Churches & religion Feed

The calling of Sr Dorothy MSC

Sr Dorothy Fabritze MSC with Sr Bernard Overkamp MSC whom she met in PNG
Sr Dorothy Fabritze MSC with Sr Bernard Overkamp MSC whom she met in PNG

| The Reading Eagle | Extracts

READING, USA - Bushwhacking her way through the jungles of the South Pacific was just the sort of adventure Sister Dorothy Fabritze, now 72, imagined when, as a young teen, she felt called to join the Missionary Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The international order, known as MSC, was founded in 1900 to work in the island area of Papua New Guinea.

Continue reading "The calling of Sr Dorothy MSC" »

That their names may live on

Rev James Chalmers - Tamate
Rev James Chalmers (Tamate) - his name & the names of many other heroes of PNG will be remembered forever


WABAG - Today, 8 April, is the anniversary of the untimely death of Rev James Chalmers – ‘Tamate’ – who was killed and cannibalised along with Rev Oliver Tomkins and local missionaries on Goaribari Island in Western Province 119 years ago.

When I think about their horrible deaths, the names of four friends come to mind who were all posted to serve in the Western Province at some stage of their careers in the 20th century.

Continue reading "That their names may live on" »

Coronavirus forces changes to SDA program

SDA church in Goroka

| Adventist Record | Edited

MARYLAND, USA - Preachers from other parts of the South Pacific will no longer be going to Papua New Guinea for a harvest program scheduled for May.

Church officers consulted with the PNG Union Mission about the inherent risks of the coronavirus pandemic before taking the difficult decision.

Continue reading "Coronavirus forces changes to SDA program" »

Fr Jerry Bus & the Enga

Sir Albert Kipalan (with spade) on the spot where Fr Jerry Bus settled at Kopen
Sir Albert Kipalan (with spade) on the spot where Fr Jerry Bus settled at Kopen


PORT MORESBY – In 1948, there was a sudden rush by Christian denominations to establish mission stations after the colonial Administration lifted restrictions of movement to unpacified areas of what is now Enga Province.

Prior to that there had already been rivalry between Lutheran and Catholic missionaries to win new converts around Mt Hagen.

Continue reading "Fr Jerry Bus & the Enga" »

Providing the water of life

The Aruamu people drill a new well (Tim Wint)
The Aruamu people drill a new well (Tim Wint)

| Baptist Standard

PLANO, TEXAS - For years, Marsha Realya-Miles had prayed for 36 remote villages in Papua New Guinea. She lived in them and ministered among them.

She and her husband created the first written language for many of the Aruamu people. They translated the first New Testament in that language in 2005.

Soon, the first complete Bible in the Aruamu’s language will be published.

They knew people in these isolated places thirsted for the Living Water that is Jesus Christ, as well as clean drinking water that wouldn’t make the children sick and cut their own lives short.

The couple first arrived in 1986 as Pioneer Bible translators. The field was fertile spiritually, and people responded. Churches were started—and even a Bible college. The gospel took root and is flourishing.

Physical water proved more challenging. Realya-Miles tried every avenue she could find.

Local drillers couldn’t get their equipment in. Some non-profit organisations could drill the well but weren’t working in the area. Others could teach churches how to drill a well.

Then she learned about Texas Baptist Men.

“We were the only people who could do both drill wells and teach churches how to do it,” said DeeDee Wint, vice president of TBM water ministry.

“We couldn’t get it out of our minds. We felt God impressed it upon on hearts. We had to do it. We don’t decline projects just because it’s hard.”

For Wint and her husband, Tim, it didn’t matter that it took three days to get from Texas to the Papua New Guinea villages. Or that it took three days to gather supplies or another day crossing World War II-era bridges to get where they needed to be. Or even the notion of sleeping in open bamboo huts with little electricity and no running water.

All that mattered was the need and God’s call to meet it.

Still, with the rainy season nearing, it seemed all the effort to drill a well in late November would be for naught. When the rains begin, transportation in or out of the villages is impossible.

After two weeks of hard work, it came down to one day. If they were successful, the first village would have clean water. If not, the entire effort would have to wait another year.

“People doubted that it could be done but they had underestimated God’s people. We were amazed at the Aruamu people’s capacity to learn, their physical strength, their faith in God and their positive attitude.

“They didn’t see obstacles. When something went wrong, they just figured out how to fix it—no complaining, no doubts,” DeeDee Wint said.

