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Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea
Bishop-elect Peter Ramsden
PNGCP/Chris Luxton
Photo No. : P061214-1
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PNG Church Elects Former Missionary As Bishop Of Port Moresby
 
PNG 061214-1
December 14, 2006

[PNG - Papua New Guinea] [Papua New Guinea Church Partnership] At a 5th December meeting of the House of Bishops and Bishop Appointment Committee, the Revd Peter Ramsden, currently Vicar of St. Bartholomew, Long Benton in Newcastle Diocese, Commissary of the Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea (ACPNG) was elected Bishop of Port Moresby, succeeding his namesake, Bishop Peter Fox, who returned to UK in July. The consecration date has been set for 25th March, 2007.

Asked how he felt on hearing the news of his election (by telephone in the middle of the night - PNG is ten hours ahead of GMT), Fr. Peter said: "It's very humbling to be asked back to PNG and to be entrusted with a ministry of unity in the Church."

Bishop Paul Richardson, Assistant Bishop of Newcastle writes: "Fr Peter has a wealth of experience in both rural and urban parishes in PNG, he has a strong commitment to ecumenism, a great love of the country and the people, and won a great deal of respect and affection during the ten years he served in the Diocese of Aipo Rongo. In Newcastle he has taken a lead in developing the companion link between this diocese and Botswana and been responsible for a large, well attended parish. He spent five years on General Synod. He will be ably supported by his wife, Sue."

Originally from Cheshire and educated at Birkenhead School, the bishop elect read Geography at University College London and trained for the priesthood at the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield. He married fellow geographer Sue in 1977 and served two curacies in Durham Diocese.

Finding themselves called to serve the Church in the developing world, in 1983 Peter and Sue left UK for Papua New Guinea, where their first three years were spent in the Western Highland's Jimi Valley running a remote mission station at Koinambe. In 1987 they moved to Lae, PNG's second city and major port, where Fr Peter was Rector of All Souls' Church. During three years there they extended the new church building, renovated the old building as a school, and started the first ecumenical Mission to Seafarers Centre in PNG.

2/1-2 years in UK followed while Fr Peter gained his Master's Degree in Theology at Leeds University. During that time, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, made his first overseas visit - to PNG for the Anglican Centenary in 1991, and it was widely reported in the media that Fr. Peter had been called to Lambeth Palace to give the new Primate lessons in Pidgin! On 27th February, 2007, the Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea achieves thirty years as an independent Province in the Anglican Communion.

In 1993, at the request of then diocesan bishop, Paul Richardson, Peter and Sue returned to the country, for a further three years. Fr Peter was to be Rector of (and like St. Francis himself charged with rebuilding) the Church of St Francis, Goroka. Sue became Editor of "Family," the Anglican Church's magazine. Their two sons, Nicholas and Stephen, who were both born in PNG, attended primary school there. Nicholas is now at Oxford University reading Modern History, while Stephen is at Royal Holloway, University of London, reading Media Arts.

Whilst in Goroka, Fr. Peter acted as ecumenical officer for the Province, and prepared a first draft of the ground-breaking Anglican-Roman Catholic Covenant, which was eventually signed in July 2003 by Anglican Primate James Ayong and Bishop John Ribat, the Catholic Bishop delegate for ecumenical affairs.

At a joint PNGCP/Norwich Diocese Day Conference in 1996, Fr. Peter told supporters in Norwich Cathedral not to listen to those in the Church who speak of "The Winter of Ecumenism." "In PNG," he said, "it is permanent Spring!"

PNGCP's Chairman Charles Drace-Francis, a former British High Commissioner in Port Moresby, said: "We are very glad to hear of this news. Peter has given so much to PNG and although we shall be sad to lose his valuable experience on our Committee, we wish him all the best in Moresby."

Primate James Ayong, expressing pleasure at the election of the former Vicar General of his own diocese, Aipo Rongo, added, "Fr. Peter and Sue will need prayers from around the world."

For background notes for editors, pictures and enquiries:

Chris Luxton, Papua New Guinea Church Partnership
Tel. 020 7937 5794. E-mail: pngcpluxton@aol.com.
Web page: http://hometown.aol.co.uk/pngcpluxton/Prayers.htm

and:

Charles Dalton, Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea
Tel. 00675 4724111. E-mail: acpnggensec@global.net.pg