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Melanesian Messenger Online distributed by the
Church of the Province of Melanesia
Retired Bishop Blessing's Long Service Recognised
November 1, 2006

[Melanesian Messenger - Melanesia] A historical moment in the life of retired Bishop Hugh Blessing was marked a day after his retirement on 30th June 2006, as his years of service in the Anglican Church and struggle to maintain his family paid off with a pig killing ceremony.

The ceremony was a sign of appreciation from immediate family members to express their gratitude over the Bishop's endurance following a distinguished service to the cause of the church.

The retired Bishop from Maewo was bestowed with a customary chiefly titled "Taribulvanua" which simply means a leader who unites people together.

In his address Bishop Blessing acknowledged the commitment of his wife, Anna who had been a great help in all kinds of situations of their lives together.

One of the greatest challenges was in the reality of ministering to church members particularly because they are scattered all over the country, he admitted.

Despite this, the 60-year-old retired Bishop can foresee a bright future for the Anglican Church in Vanuatu.

"There may be a few going out but the church is always united and growing steadily as church members work together," he said.

The main factor that prompted his early retirement was a long illness he has had for nine and half months.

Because of the illness, he decided he needed some time off work although he has not ruled out the possibility of returning to the mission service.

The Bishop was inducted as the Bishop of the Diocese of Vanuatu on June 29, 2000 and he served for six year before his retirement on June 29 2006.

From 1977-1978, Blessing worked with the Parish Brothers in the Solomon Islands and later moved to England in 1983 to attend the Oxford University.

In 1985, Blessing joined the University of Perth where he attained Masters in Theology. From 1996-1997, he was appointed Mission Secretary of the Melanesian Board of Mission where he worked for two years before going to New Zealand where he was supposed to complete a PhD in Theology.

Due to his call for service, the Bishop came back to Vanuatu without completing his studies.

However he has not regretted that decision as he committed himself to the work of the church.