Anglican students of the Church of Melanesia at the University of the South Pacific in Laucala, Fiji commemorated the day of their first missionary John Pattison Coleridge last Saturday.
To commemorate the day the students lead the main service followed with feasting and entertainments at Holy Trinity cathedral.
Conducted by Father James Fakafu the service begins with a traditional procession led by Solomon Islands and Vanuatu dancers.
It was a touching procession as congregations reflected back to the sacrifices and the mission of Bishop Patteson bravery to establish the church of Melanesia in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.
He was born in London in 1827 and consecrated Bishop of the Melanesia in 1861 and died in September 20, 1871 at Niukapu in Temotu province.
He became a martyr Bishop when he was murdered at Nukupau, an atoll in the Reef Islands in Santa Cruz.
He was killed because he was mistaken for a labour recruiter masquerading as a missionary. All though his death was a disaster for
the Mission, it helped focus the attention of the British Government on providing a form of administration in the islands, which become
Western Pacific High Commission.
Delivering the message on the life of Bishop Patteson was Fr Stephen Kapu.
He said Bishop Patteson is a martyr who has sacrificed his life to spread the gospel of Christ in Melanesia.
He said spreading the gospel of Christ is a risky mission but that how Jesus sacrifices his life for us.
The service was concluded with three happy cheers, feasting and entertainments.
The first group highlighting the day was Isabel student association followed by the marching band from Malaita diocese, Vanuatu and Central province.
The student also remembered the seven Melanesia Brotherhood who died during the unrest and many who have sacrificed their life serving the church.
By Charles Kadamana
In Suva, FIJI