“At one point, we thought the borehole had caved in on the bit 40 feet down. If this happens, you cannot only lose the borehole; you will likely lose the bit and drill pipe. Replacements are in Utah.

“After prayer and discussion, they just went back and started drilling again, and it worked. We still don’t know exactly what happened. It was another God thing.”

The entire community participated in the effort. The hope and desire of the village was clear as they worked together for the betterment of all.

“The entire village came and watched and helped,” DeeDee Wint said. “The ladies carried water. The men worked the rig. The children dug clay out of the ground and made clay marbles to seal the borehole below the surface. When it was done, it was a community accomplishment.”

When the community dedicated the well, tears filled people’s eyes. When a child filled a five-gallon container with clean drinking water, people felt they were seeing the impossible. Several individuals remarked how God had shown himself to be “plenty big” enough to meet their needs.

A local church team, Aruamu Water Projects, has the TBM drill and can use it in other villages.

DeeDee Wint dedicates a new well (Tim Wint)
DeeDee Wint dedicates a new well (Tim Wint)

To qualify for a well, a village must raise 15% of the needed funds, form a committee to care for the well and have at least one toilet. Already, communities are working to become eligible.

Another TBM team will visit the area in June to further train and drill more wells and encourage the church.

Everywhere the church goes with its drill, lives will be changed.

“They will be healthier because they’re not drinking out of a contaminated river,” DeeDee Wint said. “With open defecation everywhere, the water is quite bad. They are sick all the time.”

Church members also will share the gospel as they drill each well. People will be healthier physically and spiritually. It is a visible reminder of how God loves his people, the Wints noted.

Catholic church expresses PNG concern

Cardinal Pietro Parolin in Port Moresby  2018
Cardinal Pietro Parolin visiting Port Moresby in 2018

| Vatican News

ROME - Caritas PNG and the Justice and Peace Commission of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands have expressed concern about illegal activities, prostitution, drug dealing and money laundering in the country.

The PNG church said it wants to collaborate with the police force in fighting these crimes.

Continue reading "Catholic church expresses PNG concern" »

Missionary sisters expect miracles

Villagers near the town of Bereina in Central Province
Villagers near the town of Bereina in Central Province

| Catholic Leader

BEREINA - When the villagers of impoverished Bereina need to quell their famine, they reach for the noxious betel nut.

In the town of Bereina, in the Central Province of Papua New Guinea, the addictive seed, which is prohibited in Australia, is often the only food source for the local villagers.

Continue reading "Missionary sisters expect miracles" »

Christianity is a good fit for PNG

Mass at a church in Papua New Guinea (Michal Knitl
Mass at a church in PNG (Michal Knitl,


TUMBY BAY - One of the distinguishing features of human beings is our ability to create myths and stories.

These narratives entertain but also perform a much more important role in setting ethical and behavioural standards.

Some of the greatest mythical inventions appear as religious texts, like the Bible and the Koran, but there are also secular myths that serve the same purpose.

Continue reading "Christianity is a good fit for PNG" »

God, violence & women’s subordination

"In effect the churches blame the wife for the beatings and violence her husband has inflicted on her"


TUMBY BAY - In the first of a series of recent articles on gender and Christianity on The Conversation website it is suggested that a literal translation of the bible may be contributing to domestic violence.

In a self-declared Christian nation like Papua New Guinea, with very high levels of violence against women and children, this discussion has particular relevance.

Continue reading "God, violence & women’s subordination" »

Dancing with tears of joy

Alphonse Mek
Alphonse Mek - "Sometimes I dreamed of becoming a doctor or a lawyer. Other times I imagined forming a gang"


Alphonse Mek is minister of Mt Kora Adventist Church in Jiwaka Province. He graduated with an advanced diploma in theology from Sonoma Adventist College on Sunday 24 November

ENGA - We all have our own dreams and plans, but to realise those aspirations takes a lot of time, determination and perseverance.

I have seen and felt and tasted the pain of trying to get a good education.

Continue reading "Dancing with tears of joy" »

Kuplam SDA’s drug-drunk conversion

SDA program
More than 500 people attended a program to try to rid Enga society of drug-taking and drunkenness


LAIAGAM - Kuplam Seventh Day Adventist church is in Komaip village beside the police station not far away from Laiagam station.

It’s just a right turn from the road to Porgera gold mine amongst the tribes of the Lyen, Samb, Tee and Waiten people, highly populated groups but with many illiterates and a lot of drug use and other illegal activities.

