated Sunday Eucharist with congregation of St John the Baptist in Koli.
Koli, a village in the Guadalcanal plains, was host to hundreds of parish members from as far as Lunga to Metapono. The visit by Bishop Nathan Tome is his first for this year to Ghaobata parish, one of the large parishes in Guadalcanal with 24 churches.
Ghaobata parish covers the eastern side of Lunga river to the eastern end of the Metapono river and is divided into four zones. Each zone has its own groupings and often congregate together on such occasions.
Meanwhile speaking to Island Sun, Chairman of Ghaobata Parish Committee, Clarence Loe says they are pleased to have the Diocesan Bishop visit their parish, the first official one for 2018.
Mr Loe says Ghaobata parish covers a big portion of the Diocese of Guadalcanal and this visit means a lot to them.
“The highlight of the day is the confirmation of approximately 99 children that were brought before the Diocesan Bishop to be confirmed.”
The confirmed children came as far as Lunga and all of them spent the night at Koli before their first Eucharist yesterday.
Confirmation is a sacrament practiced by ACOM that marks the point in the Christian journey of a person to affirm his/her faith. To confirm means to strengthen or deepen one’s relationship with God.
At the same time, Loe revealed some of the plans that Ghaobata parish wishes to carry out this year.
He said one of them is for the existing churches in the Ghaobata Parish to have rest houses so that they can be able to house ministry groups that often have community programmes and tours to their individual churches.
“This includes priests, mother’s union groups, so that when they come to our communities, already they have a place to stay.”
Another plan for the committee is to organise more programmes for youths so as to minimise criminal activities in the communities. Loe says empowering youths by involving them in youth oriented activities will reduce influence from outside activities like use of illicit drugs and alcohol.
Currently Ghaobata parish has a high number of youths and children. Work on finding the actual population is still ongoing and the committee hopes to have this information available as soon as possible for future planning.
Despite operating without an administrative office, dedication and commitment by the members to attend to meetings in their various communities had helped them to achieve some of their goals.
“For transport logistics, we normally give two weeks’ notice and during the two weeks that’s when we organize transport for our members. We usually arrange pickups with the Companions of the Melanesian Brotherhood that owns a truck,” Loe said.
He then encouraged unity amongst vestry committees in the Ghaobata parish and called on them to work in harmony with members of their community.
Loe said only by working together in unity will they be able to move Ghaobata parish forward.