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Melanesian Messenger Online distributed by the
Church of the Province of Melanesia
October 21, 2008

[Melanesian Messenger - Melanesia] The Diocese of Vanuatu in September this year officially launched a new and first Anglican parish in the French Trust Territory of New Caledonia.

Diocesan Bishop the Rt. Rev’d James Marvin Ligo launched the new Noumea Parish and subsequently installed Fr. George Vina as its rector.

The launching and installation took place at St. Pierre Chapel; a Catholic Church in the Noumea surbub of Tina since the Diocese is yet to build its own parish chapel.

Use of St. Pierre Chapel was part of an agreement reached and sealed by Bishop Michael Calvet of the Catholic Church and Bishop Harry Tevi, the second Diocesan Bishop of Vanuatu who began the work of establishing a parish there when he first set foot and celebrated Mass in New Caledonia.

A number of visits have since been organized to get the parish launched but the French Territory’s strict immigration policies and having to overcome other administrative hurdles was a drawback to its progression.

However, the push and perseverance by the Diocese in all those years was finally accomplished on September 14 when it was officially launched.

Already a land and property valued at 49,400,000 French Francs on the Ducos suburban prime site in Noumea Harbour has been secured for the new parish development.
This will include a chapel, accommodation and office spaces.

Chief Jonathan Siro who willingly surrendered a portion of his land and property for the work of the Church has agreed for the Church of Melanesia Vanuatu Trust Board to have it legally registered on completion of its payment to be done on a four year annual installments starting in December this year.

A ground breaking ceremony to begin site construction for new buildings and renovation to existing properties will take place early next year.

Due to stringent immigration policies by the New Caledonia government, Fr. George Vina will spend up to only 15 days at a time to carry out his mission work in Noumea until such a time the government grants him long term residency.

The Diocese of Vanuatu is hoping to secure his residency permit soon by working closely with both governments of Vanuatu and New Caledonia.

Fr. Vina was trained and designated as missionary worker for the French speaking Territory of New Caledonia by Bishop Harry Tevi since he planted the first seed on Noumea.

New Caledonia has long been part of the Province of Melanesia and some of the first Melanesian missionaries are from the islands of Lifu and Mare.

With the recent launching of the parish the Diocese of Vanuatu and the Church of Melanesia has opened a new page in its growth and development and is now recorded as part of its history.
The newly launched parish of Noumea comprise of about 500 Anglican members.