As many in the Diocese will be aware, we have a strong link with the Anglican Province of Papua New Guinea (PNG) going back to 1946 when the Revd David Hand went there as a missionary. In 1950 he became the youngest bishop in the Anglican Communion at the age of 32. He became the first Archbishop of PNG after taking it out of the Province of Queensland, Australia, in 1977. He grew up in the parish of Tatterford, Norfolk where his father was vicar and where he was educated at Gresham’s School, Holt. He died in Port Moresby, PNG, in 2006 but is buried in the grounds of Popondetta Cathedral, PNG, just a few miles from Newton Theological College (NTC), where the biennial Partners’ Meeting took place from 30 August to 1 September this year; I was privileged to represent Norwich Diocese at the meeting.
The Partners’ Meeting had representatives from the Anglican churches in Australia, New Zealand, and the UK, including the Anglican Primate of Australia, Archbishop Geoffrey Smith, the Bishop of Waiapu, Andrew Hedges, Bishop Jonathan Meyrick, former Bishop of Lynn and now Chair of the Papua New Guinea Church Partnership (PNGCP) and Bishop Peter Ramsden, former Bishop of Port Moresby, PNG. The Bishop of New Guinea Islands, Reginald Makele, and the Bishop of Popondetta, Lindsley Ihove, were also present, along with the host for the event, NTC principal and former Archbishop of Adelaide, Jeffrey Driver. The Bishop of Aipo Rongo, Nathan Ingen, was unable to join us as his wife, Jessicah, is recovering from injuries sustained in a recent road accident.
NTC principal, Archbishop Jeffrey Driver also gave a detailed presentation on ambitious plans to expand educational provision on the site to include nurse and teacher training that would transform the college into an institute of higher education. I presented on the work of the Norwich-PNG Link Group, the visits to and from PNG it has organised and the last six Diocesan Lent Appeals that have raised tens of thousands of pounds for the province.
We were also privileged to attend a eucharistic service on the site of the martyrdom of two of the PNG Anglican Martyrs, Sister May Hayman and Miss Mavis Parkinson, on the anniversary of their deaths, 2nd September, as well as the moving and spectacular Martyrs’ Day service at Martyrs’ School.
These photographs show: bishops Jonathan and Lindsley at the martyrdom site; students at Martyrs’ School for the Martyrs’ Day service; and a traditional PNG welcome.
The Lent Appeal for 2024 will focus on a project in Papua New Guinea. If you would like the Revd Phil Charlesworth or one of the team to speak or attend a lent lunch or event you can contact him here.