Governor General visits Kukum United Church

The Governor General Sir David Vunagi speaking to the Kukum United Church congregation
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The Governor General paid a visit to the Kukum United Church on Sunday.

Governor General Sir David Vunagi, his wife Lady Mary and their party arrived just before the morning church programme where he was greeted by Ministers Reverend Smith Chacha and his wife Yonna, Reverend Simon Ngatu, Reverend David Lampio, Pastor Melvin Uzziala and his wife Lyncia, Pastor Brian Soma and the congregation chairman Solomon Sammy.

There was much anticipation when the congregation heard of his proposed visit, and the church was fully packed with not only Kukum congregation members but also members from Gilbert Camp, their sister church.

Since it was the first Sunday of a new month, it was a Holy Communion Sunday.

Girls greeting His Excellency Right Reverend Sir David Vunagi with flowers

After welcoming the Head of State, Reverend Ngatu read from the Gospels of Mathew 5:14-16 and John 8:12.

Reverend Chacha then delivered a strong sermon, highlighting Jesus as the light of the world and encouraging the congregation to also be the light like Jesus.   

Later, Sir David spoke to the Church. His message was short and simple; he wants all the churches in the country including Kukum United Church to work together.

The Head of State meets the Kukum United Church elders

Making the appeal, he said it is his prayer for all the churches to work together.

“We seem to work in parallel lines, Catholic, SSEC, the United Church. I pray for the churches to meet somewhere so we can share our resources. We all have our own resources and we need to share them.”

The Governor General highlighted an example during the days of the Methodist founder Reverend John Francis Goldie and the Bishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia Bishop Cecil Wilson.

“Reverend Goldie was going to Lord Howe to establish the Methodist Church but he didn’t have a ship. Bishop Wilson had a ship. So, they made an agreement for Bishop Wilson to establish the Anglican Church at Lord Howe and for Reverend Goldie to establish a Church at Aola, since the area was accessible to him.

“That is working together. There was no competition, only mutual agreement.

“I appeal to you Ministers, we must work together, recognise each other’s strengths and help each other. Let us follow the example of our founding fathers.”

The Head of State also told the congregation at Kukum to support the National Government in light of the Corona Virus pandemic.

His Excellency Right Reverend Sir David Vunagi walks with the Kukum United Church Minister Reverend Smith Chacha

Then he had them laughing as he recalled his days studying in New Zealand where he was with former United Church Moderator Reverend Philemon Riti.

“Lunch was apples and pears. That is normal for white people. But you know us Solomon Islanders. Who would be satisfied with just apples and pears for lunch? So Reverend Riti would say to his wife “Okay Nancy you cook some rice.”

A heavy lunch in Solomon style soon followed after the service, where more speeches and stories were shared.

Honourable Dean Kuku who nominated Sir David in June 2019 as Governor General was present with his wife and recalled the event.

“No person from Isabel province has held the office of Governor General. We felt at the time it was fitting for a person from Isabel Province and a person of a high calibre like Sir David himself to be accorded the position.”

Sir David Vunagi’s election at the time was unopposed.

The current head of State was Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia from 2009 until his retirement in 2016.