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Archbishop Pogo receiving his award from the President of Vanuatu Sir Kalkot Matas Kelekele
Photo: COM Media
Photo No. : P081031-6
Click for enlarged photo

Sir Ellison Pogo with the Badge of Honour
Photo: COM Media
Photo No. : P081031-7
Click for enlarged photo

October 31, 2008

[Melanesian Messenger - Melanesia] Archbishop of the Church of Melanesia the Most Rt. Rev. Sir Ellison Pogo was last night bestowed with the Republic of Vanuatus highest and most distinguished award; the Badge of Honour.

Sir Ellison was among the very few people to be awarded Vanuatuís most prestigious award in the form of a silver medallion as Member of the Order of Vanuatu.

President of the Republic of Vanuatu His Excellency Sir Kalkot Matas Kelekele performed the investiture at a ceremony coinciding with the official farewell for the Archbishop put on by the Anglican community of Port Vila at Tagabe Resurrection Church.

The award was in recognition for Sir Ellisonís eminent achievement of a highest degree in service to the Christian church and to the people of Melanesia in Vanuatu as Archbishop of the Church of Melanesia.

Prime Minister of Vanuatu Edward Natapei and the Deputy Prime Minister Ham Lini and government dignitaries, Church leaders, ecumenical partners as well as Anglican members witnessed last nights ceremony.

In presenting the award His Excellency Matas Kelekele congratulated Sir Ellison for the worthy achievement especially for the important role he played in uniting the three Melanesian countries; Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and New Caledonia through his Episcopal and pastoral role as head of the Church in the last 14 years.

He thanked the Church of Melanesia for contributing to the spiritual growth and social development of the Republic of Vanuatu that is enjoyed not only by members of the Anglican Church but other churches in the Republic as well.

Prime Minister Edward Natapei also shared the commendation saying Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and New Caledonia have long shared a common ecclesiastical relationship through its missionary pioneers and founding fathers when they evangelized these Melanesian islands. The role Archbishop Pogo plays is a fulfillment of that vision the Prime Minister said.

Archbishop Pogo thanked the government and people of Vanuatu for the distinguished medal of honour saying he is receiving it on behalf of the people of the three countries who ably and faithfully served and supported the work of the Church spiritually and physically.

He said the Melanesian countries must continue to work together to uphold the unity of the government, the church and the traditional norms. To build a strong, powerful, faithful and united nation of Solomon Islands, New Caledonia and Vanuatu, these three important pillars he said must be maintained and strengthened.

Last nights investiture was held in conjunction with the finale of the Archbishops week-long visit to Vanuatu marking his farewell tours to the dioceses of the Church of Melanesia before his retirement later this year.

In the last few days he visited the Diocese of Banks and Torres, the Diocese of Vanuatu, the Church of Melanesia Provincial Office in Luganville on Santo and the Talua Presbyterian Bible College where he and his wife Lady Roselyn Pogo were officially farewelled.

The Archbishop yesterday morning also paid courtesy calls to the Republics President His Excellency Sir Kalkot Matas Kelekele and the Prime Minister Edward Natapei.

He returns to Solomon Islands this morning and leaves for Fiji on Sunday to preside for the last time at the Suva-based Pacific Theological College (PTC) graduation ceremony next week.

The PTC will bid him farewell and at the same time awarded him the most distinguished Honorary Doctorate of Divinity in recognition for his role as Chairman of the PTC Board of Governors for the last 14 consecutive years.

Two weeks ago on October 17, he became the first person in the whole Pacific basin including Australia and New Zealand to receive the Cross of Saint Augustine, one of the highest honours in the Anglican Communion that is awarded only by the Archbishop of Canterbury for conspicuous and distinguished service he rendered to the Church.

Sir Ellison was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in October 2000 for service to religion as Archbishop of the Church of Melanesia and to the community.
He was since early 2006 became a senior Primate of the Anglican Communion.
He serves on the International Anglican Liturgical Commission and was appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury to be Chairman of the Design Group of the Lambeth Conference 2008; a position he held for several years and was called upon constantly during the last Lambeth Conference.

Sir Ellison during his tenure as a leader in the Church has also served in various Boards and Councils within the Church, government, and private sector institutions in Solomon Islands.

He is due to retire on December 9 after having served as Bishop of the Church of Melanesia for the last 27 years. Of this he served the last 14 years as Archbishop.

The Church of Melanesia in Solomon Islands will hold a liturgical farewell for him at St Barnabas Provincial Cathedral in Honiara on December 7, 2008.