Continue reading "Kuplam SDA’s drug-drunk conversion" »

His Voice singing in the Wild West

His Voice Singers
Enga’s  Seventh Day Adventist His Voice singers, their voices echoing in the woods of Laiagam, Porgera and Mt Kare


LAIAGAM - His Voice is the singing ministry of the Seventh Day Adventist church in Enga.

The group was formed in 2019 by men and boys from Tee, Paiyan, Walian and other neighbouring tribesmen of Paip SDA church in Mamal village in the Laiagam District.

On social media, people in our country and even the world can see our own Wild West of the three Engan districts of Laiagam, Kandep and Porgera fighting wars and losing lives.

Continue reading "His Voice singing in the Wild West" »

There's always hope in the storm

Alphonse Mek
Alphonse Mek - "One thing I know from my life is that struggle and hardship can shape you as a person"


SONOMA – I’m Alphonse Mek, originally from Enga and later from Jiwaka and Western Highlands provinces.

I come from a background of struggle.

My father, Pok Kyngal, died when I was about six years old. Just before he died he took me in his loving harms and cried as I watched. This memory is fresh in me.

Continue reading "There's always hope in the storm" »

Cardinal Ribat: Let's protect our islands

Pope Francis Cardinal Ribat
Pope Francis and Cardinal Ribat, who asks: "“Where will we be after all these islands are gone?”

| Vatican News

THE VATICAN - As the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon region ended recently, Cardinal John Ribat of Papua New Guinea said he could identify with most of the topics that were discussed.

Cardinal Ribat, the Archbishop of Port Moresby, said that there are many similarities between Papua New Guinea and the Amazon region and many topics resonated with what is happening in PNG.

Continue reading "Cardinal Ribat: Let's protect our islands" »

Pope appoints new bishop of Kimbe

John Bosco Auram
John Bosco Auram - the new bishop of Kimbe has had a distinguished upbringing in the church

| Vatican News

THE VATICAN - In Papua New Guinea on Friday, Pope Francis appointed Father John Bosco Auram as the new bishop of Kimbe Diocese in West New Britain.

The Pope appointed the 47-year old priest in the place of Capuchin bishop William Regis Fey who reached the retirement age of 75 last year.

Continue reading "Pope appoints new bishop of Kimbe" »

10% to churches, yes, but is the timing right?

Hands on
Jeff Febi - "Assisting church-run agencies by giving them 10% of the dividends from state owned enterprises is a noble move, but is the timing right?"


LUFA - The government's supplementary budget went big on expenditure cuts to plug a big dark deficit hole of about K4.6 billion.

This hole was dug by the government of former prime minister Peter O'Neill through creative but reckless spending on Port Moresby-centric infrastructure development.

Some urban centres throughout Papua New Guinea might have gained one or two infrastructure investments while others missed out entirely.

Continue reading "10% to churches, yes, but is the timing right?" »

Viet detainees return to families thanks to Sr Teresa

Sister Teresa and detainees
Sister Teresa and Vietnamese detainees - ensuring that barriers to freedom  and justice are overcome

| Asia News

PORT MORESBY– Young migrants, refugees and people detained in Papua New Guinea struggle to overcome the barriers of language and culture as they seek to get back to their homeland or a third country.

They experience not just separation from their places of origin but also cultural and religious uprooting.

This is where the Church can serve as a reference point for these people. “The Church has an important role and can bring new life to them” (Christus vivit, Chap 3, par 93).

Continue reading "Viet detainees return to families thanks to Sr Teresa" »

Australia must ‘lead through kindness’ on refugees & climate

Giorgio Licini
Fr Giorgio Licini - "“Arrogance and a refusal to listen will isolate the big south island, leaving the smaller ones in the vast ocean with no choice but to turn to Asia"


NOOSA – A prominent Catholic priest in Papua New Guinea says Australia, as the region’s richest and biggest nation, should “lead through kindness” in the south-west Pacific and show “solidarity and inclusiveness”.

Writing in the PNG Catholic Reporter, Fr Giorgio Licini said the PNG government and civil society also have a responsibility because of their “central position among the family of nations in the Pacific [to] raise their voice regarding the current most pressing issues”.

Fr Giorgio enumerated these as Australia’s attitudes to offshore detention, refusing to acknowledge the negative environmental impact of coal burning and making “access and work difficult for other members of the Pacific family”.

