The United Church celebrated another centennial establishment commemorating the arrival of the gospel on the island of Nusa Roviana in the Western province.
The commemoration was also to remember the person who finally made the step to bringing the Christian faith to the people of Nusa Roviana, James Pitu.
Travelling to the island of Nusa Roviana you may never notice the rich history that was born out from this small island in the Roviana lagoon, and the significant role it played in the history of the western Solomon Islands.
The Christian faith was brought to the western Solomons in 1902 just a few kilometres away from Nusa Roviana, and though the surrounding islands slowly adopted the new faith together with island communities further away such as Choiseul and Marovo, Nusa Roviana kept hold of hidden practises for another 12 years before accepting the gospel in 1914.
The resistance of the people of Nusa Roviana towards the new faith makes this story one of true revelation, and though many people and communities in the history of Solomon Islands have displayed such resistance, few can claim to be its regions birth place of headhunting and home to the darkest spiritual god of its time the ‘Tiola’ and having the title as the most ferocious cannibals in the pacific region.
The adoption of the gospel was finally possible through a chiefly prince named James Pitu, whose journey into the Christian faith began at a Roman Catholic mission school and later at a Methodist mission.
On the 16th of July 1914 was James Pitu was called back to his home island began his work to bring the Christian faith to his people under fierce opposition, but was finally able to establish the Methodist united church of Nusa Roviana.
Being the home ground of such rich history of cannibalism and dark spiritual practises is what makes the centennial celebration of the united church at Nusa Roviana one of true joy.
Though many islands had adopted the new faith into their communities, it was the conversion of the people of this small island that truly sent the message out to its remaining supporters that the new Christian faith was good, and as a result truly marked the beginning of a new era.
The joy in the centenary celebrations during the weekend was clear to see as invited guests and church heads were invited and escorted by the very Melanesian greeting party of warriors who lead the guest through the hundreds of visiting congregations.
The day of celebration finally began with the dedication of the newly built church.
Speaking to Solomon star the Assistant church Minister for Nusa Roviana Rev. Prima Adovo said that the joy and satisfaction felt by herself and her congregation was could not be expressed.
The preparation of the program was a true struggle and continued through two residing church ministers Rev. Samuel Sokeni and Rev. Stanley Lamupio before actually taking place two years after the actual centenary year of 2014.
But still in the centennial spirit they are glad they continued with the commemoration of the churches establishment.
The family of James Pitu was aslo given a special place in the celebration and also in the hearts of the people of Roviana who showed their gratitude to the Pitu descendants as display of respect and gratefulness for the work their grandfather had done.
Among the descendants attending the centennial service was Ms. Sarah Pio the elderly daughter of James Pitu who led the march of descendants into the church to hand over a candle as a symbol of the gospels light being brought to the island.
Attending the celebrations the Moderator of the United Church Rev. Wilfred Kurepitu congratulated the people of Nusa Roviana saying the time of celebration is not an issue and that it is the maturity of the gospel that we celebrate.
Such a moment comes only once in a while and the moderator said seeing the church centennial being embraced by the people gives him joy.
Moderator Rev. Kurepitu says that the highest and darkest spiritual god is at home in Nusa Roviana and says in its time that spirit was used as a sence of direction in almost every aspect of living. He encouraged the people of Roviana as they embrace the gospel to convert and transform the directional spirit of the Tiola into the aspects of Christ teaching and channel it to a new spirit of Christian faith.
In his sermon the moderator spoke of the embracing of the gospel within and shared that with the invitation of the light the darkness must leave.
The day ended with songs and dances of joy and celebration late into the night by one and all you flocked to witness the beautiful day.
Nusa Roviana continues to be a stronghold of evangelical worship and is actively spreads the good news to its people of Roviana.