Imagine a Country where…
- There are over 800 languages among 7.3 million people.
- 80% of the population live in remote rural areas without electricity, shops, roads or access to markets.
- A third of the population are illiterate, particularly women, and most families struggle to pay for the most basic education for the children.
- Few have paid jobs and over 75% rely on subsistence farming and a non-cash economy.
- HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB, sexual abuse, domestic violence and sorcery are major problems.
- The community is more important than the family or the individual.
- Over 90% of the population is Christian.
…this is Papua New Guinea.
Imagine an Anglican Church where…
- The first missionaries landed just over a century ago; the Church reached the heavily populated Highlands only 60 years ago, and some areas have not yet been explored.
- In 2015, just over 30 years after becoming an independent Province in the Anglican Communion, there is a wholly indigenous priesthood, three religious orders, and PNG missionaries working overseas.
- There are over 140 parishes with hundreds of outstations and chapels mostly in remote mountain, coastal or island areas.
- The Anglican ministry: preaching, teaching and healing provides the only education and health services to most of these communities.
- Weather, terrain, distance and cost are formidable obstacles to meetings, training and communication.
- Mobile phone and internet coverage is very limited and unreliable
…the Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea (ACPNG) is such a church.
Imagine a Parish where…
- The priest and a team of local catechists support an active network of outstations and chapels up to several days’ walk/paddle away.
- Church councillors are called upon to conduct funerals, provide pastoral care and well as to maintain church buildings.
- Many people worship daily in the church/chapel that is the heart of their community – after dark this is often by fire- or candle-light.
- Community loyalty is paramount and all come together to grieve or celebrate
- In a non-cash economy it is difficult to buy wine or candles and support the priest or diocese.
- A bishop ‘on patrol’ may be faced with confirming hundreds of well-prepared, enthusiastic candidates.
- Christian belief and local culture join to provide a joyous liturgy that is rich in song, dance and drumming.
…most ACPNG parishes are like this.
Imagine being a Priest where…
- You have no stipend and are reliant on your ‘garden’ and congregation for support.
- The weekly church collection may be in produce that does not help provide your paraffin, clothes or school fees.
- Your day may start in the dark at 4am to celebrate communion in an outlying parish.
- You may feel very isolated, having not met up with other brother priests or received further training since your ordination.
- Your wife has a vital ministry with women, bible teaching, reading, making clothes, family welfare as well as caring for her own family, fetching water and learning to live in an entirely different culture.
- Your family expect to move every three years to an area where the language and culture are different from your own
…most ACPNG priests have this calling.
Imagine a Theological College where…
- There is a constant challenge to ensure good leadership and able staff in such a young Church and country.
- There are four lecturers and 20 students undergoing a four year residential training.
- Every afternoon the student and their family work in their food-garden or on maintenance of grounds and buildings
- The curriculum includes basic bookkeeping, administration, community development & HIV/AIDS to prepare the priest for his isolated life-long calling.
- Wives have a special programme, including bible study, literacy and sewing, to equip them in their leadership role with women.
…this is Newton Theological College.
Finally, imagine the Potential where…
- This least-developed Nation has been challenged to move from the Stone Age into the Space Age since its 1975 Independence.
- People have this primary commitment to the well-being of their community and readily share the few things they have.
- The Anglican Church has this long-term commitment to work for the long-term benefit of all people in so many PNG communities.
- Your prayers, help and support can make such a direct and lasting difference.
…this is the growth and change you can help happen, where so little can go a long way and be of lasting worth.