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Destination: Papua New Guinea

The last year seems to have disappeared in a whirlwind. It began with four and a half months of training and orientation in Melbourne, followed by four months deputation in the Wellington and Waiapu Dioceses as well as some very special times with family. I’m feeling grateful to all the staff at St Andrew's Hall in Melbourne, for all their advice and wisdom about adjusting to a new climate and a new culture.

On arrival in Papua New Guinea I was warmly welcomed to Begabari or 'place of peace' and then on to my apartment where I began the process of unpacking. I’m pleased to report that for me even though there is a security presence everywhere, Port Moresby hasn’t lived up to its negative reputation. Everyone here is, however saying bikpela sun (‘it is HOT!!’), although some nights we do get down to a cool 26 degrees.

Each morning I’m up around 5am ready to walk down to the Diocesan compound for 6am Morning Prayers and a Communion Service in the Chapel of the Good Shepherd. My packed breakfast is then shared over a cup of coffee before moving across to the office to check emails and news ready for the day ahead. The working day ends with Evening Prayer and a ride home.

References to foot washing in the Bible have taken on a whole new under-standing since being here. Arriving home one afternoon on what had been a particularly hot day, there seemed to be dust everywhere. My desire was that my feet not carry dirt and grime around the house so I decided to wash them in the basin… It was one of the most refreshing things I have experienced.

Each of my first four Sundays has been different: On one, we arrived to find that the University Chapel was ‘shut up’ as the teaching year had finished. Within no time at all the area under the chaplain’s house had been converted to a chapel and the students and lecturers gathered for their final time of worship before heading home to their villages or to the Solomon Islands. The Archbishop reminded the students to stand firm in their faith.

On another Sunday St John’s Cathedral had some special visitors. Miss South Pacific contestants were present as part of their week of preparation for the pageant to be held the following weekend. The Archbishop encouraged these ladies to reflect the image of God. These ladies described themselves as ambassadors and advocates for the women and children of PNG.

St Martin's on my third Sunday saw the church filled with parishioners from all over Port Moresby as they came together for a combined Service where Bishop Denny ordained a new priest. Processions were led by dancers from Oro Province in traditional dress.

Last Sunday there was lively worship at Holy Family Church, Hohola. The unaccompanied singing was certainly not to be missed!