Continue reading "Australia must ‘lead through kindness’ on refugees & climate" »

Peace came to the valley – and it all started at home

BRAD WATSON | Adventist Record | Edited

Recent literacy graduates from the Guna-Goreku people of Simbu, who seem to have found a sustainable peace

KUNDIAWA - The air is filled with smoke rising languidly above mounds of black ash. Women and children hide in the forest, terrified of those who have stripped their fields and herded away their pigs.

In the distance, a decrepit school stands idly, empty of laughter or the sounds of teachers scolding students. A small church, recently filled with sounds of song and praise, is the only building that is untouched.

Over a ridge, a widow watches a sweet potato roasting on a bed of glowing ash. She is worried. Her hands tremble. Recently a man in her clan died after a long illness. Some of the relatives are saying she is responsible.

They huddle together and whisper. A witch, one says. A sorcerer, says another. A Dracula. For that is the new word they use for the likes of her. She has done nothing but fears what will happen when the relatives of the deceased man return to her house.

Continue reading "Peace came to the valley – and it all started at home" »

Galkope (except 9 lepers) celebrate 70 years in the Catholic faith

Neragaima Catholic Mission
Neragaima Catholic Mission


PORT MORESBY - Galkope men’s houses (hausman), in what is now the Simbu Province, schooled young boys of the Dom, Yuri, Bari and Erula Nauro tribes, which had colonised their territories by migrating from different lands.

The Dom evolved out of Dlekopl while the Yuri walked east through the Wahgi valley. Erula 1-4 evolved out of Monguma, while the Bari arrived at Dukul Mormapir from the Gena-Nogar.

These four tribes, now referred to as Galkope, converged and settled on either sides of the Kola-Kawa River alongside an existing tribe, the Teklau-Baimane.

The Teklau-Baimane settled at Olkaipel, Mekul, Kaluvalu and the vicinity - but fled west after killing Yuri Alaibia before the coming of the Makruai, and settled at Kerual Apane in Jiwaka Province. To this day the older people still speak the Nauro-Bari language.

Against this backdrop, the Roman Catholic Church arrived unexpectedly and settled at Mingende just after the Makruai. The church extended its influence to new lands and built a new mission station at Yopar. The Gakwane and the Erula Nauro people were excited about the opportunities the church brought to their midst.

Continue reading "Galkope (except 9 lepers) celebrate 70 years in the Catholic faith" »

On Australian mission, Fr Giorgio says refugee crisis worsening

Fr Giorgio Licini
Fr Giorgio Licini - “You cannot keep people in those conditions indefinitely; you destroy them. And who allows you to destroy people?”

PETER BUGDEN | The Catholic Leader

BRISBANE - A senior priest in Papua New Guinea has turned to Australia seeking compassion for refugees and asylum seekers languishing in our nation’s off-shore detention system.

Fr Giorgio Licini, general secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of PNG and Solomon Islands, has been in Australia in recent weeks pressing the case for an end to what he calls “a humanitarian crisis”.

Fr Licini has called for the Australian government to resolve the situation on humanitarian grounds.

Speaking as a missionary from PNG – a member of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions – and as a church man, Fr Licini said “we don’t necessarily question the policies of government in terms of border protection … but in this specific case I would say, see now the humanitarian crisis”.

Continue reading "On Australian mission, Fr Giorgio says refugee crisis worsening" »

Islam in PNG: Long journey towards tolerance & understanding

Imam of Mt Hagen  Ahmad Didat
Imam of Mt Hagen, Ahmad Didat - “When I built this mosque, I was alone. Then the community came"


LAE – At midday, as a small group of men and boys prepare for Friday Prayers in Kagamuga, Western Highlands, a local Imam makes the Muslim call to prayer.

The Arabic language sounds very foreign here. This is one of the few Islamic communities in the Western Highlands finding its way in a country that describes itself as predominantly Christian.

Inside the small mosque, the men and boys line up in front as the prayers begin. The women, as per Islamic teaching, are in another room.

“When I built this mosque, I was alone. I had not received any formal training yet when I converted to Islam,” says the local Imam, Ahmad Didat. “Then the boys nearby came and joined me. Then the community came.”

Continue reading "Islam in PNG: Long journey towards tolerance & understanding" »

Religious pretensions no basis for good government

Sr Ellen White
Sister Ellen White - Seventh Day Adventist church founder and remembered as a prophet and oyster eater


MORRISET, NSW - So now there are three Seventh Day Adventists in important positions in Papua New Guinea.

There’s new prime minister James Marape, chief justice Gibbs Salika and the parliamentary speaker Job Pomat.

