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Archbishop david Vunagi officiating at the dedication and blessing of the cross and altar
ACOM Media/Rolland Gito
Photo No. : P091207-2
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The huge cross at the point before reaching the station
ACOM Media/Rolland Gito
Photo No. : P091207-3
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Archbishop and party greeted on arrival by children of Charles Elliot Fox School
ACOM Media/Rolland Gito
Photo No. : P091207-4
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Tour of the slipway
ACOM Media/Rolland Gito
Photo No. : P091207-5
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Fox Memorial Cross dedicated
December 7, 2009

[Melanesian Messenger - Melanesia] Hundreds of people gathered at Taroaniara Anglican Mission Station on Gela over the weekend to give thanks for the life and work of one of its pioneer missionaries The Rev. Dr. Charles Elliot Fox.

The event was marked with prayer, singing, feasting and dancing with the highlight being the dedication and blessing of a huge cross and altar in memory of Dr. Fox at a place called Lions Point a few hundred metres away from the station.

Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia, The Most Rev. David Vunagi was the events guest of honour who also presided in the dedication and blessing and the thanksgiving Eucharist service.

Retired Bishop Dr. Terry Brown, Vicar General of the Diocese of Central Solomons the Rev Derek Vagi, clergy, a representative from the New Zealand High Commission Office in Honiara Rini Herming and Church workers from the Honiara Provincial office and their families took a weekend break to join the workers of Taroaniara and their families and the surrounding communities of Gela in the outdoor blessing service early on Sunday morning 6 June 2009.

The 15 feet concrete cross replaces the old and original wooden cross set up by Dr. Charles Fox himself when he was a chaplain of Taroaniara in the early establishment of the station.

To the community of Taroaniara, the cross historically holds a special spiritual significance to them. When Taroaniara was established as a Mission Station in the 1930ís, people believed there are ghosts within the vicinity of Lions point that haunts and disturbed their community.

And so to fend-off fear they live with all those times Dr. Fox set up a wooden cross at the visible from all directions and from a far away distance. He did so to symbolize the presence of Christ in that area and to teach them that Christ is everywhere they go. He believed this will also help to strengthen their faith that protects them against evil they thought to have been living in that area.

Over the years the wooden cross has deteriorated and finally crumbled when the community of Taroaniara decided to erect a new one with an altar.
This is to keep the historical importance of the cross as well as to help people reflect and learn from a model missionary pioneer whose life, work and example in Melanesia is an amazing tale that has been an inspiration to so many people who today still treasure the relationship they had with him.

Dr. Charles Fox from New Zealand spent 70 of his 99 years in Melanesia as a Priest, Tasiu, Teacher, Scholar, linguist, writer, translator, sportsman and great and wonderful friend to all.

Archbishop Vunagi thanked the community of Taroaniara for the initiative and the efforts they put in to restore the cross that has a profound and insightful significance within the Anglican Church of Melanesia.

At a time when Taroaniara is revisiting an idea to restore and revitalize the original aims for which the station was created and established, not only did they need to work together but put God first in all their plans and visions, he said.

He encouraged them to maintain the good spirit that drives them to move on together as a small community of workers within the Church.

Taroaniara station currently hosts a 300 tonnage slipway, an electrical, engineering and mechanical workshop with a mini hospital, school and home to the Church flagship Southern Cross. It has about 40 workers with family members making up a small community of 200 people.