Letter from our chair and our Christmas Newsletter –
Greetings to you all at the end of this extraordinary year. The PNGCP committee has spent the year zooming instead of having our regular meetings at the Anglican Communion Office in London, which itself has been closed. I’m very grateful for their individual contributions, not least that of Simon Courage in setting up our virtual Supporters’ Day. Meanwhile, as always, John Rea has been busy producing yet another excellent newsletter, which I trust you’ll find informative and encouraging as we seek to walk with our partners in PNG.
There are plenty of ups and down to share. The saddest news has been the death of former archbishop, Allan Migi, who only recently resigned due to ill health. We have sent our good wishes to Mother Mary and their children in Gasmata, West New Britain. ACPNG will need all our prayerful support as a new archbishop and bishop for NGI Diocese are elected.
According to the World Health Organisation, as I write this on 1st December, there have been 656 cases of Covid19 in PNG resulting in 7 deaths. No, I haven’t missed off some noughts! In the circumstances of the global pandemic and our own experience in UK, that is wonderful news. But it doesn’t mean that PNG has a fully functioning and adequate health service. There are many major problems just under the surface of PNG society, as the article from Heni Meke, National Director of Anglicare, shows.
There are also positive stories to share concerning development of coffee business to help local communities in the highlands of Aipo Rongo, support from the GFS in Popondota and Port Moresby dioceses and the gradual but solid improvements at Newton College.
Our supporters are scattered across the UK but it would be right to say that a particularly strong contribution comes from Norwich Diocese, thanks to their link of over 50 years. Bishop of Lynn, Jonathan Meyrick, has been their representative on PNGCP in recent years, and has been joined at our committee meetings by Ann Whittet, his secretary, who has been our efficient and cheerful minute taker. As he retires we thank them for their past contribution and future involvement and look forward to the next phase of the PNG/Norwich Link.
Speaking of supporters, I was very sad to hear of the death of Sybil Bennett from St John’s Eltham. Over the years she wrote regularly to us in PNG, hosted us when home on leave and encouraged others to support PNGCP. My thanks for her and to all the other “Sybils” out there who support our work by prayer, donations and the sharing of interest in the Anglican Church of PNG. Thank you for everything you do. May you have a blessed, peaceful and healthy Christmas, confident of God’s presence with us at all times and seasons.
Bishop Peter Ramsden