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Melanesian Messenger Online distributed by the
Church of the Province of Melanesia
November 10, 2008

[Melanesian Messenger - Melanesia] The 12th General General Synod of the Church of Melanesia held at St Nicholas High School in Honiara, Solomon Islands on the second day of the meeting agreed on 8 Bills seeking amendments to the Constitution of the Church.

Three of these were part of the seven drafts Bills agreed to at the 11th General Synod at Airahu in Malaita in 2005 seeking endorsement from all eight Dioceses of the Province through their Diocesan Synods before it can be adopted at the current Synod. Four of those Bills were not approved at the Diocesan level.

Following its passage the Bills have now become part of Constitution.

• The Church of the Province of Melanesia commonly called the Church of Melanesia will now be called the Anglican Church of Melanesia. It is the desire of the Church to make it more obvious that Church of Melanesia is part of the world-wide Anglican Communion through this name change.

• An additional representative of the Religious Communities working in the Province to be a member of the General Synod. Previously representation of the Religious Orders is limited to one person only. There are four Religious Orders, two for men and two for women, all having slightly different Rules of Life, mission and needs.

• Establishment of two separate Board of Trustees to hold property, funds and endowment in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu as they are two independent sovereign nations.

• To make changes to the composition of the membership of the Board and Executive Committee of the Christian Care Centre.

• Inclusion of a representative of the Mothers Union on the Church’s Disaster Relief Committee.

• Changes to the Holy Order to redress stipends and or allowances of village priests and non stipendiary priest as there have been instances of village priests transferring to become parish or district priests which has previously contravenes the Constitution.

• Creation of a new Commission on Justice, Reconciliation and Peace to advise the Church of Melanesia on such matters. The purpose of the Commission is to advise the Church, particularly the General Synod, the Executive Council, the Council of Bishops and the Melanesian Board of Mission on issues pertaining to justice, reconciliation and peace which may fragment of divide the Church and communities. The events of the past decade in Solomon Islands suggest that the Church’s voice on matters of justice, reconciliation and peace should be clearly presented.

• Inclusion of the Mission Secretary as a member of the Commission on Liturgy, Worship and Doctrine