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Melanesian Messenger Online distributed by the
Church of the Province of Melanesia
Bishop Vunagi on farewell visit to the islands
April 15, 2009

[Melanesian Messenger - Melanesia] The Rt Rev’d David Vunagi will be performing his final Episcopal duties as Bishop of the Diocese of Temotu in a weeks time before taking up his new role as Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia next month.

Bishop Vunagi who is currently the Archbishop-elect will on April 26, hand over his liturgical responsibilty to his successor to be elected later this year, through an act of laying down of the Bishops Pastoral Staff on the Altar of the Diocesan Cathedral at Lata during his final Eucharist service.

Prior to that he will be paying his farewell visits to the islands in all three regions of the Diocese starting on Friday 17 to 24 April.

In Vattu region he will be holding worship services with farewell programmes by the communities at the main centers on Duff Islands, Anuta, Tikopia, Vanikoro and Utupua.

He then moves on to Pele region where the farewell gatherings will be held at Balipa’a, Nyilla and Fenualoa districts.

The Bishop will be using this opportunity to thank his people and acknowledge the support they devotedly rendered to his pastoral, administrative and liturgical ministry as their Shepherd in the last eight years.

The Bishop in his time has set his priorities in building up the Diocese in particular its spiritual growth, human resource development in both religious and academic education and as well as strengthening Investment initiatives of the Diocese.

Temotu covered a huge area with scattered islands making its dangerous and treacherous waters one of the main challenges in ministering to the Anglican members which now stands at around 30 thousand people.

Bishop Vunagi from Ysabel was the third in succession since the Diocese was inaugurated in March 1981.

The first Bishop was Amos Waiaru of Santa Ana in the Makira Ulawa province who later became Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia followed by Bishop Lazarus Munamua of Tikopia as the second bishop.

The Archbishop-elect will be accompanied on the tour by his wife Mary, representatives of the Religious Orders and clergy and lay members of the Diocesan Administration Office on the Church flagship Southern Cross.

He heads to Honiara at the end of April for his preparatory retreat in Australia next month before his enthronement at the St. Barnabas Provincial Cathedral in Honiara on Pentecost Sunday May 31, 2009.

He was chosen on March 5, 2009 as fifth Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia for the three Independent Pacific Island countries of Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia.

He will also become the Bishop of the Diocese of Central Melanesia.