Well I won't criticise them for their religious beliefs. Oh hell, I'll have a go anyway. And I feel somewhat qualified to pass judgement.

My great-grandfather was the first ordained SDA pastor in the Pacific and Australia. And both my grandad and dad were SDA pastors. That’s three generations before I arrived.

Great-grandfather received a testimony from Sister Ellen White, founder of the church and widely regarded amongst adherents as a prophet from God.

My grandmother had afternoon tea with Sr White at Sunnyside in Avondale in the late 1890s. The house still stands this day and is near where I live.

So I grew up in the SDA, and believe me it is no less open to charges of hypocrisy and procrastination than any other church.

Continue reading "Religious pretensions no basis for good government" »

The implications of Rugby’s persecution of Israel Folau

Israel Folau
Israel Folau "has not sought to persecute; all he has done is issue a heartfelt, albeit misdirected, warning"


TUMBY BAY - The appalling decision by the politically correct pedants at Rugby Australia to terminate Israel Folau’s contract for the apparently heinous offence of posting a comment on his religious beliefs has set a very dangerous precedent.

I’m not particularly inclined to get excited about grown men chasing a leather ball around a paddock nor am I inclined to believe in supreme beings but I am inclined to believe that people like Israel Folau have a perfect right to say what they believe without fear of persecution.

What he said is what he believes. He was born in New South Wales of Tongan parents. As a Pacific Islander his profound religious beliefs come as no surprise.

That he felt the need to warn people who are different to him of the imputed biblical consequences of those differences, irrelevant as that may be, is also not particularly unusual.

Continue reading "The implications of Rugby’s persecution of Israel Folau" »

Kenmore Catholics’ trash buys a new boat for Milne Bay priest

Fr Mark Franklin
Fr Mark Franklin - his Kenmore parish is cleaning up the environment while assisting the Catholic church in Milne Bay

NICK HOLT | Catholic Leader

BRISBANE - Kenmore parish has furthered its commitment to Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’: On Care for our Common Home by turning recyclables into foreign aid donations.

The parish has collected more than 4,000 recyclable containers like bottles, cans and cardboard, which earn 10 cents per unit under the Queensland government initiative Containers for Cash.

The funds collected by the parish were used to buy a boat for a Papua New Guinean bishop.

“We had a parishioner come to us last year about helping buy a small boat for Fr Sam Phasz, a priest of the Province of Milne Bay in the Diocese of Alotau-Sideia,” said parish priest Fr Mark Franklin.

Continue reading "Kenmore Catholics’ trash buys a new boat for Milne Bay priest" »

Faith in action: Queensland doctor & family move to Kudjip

Lean family in PNG (Mary Lean)
The Lean family at their new home in Kudjip in the Western Highlands

PETER GUNDERS | ABC Southern Queensland | Extract

TOOWOOMBA, QLD - Dave and Mary Lean have made a very different kind of tree change — taking their five young children with them from Toowoomba in southern Queensland to the highlands of Papua New Guinea.

"A lot of people say, 'Are you taking your children with you?', but I think in their minds they're actually asking, 'Are you crazy?'" Dr Lean said.

"Our youngest is 15 months old, and we're going for at least two years. So yes, we're taking our children!" Dr Lean said.

Home will be on the compound of a 160-bed hospital in Kudjip, an hour's drive east of Mt Hagen.

Dave Lean will be one of two paediatricians at the hospital that covers a population of 400,000.

"I've loved working at Toowoomba hospital for the past two years, and in one sense the work doesn't change, but the way children present in PNG is often far sicker than what we see in Australia," Dr Lean said.

Continue reading "Faith in action: Queensland doctor & family move to Kudjip" »

PNG bishops attack government over corruption, incompetence

CorruptionKEITH JACKSON | Sources

NOOSA – The Catholic bishops of Papua New Guinea have had enough of the O’Neill government, blasting it for failing to take action on corruption and for what they have referred to as its “general incompetence”.

In a public statement, the bishops asked why an Independent Commission Against Corruption had not yet been established, despite many promises over many years, and why nothing has been done to end the Special Agricultural and Business Leases (SABLs) which are said to have led to many illegal land grabs.

They condemned SABLs for continuing to destroy the environment and the livelihoods of thousands of Papua New Guineans.

The statement also attacked the practice of politicians directly distributing government funds to the people themselves.

Continue reading "PNG bishops attack government over corruption, incompetence" »

After fall of Cardinal Pell, what’s now for PNG church?

