The Listening Process

Reports from the Provinces - Church of the Province of Papua New Guinea.

Papua New Guinea is an independent state where traditions are strong. There are many languages spoken leading to a diversity of indigenous cultures. All communities are centred on family ties and emphasis is placed on caring for families.

However, the influence of modernity has had a significant effect on life in Papua New Guinea.

The pressing issue for the nation and the province is violence towards women. This is particularly acute in the urban centres where traditional values are breaking down and because of the increasing use of alcohol and recreational drugs. The Church is aware that the status of women needs to be uplifted and that the Church needs to work ecumenically, with non-government organisations and the government. The Anglican Church represents 3.2% of the population.

The Province of Papua New Guinea has a unique covenant with the Roman Catholic Church with whome it issued in 2006 a joint statement on family life.

The Anglican Church in Papua New Guinea is an influential body, even if it is  a small minority church, and is the leading agency for the support of those with HIV/AIDS. Anglicare Stop AIDS offers medical support, counselling, and education as well as the distribution of condoms. The program is assisted in the Anglican Health Service.

In traditional society homosexuality is seen as being wrong and homosexual people might be looked down upon, barred and stigmatised.

The strong sense of community has allowed for single men to be included in the community and there are a small minority of men who never marry. Such people are greatly valued in the community as those who will be ready to assist with families in tasks such as planting and harvesting. They are incorporated into the life of the community.

The Anglican Church has not found a culturally sensitive way in which to talk of homosexuality in the Province. However, the strong family ties and a commitment to communities have enabled good pastoral responses in some situations.

The Province of Papua New Guinea endorses Resolution 1.10 of the Lambeth Conference including the call to listen to the experience of homosexual persons.