Sister Frances from the Community of the Sisters of the Church, reports that they have received news of the Sisters in the Solomon Islands. All of them are safe so far and they have been very busy caring for their fellow Solomon Islanders. Sister Judith phoned from Australia on Wednesday 7 June after telecommunications were re-established, and spoke to one of the Sisters at Patteson House in Honiara. Sister Judith phoned a second time today, 8 June, and she was told that the situation is becoming very serious in the area surrounding Patteson House, the Sisters' Community House. Many shots are being fired from the gun boats. Because of this the local people are fleeing from their villages, and they are moving onto Tetete ni Kolivuti (Hill of Prayer) near Patterson House so they can be protected by the Sisters.
There are four Anglican Communities in the Solomon Islands. The Franciscan Brothers, the Melanesian Brothers, the Melanesian Sisters and the Sisters of the Church. It was to these Anglican Orders that the Governor General came to seek advice as to the situation of the local people in the midst of the political troubles. As Governor General he found he could not find help from politicians, or the police, who are divided through their village loyalties, so he approached the religious communities. They went to Government House in Honiara and talked with him. They are, in fact, providing a body guard of Sisters and Brothers for the Governor General.
One reason why the members of these Orders were able to talk advisedly of >the situation of the people was because they are accepted by everyone and so they are able to move freely through lines on either side in the confrontation. Sister Frances reported that because of their activity there was some possibility of danger for them so Sister Lilian in Honiara was advised by Archbishop Ellison that they should stay away from the barricades. Sister Lilian, though, is not someone who would usually place concern about her own personal safety ahead of her concern for the people. The Sisters have been able to ferry some Malaita people to the port so that they could catch boats which would take them to safety on Malaita island.
Sister Frances said that many of the leaders of the Religious Communities believed that it is imperative that peace keeping forces should be sent to the Solomon islands to assist with the situation there.
Archbishop Harry Goodhew phoned the Community in Glebe today seeking information concerning the safety of the Solomon Islands Sisters, and assuring them of the prayerful concern of the people of the Diocese of Sydney.
Article from: Anglican Media Sydney