ChurchSCOTT WAIDE | My Land, My Country

LAE - It was bound to come to light sooner than later. Over the last 20 years, the Catholic Church has been under intense pressure to admit to cases of sexual abuse within its ranks.

Admitting is one thing. But investigating and bringing criminal proceedings against the offending priests and other members of the clergy is another matter altogether.

It is something the Catholic Church has shied away from for many decades.

Last week people around the world read in horror as the Vatican treasurer, the third highest ranking Catholic clergyman from the Pope, Cardinal George Pell, was found guilty of sexually assaulting two boys when he was an archbishop.

Continue reading "After fall of Cardinal Pell, what’s now for PNG church?" »

Bishops appeal for refugee action in open letter to O’Neill

Licini_Fr Giorgio
Fr Giorgio Licini - 'I appeal to your sense of humanity and the responsibility of your high office'

FR GIORGIO LICINI | General Secretary, Catholic Bishops Conference

WAIGANI - Dear Hon Prime Minister: It is with heavy heart and an intense sense of sadness that I report to you on my recent visits to Lorengau town in Manus Island and to the Pacific International Hospital in Port Moresby.

At the two locations, I had the heartbreaking experience of making contact with an appalling level of desperation in which refugees and asylum seekers live.

I am not referring to the logistic conditions in which the men are kept, which appear to be decent with security, cleanliness, and respect by national and expatriate personnel.

My concern is rather about their fast deteriorating health status, which is making now acts of self-harm and attempted suicide a daily occurrence: three cases only for the two days I was in Manus on 20-22 January.

While travel to Manus and to the detention centers may prove hard to your busy schedule, I warmly invite you to make a quick visit to the [Intensive Care Unit] ward of Pacific International Hospital at 3 Mile.

You will come across well-kept health facilities and extremely kind and professional personnel, but you will also meet about twenty refugees and asylum seekers in a deplorable state of mental health compounded with other ailments affecting their cardiac and respiratory system, kidney failure, fractured bones, etc.

Continue reading "Bishops appeal for refugee action in open letter to O’Neill" »

The scintillating & uplifting choral music of Melanesia


MORRISET – When I first went to Papua New Guinea, my pastor Dad gave me one bit of advice.

"Peter you must listen to the church choirs."

And, what do you know, my university-assigned house at Fort Banner was next door to Vincent's, who was the conductor of the local Catholic church choir.

I was able to enjoy hearing them practice every Friday evening.

Continue reading "The scintillating & uplifting choral music of Melanesia" »

The new priest’s year in Karap and the Jimi Valley

Roche - Karap from the air
A 1980s view of Karap from the air gives an indication of the steep mountainsides. Lower left is the road to Tabibuga, upper right the road to Banz, middle left the road to Kol


DUBLIN, IRELAND- I had arrived in Papua New Guinea in October 1970, when it was known as the Territory of Papua New Guinea (it changed its name to just Papua New Guinea in 1972.)

Nine months later, in July 1971, I was sent to take charge of Karap, a parish in the Jimi Valley.

This area is now in Jiwaka Province but back then it was part of the Western Highlands District.

Things were on the move. A new road had been constructed from near Banz through Kwiona, Kauil and Karap to the government station at Tabibuga.

The drive from Banz to Karap normally took at least two hours, and from Karap to Tabiguba about an hour. Four-wheel drive vehicles were necessary.

At Karap there is now a road branching off to Kol in the Upper Jimi, but that road did not exist in the early 1970s.

The 'mansion' in which I lived was a cabin made from pit-sawn timber with a thatched kunai grass roof and a nearby shed was stacked with timber used for building the church and school classrooms.

My house was on a hilltop overlooking the road and there was a great view looking down the valley of the Tsau river.

Continue reading "The new priest’s year in Karap and the Jimi Valley" »

'Give them freedom' – Bishops denounce 6-year refugee detention

PNG bishopsSTAFF WRITER | Catholic News Agency

PORT MORESBY - The bishops of Papua New Guinea have issued a renewed plea on behalf of the nearly 500 refugees and asylum seekers being held in indefinite detention in deteriorating conditions.

“These people have been away from their families for the sixth Christmas… it was just another night of detention on Manus Island,” said Fr Ambrose Pereira, communication secretary for the Catholic Bishops Conference of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

Facing conditions of trauma, overcrowding, and lack of food, he said, “most of them survive thanks to medicines, mostly anti-depressants, anti-anxiety, anti-psychotics,” and many face serious side effects from taking the medications long-term without a prescription.

