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Arcbishop Michael Peers and wife Dorothy Peers ith Br. Alfred Tabo of Airahu MBH Household
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Assistant Bishop of Malaita Alfred Hou, Bishop Terry Brown and Archbishop Michael Peers
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Members of the synod
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Malaita Synod calls for balanced growth in the Diocese
 
MELANESIAN MESSENGER 080523-1
May 23, 2008

[Melanesian Messenger - Melanesia] The Diocese of Malaita this week concluded its 17th Diocesan Synod with firm commitments by members to enhance both spiritual and physical growth and development of the Diocese.

The synod held at Marapona village in the Southern Region of Malaita from 14 to 21 May 2008, was by far the largest gathering of the Diocese to date with 140 clergy and lay delegates as well as additional members in attendance as observers.

Retired Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada The Most Rt. Rev. Michael Peers was the guest of honour at the weeklong synod.

Archbishop Peers, in his keynote address told members of the synod that their presence and participation through listening, hearing and making choices is important for the life and growth of the Diocese.

"You are not only delegates but become something more important; a member. A member as St. Paul says in his first letter to the Church in Corinth is responsible to act and contribute in a manner which builds up the whole body, strives for the common good (not simply ones personal likes and dislikes), which seeks to find the path together, the common road. This is the road for the diocese and the whole Church of Melanesia."

Diocesan Bishop the Rt. Rev. Bishop Terry Brown at the synod spoke of the achievements as well as the challenges of the diocese in the Episcopal and ordained ministry, diocesan institutions, religious communities, and the future peace and reconciliation work in the diocese.

He said in the last 12 years of his Episcopal ministry the priorities of the Diocese have been on;
- Basic Christian Education/Strengthening the Local Church
- Training for ministry: Ordained and Lay
- Diocesan Programme in support of the local church
- Diocesan Administration in support of Diocesan Programme
- Increased self-support to enable true growth

He said while self support will always be a challenge for the diocese and the Church as a whole; he was delighted that in general the five priorities have been fulfilled.

At the conclusion on Wednesday this week, Bishop Terry said the future of the diocese is in God's loving hands.

"Although Malaita is a large diocese, the synod has shown a great desire to stay together, a great working together."

He said it's fascinating that it began in the week of Pentecost and ended in the week of Trinity - a movement from Holy Spirit to divine and human Relationship, shaped by the Spirit.

The Bishop also saw this year's gathering as very special and the most memorable of the last five synods he presided.

"Its large size, the contributions of its members, the good spirit of cooperation, the honesty, the organization and participation have all been very good. With good discipline, we have got through most of our agenda. I think we have also caught some glimpses of the future leadership and direction of this diocese."

He said the synods that are, like a shelf of books now has created two bookends during his time, the formation of Arekwa Region at the 1996 synod and the formation of Eastern Region at the 2008 synod which for him are two of the most memorable events.

The Synod last week and this week discussed and passed a number of Church of Melanesia and Diocesan Bills as well as Motions and Resolutions.
Among these are;
- The formation a new and sixth Region of the Diocese called the Eastern Region
- Establishment of a new Worship and Liturgies Commission
- Establishment of the Diocesan Investment Body
- Amendments to the Diocesan Canon to cater for new changes in the diocese
- New membership to various diocesan and Church of Melanesia Boards

The synod closed with a day of farewell for Bishop Terry Brown who is due to retire in August this year. Clergy representatives from all 6 regions, and diocesan institutions as well as all parishioners in the South Malaita Region participated in a very moving gift presentation and farewell ceremony.

The Synod closed on Wednesday this week.