2013 Melanesians arrive

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undefinedFriends from the four Orders of Melanesia were welcomed at the University of Chester by members of our diocese. A commissioning service and an informal supper were held. PICTURED: Bishop Peter with Brother Clarke Berge, Minister General of the Franciscan Brothers and leader of the Melanesians' 'Simply Living' mission.

Bishop Peter commissioned the Brothers of Melanesia, the Sisters of the Church, the Franciscan Brothers and the Melanesian Sisters during the service – held on Monday 22 April to mark the start of their three-week ‘Simply Living’ mission to our diocese.

The service was well attended and the eleven brothers and sisters enjoyed a warm welcome.

The Melanesians – from the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific – are staying until May 12 in our diocese, the longest of their stays during this visit to England. Chester diocese has a long-established Melanesian Link and many friendships have built up over the years.

The Melanesian team will spend time with local young people and lead them in bible teaching and Melanesian choruses.
 
The schedule for the Melanesian-led retreat at Foxhill has been slightly expanded to include a family fun day on Saturday 4 May. It won't be very quiet. The day will now include chorus teaching, drama and interactive teaching of Melanesian dancing with spears and axes!

But the rest of the retreat will go ahead as planned, from 1 to 3 May, and will be quiet and contemplative.

John Freeman, from the diocesan Simply Living mission team, said that everyone was now looking forward to a time of mutual learning, sharing and – for many who spend time with the brothers and sisters - the further building of friendships.

On Wednesday 24 April there will be a memorial service for the Seven Martyrs of Melanesia, starting 7pm at Chester Cathedral.

And on Thursday 25 April there will be an open day at the cathedral to which all are welcome. The £15 admission cost will cover lunch, refreshments and an organ recital. At various points there will be opportunities for joining in with Melanesian-style worship, for reflection and for discussions.

The brothers and sisters will then spend some time with the Companions of the Melanesian Brotherhood in our diocese before moving to Foxhill, our diocesan spiritual retreat and conference centre in Frodsham, for the retreat.

Then they will spend a week with the Sisters of Jesus Way in West Kirby, Wirral.

The farewell service will take place at Chester Cathedral on Sunday 12 May, starting at 3.30pm. Bishop Peter will preside.

Below, Barbara Molyneux, treasurer of the Companions of the Melanesian Brotherhood (Chester) with Br Mathias, Head Brother of the Melanesian Brotherhood