Continue reading "'Give them freedom' – Bishops denounce 6-year refugee detention" »

Bishops want to rid Catholic church of predator priests

Licini_Fr Giorgio
Fr Giorgio Licini

STAFF REPORTER | Radio New Zealand

AUCKLAND - Predator priests will face the full force of the law, Catholic bishops in the Pacific say.

In Papua New Guinea, Fr Giorgio Licini said any cases of priests abusing children will be dealt with severely and revealed that an office had been established to deal with the matter.

Meanwhile, the head of the church in Fiji, Archbishop Peter Loy Chong, said his church had policy and protocols in place for suspected sexual offending among priests.

"That has been the stand of the church and each conference of bishops has been instructed that we need to put in a policy for sexual abuse," the archbishop said.

"We have a sexual abuse policy to see to it that, when somebody is a sexual offender, procedures are carried out so that this person is interrogated and taken to task."

Continue reading "Bishops want to rid Catholic church of predator priests" »

New Zealand & Polynesia bishops protest West Papua abuses

Manokwari, the capital city of West Papua (David Worabay)


AUCKLAND - Bishops from the Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia - including Aotearoa New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, America Samoa and the Cook Islands - have expressed “deep disappointment” at what they say is the continued suppression of the first people of West Papua.

The political status of West Papua is disputed. In the 1940s, with the collapse of the Netherlands East Indies, Indonesia claimed sovereignty over all of the former colony but the Dutch retained control over West Papua.

In the 1960s, Indonesia invaded the island and a later UN-brokered peace deal resulted in 1,000 ‘elders’ voting to become part of Indonesia in a disputed election.

Last year, an ecumenical pastoral solidarity group from the Christian Council of Asia visited West Papua and described “grave human rights violations” in the region.

Continue reading "New Zealand & Polynesia bishops protest West Papua abuses" »

Commemorating the death of Fr Karl Morschheuser SVD

Karl MorschheuserPHILIP KAI MORRE

KUNDIAWA - It was a hot day here in Kundiawa town and I was walking to the provincial government building when my eyes caught a poster about Fr Karl Morschheuser SVD.

The poster, hanging on a rope at the stationery shop on the other side of the road, read ‘Fr Karl Morschheuser. Memorial Mass at Mirane Catholic Church. Starts at 9 am, 16 December 2018. All welcome’.

It was the day we had been waiting for.

In the middle of a busy street crowded with people, the poster pushed me into a deep reminiscence of the life and tragic death of Fr Morschheuser on this day - Sunday 16 December -  in 1934.

This tall and handsome young German was the first martyr of the Papua New Guinea highlands - slain at Bedume in Upper Simbu over a dispute about a pig killed by another priest, Fr van Baar SVD.

Continue reading "Commemorating the death of Fr Karl Morschheuser SVD" »

Sonoma Adventist college celebrates 50 years of service

Sonoma reunionMALINDA KOTOVEKE PHILIP | Adventist Record

Photo: Pioneering Sonoma Adventist College students Jim Manele and John Hamura with the college’s first principal, Alexander Currie (Adventist Record)

RABAUL - Sonoma Adventist College recently celebrated its 50th anniversary and school reunion.

Former students from PNG and the Solomon Islands came together in September to commemorate the occasion. Pioneering principal Alexander Currie, his wife, Beverley, and two sons, Gavin and Philip, were special guests.

For Sonoma, which grew from humble beginnings into a school affiliated with Pacific Adventist University, celebrating 50 years of service to the Seventh-day Adventist Church in PNG and the South Pacific region is a significant achievement for the institution and the Papua New Guinea Union Mission.

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Catholic Church: 'people suffering & dying for APEC success’

Samarai Catholic Church
Sacred Heart Church, Samarai

MEDIA STATEMENT | Catholic Bishops Conference of PNG & Solomon Islands

PORT MORESBY - The primary task of the Catholic Church in Papua New Guinea is to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to the people. As such the church adopts no particular position on political or economic issues except to bring gospel values to this part of life.

However, since the Catholic Church is known and expected to speak for those without a voice, and has a reputation for its concern for the rural poor of PNG, many have asked us for our position on APEC.

We have addressed this issue many times in the past and more recently appealed for a return to the division of powers that could ensure that political power and the equitable distribution of wealth are kept separate.

We share the concern of many about the huge amount of our limited resources being expended on this event which seems designed to entertain and impress the rich and powerful.

