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Melanesian Messenger Online distributed by the
Church of the Province of Melanesia
New Provincial Cathedral Dean Installed
December 10, 2007

[Melanesian Messenger - Melanesia] The Revd Canon Sam Ata was inducted last Sunday as the Dean of the Provincial Cathedral of the Church of Melanesia in Honiara.

Fr Sam Ata, 52, was appointed by the Cathedral Chapter in November this year to replace the Rt Revd Alfred Karibongi, who is now the Bishop of the Diocese of Hanuato'o.

Following his induction, he said he was looking forward to his new ministry, especially in developing and strengthening people's spiritual lives and giving more support to priests in the Church.

The Dean said he was happy to take up the post despite the many challenges attached to it as its one of the most senior posts within the Church.

Fr Ata has been a priest since 1987, having completed his theological studies at Bishop Patteson Theological College at Kohimarama in Solomon Islands. In 1990 he attended St John's College in Auckland, New Zealand, where he graduated with a Bachelor in Theology majoring in Biblical Studies with sub-majors in Pastoral Theology and Church History.

From 1997 to 1998 he did his Master's degree in theology at the Pacific Theological College in Suva, Fiji. A year later he became the principal of Bishop Patteson Theological College. He left that position in 2002 to attend Melbourne College of Divinity in Australia, where completed his doctorate last year.

In between his various study programmes, Fr Ata was appointed to several positions within the Church institutions. From 1988 to 1989 he was Rector of St Albans Parish in Honiara, and from 1994 to 1996 held the position of deputy principal at Bishop Patteson Theological College, where he also lectured in Liturgics, Pastoral Care and New Testament Studies.

Prior to taking up his new post, Fr Ata served for a short time with the Church Provincial Office in Honiara as Peace and Reconciliation Officer.

Fr Ata is from Kwara'ae in Malaita and is married to Doreen Tuti. They have three children.