The Archbishop of the Church of Melanesia the Most Reverend David Vunagi made a historic visit to Nagolau village in East Bugotu district, Isabel, on ‘good Shepard Sunday’.
The visit was to preside over the ordination ceremony of Philip Milton Hathavu.
He was joined by two other priests from the dioceses of Central Melanesia, east Bugotu village priest including church members, choirs, youths, mothers union, sisters and brotherhood from around Bugotu district and All Saints Parish.
On their arrival on Saturday afternoon at the village, Vunagi thanked Nagolau community for taking the bold step in hosting the ordination at their village as it’s a sign of working together and taking ownership of their church and village activities.
“It is a joy to visit your village and hosting such occasion in Honiara costs a lot of money for the church, so I would like to congratulate and thanked the Nagolau community and Bugotu district to see this as an important and historic event for you to host this ordination with the limited resources that you have,” he told the people.
The archbishop led a simple but emotional ordination ceremony in St Peter’s chapel.
A villager Roemary Kolitahi said the message was timely for the community where he based it on the characteristics of the good shepherd the Lord Jesus Christ as an example for the church to follow.
“The characteristics of the good shepherd are love, joy, peace, patient, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
“The leaders of the church in the Old Testament showed the leadership of good Shepard. In the New Testament, Jesus is our Good Shepherd,” Vunagi said.
He warned the church, saying that the work of a shepherd is not easy.
“We have learned from the past in the good book that the Israelites even complained, full of gossip, and had their own differences with each other during the leadership of Moses.
“Even Moses himself was filled with stress and frustration. But do not give up good Shepard needs to remain vigilant, alert, willing and accept the hardship of leading the church.”
The archbishop encouraged the Bugotu district and All Saint Paris to work together with the newly ordained priest Fr. Philip Milton Hathavu.
“Do the work of the church not for money but for the good of the people we serve. Learn to help each other.
“Our work is to unite people and not to divide.
“Learn to delegate activities to the church choir, Youth group, Mother’s union, Companions, so that all must do the right thing to uphold the duties that the church has upon us.”
Fr. Milton is currently serving his second term at the All Saint Paris, in Honiara.
A father of five, Fr. Milton and family travelled from Honiara to their village to attend the ordination ceremony last Sunday.
Nagolau community was very supportive of their son, brother; nephew, uncle and grandfather’s calling for God’s work.
– By Ender Fafoi Rence