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Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea
Church in Papua New Guinea Embarked on Programme of Self-Reliance
PNG 060831-1
August 31, 2006

[PNG - Papua New Guinea] The Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea is a young Church, only 28 years old as an independent Province within the Anglican Communion. It is contributing significantly to the health, education and wellbeing of many communities throughout the country, at a time of rapid change.

Led by Archbishop James Ayong, ACPNG is currently embarked on a courageous and far-sighted programme of change, designed to increase the level of self-reliance, local support and local leadership for the growing work of the Church.

In this respect, parishes are now expected to be responsible for the financial support of their priest and his family. This transition has worked well in some areas. However, with at least 80% of the PNG population reliant on subsistence farming, there is real hardship for some priests and their families in parishes still to accept this new responsibility and adopt an appropriate local income-generation strategy.

Other major priorities include: strengthening the management and financial support of the education services; capacity-building for local and Provincial leadership, mainly concerning resource-generation and project development; developing the Church's response to the rising HIV/AIDS pandemic; strengthening the leadership and operation of the Provincial theological training institutions; and a 'localisation' programme, designed to prepare and establish competent (local) National staff in the remaining teaching, administrative and leadership roles currently occupied by expatriate staff.

Throughout its history, ACPNG has made a significant contribution and commitment to the life of the remote communities it serves through its separately-managed and budgeted education and health services.

Currently, the Anglican Education Service, administered from Port Moresby, manages over 200 elementary, community and primary schools; three residential High or Secondary Schools, and two Vocational Training Centres. The Anglican Health Service, managed from Popondetta, comprises three health centres, 12 health sub-centres and 12 aid-posts, together with a considerable network of trained village health volunteers.

Through the years, ACPNG has been helped to grow and achieve much through the contribution of staff and financial support from overseas partner-Churches and mission agencies. Albeit on a reducing level, the need for some such specialist help and financial support will continue for the foreseeable future.

However, ACPNG is also making steady progress with its 'localisation' programme. Currently, only 8 of the 254 ACPNG staff are expatriate, mostly involved in teaching, development and administration, compared to 24 in 2002.

Today, the work of the Church is administered through five dioceses: Port Moresby; Aipo Rongo; Popondota; Dogura, and New Guinea Islands, each with its own Diocesan Bishop.
The Diocesan Bishop of Aipo Rongo, based in Mount Hagen, is currently also Archbishop of ACPNG. Because of the growth and spread of this busy Diocese, stretching from Lae through the Highlands to Madang, he is supported by two Regional Bishops.

ACPNG has approximately 140 priests covering 125 parishes, with many more associated out-stations and chapels, serviced by a network of trained catechists and evangelists. Some priests provide a chaplaincy service to a number of specialist ACPNG, or external, institutions and services. Some are involved in theological training at ACPNG's two residential institutions: Newton Theological College, Popondetta and Kerina Evangelists Training College at Tsendiap.