BY BARNABAS MANEBONA
ULAWA people were reminded during the 140th Anniversary of Clement Marau that its reflection must help make the past present, alive and meaningful for today.
This is in order to shape the new communities wanted build for Ulawa in the future said the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia (ACOM), the Right Reverend George Takeli.
ACOM’s Archbishop explained during the opening of last week’s three day celebration remembering Ulawa’s pioneer missionaries (Clement Marau and Walter Waaro) bringing Christianity to their island that the greatest gift Fr Clement Marau brought to Ulawa is the Christian faith that help establish God’s love, unity and peace within their communities.
He said through reflection, they must learn from how the early pioneer missionaries made contact and developed the Christian faith and mission work to establish the church to bring love, unity and peace in the island’s villages.
“And learning from their work, we can develop knowledge and insights with which carry out the same work to build the church and the communities of today,” said ACOM’s Archbishop.
Generation family member of Clement Marau and currently the Member of Parliament for Ulawa-Ugi Hon William Marau during the opening also added on the essence behind the very importance as to why they keep celebrating the event.
“It is very important that we need to reflect on our lives and get the message out of how Clement Marau and Walter Waaro’s were. This includes better understanding on what we need to do in our own lives too,” said Hon Marau.
“As we know, what Clement Marau did was not for his own good but for ours. That is a very important message we must always remember.
“This 140th Anniversary is not by only celebrating it every year as an occasion but it is important to get the message out of it too. This is why we have to celebrate it. Remember the fruit that was planted on the island.”
This year Honourable Marau saw the need and importance to put more effort in remembering Clement Marau and Walter Waaro for the blessing they brought on Ulawa Island which is why two statues were set up in their honour at Mwadoa Village.
He said the statues were to remind them of respect and honour.
More efforts included also were improving their remains such as the cross on the seaside stone where they spent for three years after being told by the heathens on Ulawa to not go further ashore from that boundary, including Clement Marau’s stone alter and retirement house as well.
“By maintaining their remains will give the future generations the opportunity to witness them as well,” said Hon Marau.
Being significant in the church history of Ulawa Island, the Chairman of the Organising committee for the 140th Anniversary Mr Duddley Marau expressed his humble gratitude towards everyones presence witnessing the three days program starting on Wednesday and concluding Friday.
Clement Marau was the youngest son of Chief Qoqoe from Merelav Island in the Vanuatu Group. He was at Norfolk Mission School from 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 at Norfolk.
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.
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.