Friends across the world

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undefinedA group from the Diocese of Chester recently returned from a visit to our Christian brothers and sisters on the other side of the world, in the Solomon Islands, east of New Guinea.

The diocese has had a long-standing link with the Anglican Province of Melanesia. Bishop Willie Pwasiho, originally from the Solomon Islands and now the Vicar of Gawsworth, Mike Gilbertson, the Archdeacon of Chester, and his wife Jenny were part of a larger group from across the UK.

Highlights on the visit included attending the enthronement of the new Archbishop of Melanesia, George Takeli, in the cathedral in Honiara. The party brought greetings to Archbishop George from the Archbishop of Canterbury and from the Diocese of Chester. The visit included some days at Tabalia, the headquarters of the Melanesian Brotherhood, one of the religious orders in the region, during which the moving annual commemoration was held for seven of the brothers who were martyred in 2003 while mediating in an inter-communal dispute.

Mike and Jenny Gilbertson visited St Francis’s Primary School on the island of Guadalcanal, which has a partnership with the church schools at Frodsham and Warmingham. It was a great joy to be able to hand over many letters and pictures from the children here in the diocese to their counterparts on the other side of the world.

Speaking on his return from the visit, Archdeacon Mike said: ‘It was a tremendous privilege to visit our brothers and sisters in Melanesia. The church there is very much alive and growing.

Although it is a long way away in a very different culture, it is very clear that we serve the same Lord. It was great to be able to emphasize the links between our diocese and the church there, including with schools, the Mothers’ Union, and the religious orders. We are keen to see how these links can be further developed in the future.’