The Archbishop of the Church of Melanesia Most Reverend David Vunagi officially retired yesterday after serving six years as the head of the church during a farewell service at St Barnabas Cathedral last Sunday.
Thousands of Anglicans from various parishes, schools, dioceses including government officials and Solomon Island Christian Association (SICA) representatives attended the service to give glory and honor for his service to the church.
Rev Vunagi acknowledged the Anglican Communion for having trust on his leadership and entrusted him as the Arch Bishop.
“Today I thank each and everyone and God who have been the source of power that enable me to meet the challenges in the church.
“My term is very short with full of challenges especially in the management and finance of the church but I am humble to be able to sustain institutions and sustain patrol ministries,” he said.
Rev Vunagi said, he was blessed with spirit and grace of God during his term.
He said as his term-come to an end he urges the Anglican communities to give the same support for his predecessor.
Currently the candidates for the next Arch Bishop is still to be confirmed but are expected to announce before the end of the year.
The Most Rev. David Vunagi took up the Primatial role in the Anglican Church of Melanesia in 2009. He succeeded late Emeritus Sir Ellison Pogo.
He served as the Diocesan Bishop of the Diocese of Temotu for nine years before elected to become the Primate of the Church.
Archbishop David saved the Church of Melanesia for thirty-eight years as a teacher and lecturer in Church’ institutes and as priest, Bishop and Archbishop. Only three of these thirty-eight years were spent outside the ACOM.
Since last year, Archbishop David and his wife Mary Vunagi made farewell visits to the dioceses, parishes and church institutions and religious communities.
He also thanked the bishops, priests lay members of the church for the support rendered to him during his leadership in the Anglican Church of Melanesia.
The ACOM General Secretary, Dr. Abraham Hauriasi and the Senior Bishop the Rt Rev’d Nathan Tome also thanked the retired Archbishop David for his leadership qualities and wisdom in carrying ACOM through very difficult and challenging times.
Moderator of the United Church in Solomon Islands also acknowledged the retired Archbishop for the relationship of the ACOM and the UCSI.
The Senior Bishop of the Church, the Right Reverend Nathan Tome, Bishop of the Diocese of Guadalcanal will be a caretaker spiritual father till the election and enthronement of a next Archbishop next year 2016.
The election of the next Archbishop will be on February 12 while the enthronement is scheduled for April 17, 2016.
Joining the remarkable service to mark Archbishop David’s formal retirement are the nine Bishops from the nine dioceses that made up the ACOM, Moderator of the United church in Solomon Islands, representatives from the Melanesian Trust Board New Zealand and other overseas’ guests and church members within the Dioceses of Central Melanesia.
By CHARLES KADAMANA