The 10th General Synod of the Church of Melanesia was held in Honiara. The meeting of the governing body of the Church of Melanesia was held from 20 October - 31 October 2002.
The General Synod of the Church is the supreme governing body of the Church of Melanesia and the final authority in matters of spiritual discipline in the Church.
At the meeting were more than 75 people including representatives from the Church's dioceses, institutions and organizations.
Those who attended the meeting came from throughout Solomon Islands, Vanuatu with officials also coming from New Zealand.
The Pre-Synod Retreat Conductor and the preacher at the Opening Service for the Synod was Most Revd Ian George, Archbishop of Adelaide.
The Keynote Address to the General Synod was delivered by Revd Canon John L. Peterson, the Secretary-General of the Anglican Consultative Council.
In his Address, the Secretary -General emphasized the Church of Melanesia is an important member of the Anglican Communion having very distinctive contributions to make in the family of Churches.
The Archbishop of Melanesia also delivered the Presidential Address to the General Synod. See article on the Presidential Address.
The Church of Melanesia covers eight dioceses, six of whom are in Solomon Islands and the other two in neighbouring Vanuatu.
The following are some of the significant decisions made at the meeting of this important body of the Church.
Destructive Development Operations
'That this General Synod expresses its deep concern with all human and environmental destructive development operations in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, e.g. logging in Ysabel Diocese, and supports strict controls on all such activities.'
Stewardship of Natural Resources
'That this General Synod notes with great concern the increasing violence in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu as a result of land disputes.
'This General Synod therefore urges all members of the Church of Melanesia to exercise good stewardship in the sharing of natural resources which are God's gifts to humanity and to learn to live together peacefully as people of God.'
Environment of Honiara City
'That it is the mind of this 10th General Synod, meeting in Honiara City, is concerned at the dirty state of the city and calls upon all responsible authorities to take all necessary steps to address the problem and recommends that all dioceses consider establishing appropriate education programmes on this subject.'
'That the mind of this 10th General Synod that, in response to the Anglican Consultative Council's Report on HIV/AIDS, the dioceses throughout the Province of Melanesia make, as a priority, education and information programmes on HIV/AIDS to alert and protect their respective communities.'
Mission Statement of the Church
'That it is the mind of the General Synod that
Ethnic Tension in Solomon Islands
'That this General Synod
Ordination of Women
'A "Draft Law" to change the Constitution to allow women to be ordained as Deacons, Priests and Bishops was passed without dissent. This does NOT mean that the Church can now go ahead: the change to the Constitution must first be approved by every Diocesan Synod and this be reported back to the next General before the Constitution can be changed.'
Establishment of Diocesan Boundaries Review Commission
'That this General Synod agrees to the appointment of a Diocesan Boundaries Review Commission for the next three years; the Commission will review all current diocesan boundaries in the Church of Melanesia and make recommendations for changes in diocesan boundaries to the Executive Council for endorsement to the Constitutional Review Committee to prepare an appropriate Bill on diocesan boundaries for the next General Synod; the Commission will consist of two diocesan bishops appointed by the Council of Bishops and three representatives elected by this General Synod, at least one of whom must be a lay person.'
Worship with the United Church of SI
'...Notwithstanding that at this time the Church of Melanesia is not able to enter into full communion with the United Church of Solomon Islands, nonetheless for pastoral reasons and to provide worship opportunities, whenever Anglicans find there is no Church of Melanesia priest or opportunities for public Anglican worship available in their district, they may worship in the United church (including partaking in Communion under Title A Canon 2 Clause F), and may conduct Church of Melanesia services in United Church buildings by mutual arrangement and similarly, when members of the United Church of Solomon Islands find there is no minister or opportunities for public worship of their own Church available in their district, they may worship in the Church of Melanesia (including partaking in Communion under Title A Canon 2 Clause E), and may conduct United Church services in Church of Melanesia buildings by mutual arrangement.'
Revised Order for Baptism and the Revised Second Order for Holy Eucharist
'That this General Synod -
The above do not represent a succinct summary of the decisions made at the General Synod. Other changes apart from election of members to the Church's various institutions were made at the General Synod. The decisions outlined above were those that may be of interest to the public at large.
NEW LEGAL ADVISORS APPOINTED
The Church of Melanesia now has a new Chancellor. He is The Honourable Justice Anthony P. Randerson, a Judge of the High Court of New Zealand.
The Chancellor is the chief legal advisor to the Archbishop of Melanesia and upon approval of the Archbishop can advise the Bishops also.
The Chancellor also has specific functions required of him under the Constitution and Canons of the Church.
The Honourable Justice Anthony Randerson replaces The Honourable Robert Smellie, a retired Judge of the High Court of New Zealand.
The Honourable Smellie, however, will continue as the Vice-Chancellor of the Church for some time yet.
The Honourable Smellie has more or less held the position of Chancellor or Vice Chancellor since the Church became a Province within the Anglican Communion in 1975.
The Church also has a third legal advisor and he is Mr. Arthur Faerua, a lecturer in Law at the University of the South Pacific.
His appointment is as Vice-Chancellor for Vanuatu and his function will be to advise the Diocesan Bishops of the Dioceses in the Republic of Vanuatu.
The Archbishop of Melanesia, Most Revd Sir E Pogo, announced the appointments at the start of the Opening Service for the General Synod.