A NEW local church was dedicated last week at Adakoa village in east Malaita, as the SSEC community remembers the pioneers of the church that brought the gospel to the region especially the Gula’ala people.
Bethany local church was officially dedicated on Friday 23rd December 2016, with special tribute to its founding father Reverend Ariel Kofana Billy.
According to a brief history of the late Rev Billy, his younger daughter,Afu Billy, said her dad and his brothers Joash Filoa and Shadrach Amasia were the pioneers that were remembered for introducing the church in the region of east Malaita.
The trio also churned out fine church leaders such as Rev Jezreel Filoa, Rev Roy Funu, and other pastors like Adjilon Tom and Stephanus Sasa.
Rev Roy Funu flew over to the islands from Queensland in Australia to officiate the dedication ceremony and the opening of the new church building.
Speaking on the occasion, Rev.Funu talked about the importance of faith based of the theme of the ceremony ‘Celebrating God’s Planted Seeds’.
He strongly stressed that the greatest need for the younger generations now is not to let go of the legacy that their forefathers have laid before them.
Meanwhile, Ms Billy said the Bethany Church was built in memory of her late father as a reminder of the legacy that he and his brothers, cousins, and nephews have established in bringing the South Seas Evangelical Church (SSEC) to the Gula’ala people.
These are the salt-water people of Kwai and Ngongosila Islands of east Malaita.
Rev Billy spent most of his missionary days in Guadalcanal, Malaita, and Honiara.
He died on 11 November 2000 at the age of 82.
In his remarks during the occasion, chairman of the organising Committee Preston Billy said, the successful completion of the building was based on faith – with the refrain ‘Heroes of Faith’.
The community spent $500,345.00 to complete the church building.
The two-day celebrations were fun-filled and ended with an island feast.
By RONALD TOITO’ONA