Given its inevitability, we can only hope for its ‘success’, which can only mean that the welfare of the poorest people of PNG will somehow indirectly be improved. Although we all would like to make a good impression on our visitors, this cannot be at the expense of the truth.

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Interfaith conference pursues Melanesian theological identity

Waterlily Pond
Water lily pond at the Pacific Adventist University just outside Port Moresby


PORT MORESBY - The Melanesia Association of Theological Schools conference, held last week at the Pacific Adventist University, is an annual event where theologians, scholars and pastors from theological schools and churches gather to discuss theological issues affecting Christians in Melanesia.

The university hosted this year’s interdenominational conference and its school of theology, humanities and education worked together for the whole year to prepare for the event under the leadership of Dr Elisapesi Mason.

The three-day conference was officially opened by Dr Lalen Simeon, deputy vice chancellor of Pacific Adventist University in the presence of vice chancellor Dr Raul Lozano, registrar Mrs Pele Alu and staff members.

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Missionary dentist treats broken jaws & broken lives

Sheena Li in Papua New Guinea  (Sheena Li)
Sheena Li and Papua New Guinean children

SHEENA LI as told to Kate Whitehead | South China Morning Post | Edited extracts

High-flier Sheena Li, who grew up in Hong Kong before her family moved to Canada, shuns wealth and prestige to make a difference among the world’s most needy communities

TORONTO - My parents met at Hong Kong University. My father worked in the Education Bureau and my mum was a social worker. I was born in 1979.

My parents decided to emigrate to Toronto when I was 11 – they thought there would be better opportunities for my brother and I, and there was also uncertainty over the future in Hong Kong.

If we’d stayed in Hong Kong, I don’t think my brother and I would have got the grades to go to university, but in Canada we thrived. I was determined to learn English so I could make friends. I read a lot of books and I read the Bible, which is how I became a Christian.

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Catholic-run family planning in PNG: assistance or oppression?

Family planningCATHERINE GRAUE | Pacific Beat | Australian Broadcasting Corporation | Extract

You can read the full article here

SYDNEY - Pressure is mounting on Papua New Guinea's Government to reconsider its contracts with health clinics run by the Catholic Church, amid concerns some are deliberately failing to meet their obligations of providing a full family planning service.

While advocating natural methods of contraception, the Church insists it also provides counselling and a patient referral system, which is a requirement of its contract with the PNG Health Department.

But family planning advocates claim items being provided to Catholic clinics by the Government go unused and are being destroyed, while others report spot checks are being carried out by senior church officials.

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Satan is Sanguma. But Western hegemony doesn’t see it that way

Satan-by-jack-chickKELA KAPKORA SIL BOLKIN

PORT MORESBY - The Western world’s Satan and Papua New Guinean sanguma (sorcery) seem to be similar concepts but Western religious scholars dictate that the Trinity and the college of angels (including Satan) exists in the ether but sanguma does not.

This view defies logic because both Satan and sanguma are associated with evil and are on the same side of the coin.

No Christian (verifiably anyway) has seen the Trinity, angels, the intercession of the Saints or Satan yet they believe in their existence and control over the peaks and troughs of life.

However, sanguma, exactly the same concept as Satan, is stamped ‘null and void’.

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Jesus Christ, God’s perfect gift to humanity

Melanesian Nativity
Melanesian Nativity (courtesy Peter Kranz)


KUNDIAWA - Many Christians around the world have adopted a material and secular meaning of Christmas: giving and receiving gifts to strengthen social and economic bonds; reuniting with families and friends; celebrating; and taking holidays from work.

Special gifts are given to special friends at this time of year, representing personal commitment, appreciation, beauty, joy, pride and positive experience.

In Papua New Guinea, and especially in the Highlands where I live, the true meaning of Christmas is not fully observed. Rather, it is seen as the time to receive and remit bride prices, celebrate weddings, pay compensation, hold funeral feasts, drink and enjoy in a more casual way.

The problems to be solved can wait.

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Christianity & the ‘perfect pragmatism’ of the people of PNG

The first on Tami Island PNG
The first church on Tami Island PNG


ADELAIDE - The spread of western civilisation across the globe was, inevitably, accompanied by efforts to spread the Christian religion in its various forms.

So the Spanish were enthusiastic proponents of Catholicism in South America, whilst the Dutch promoted an austere version of the Protestant faith in what is now Indonesia.

The British promoted Anglicanism which was and is effectively a state religion given that the Queen is its Governor.

Papua New Guinea, being colonised rather late in the era of rapid European imperial expansion, became contested ground for the various types of Christianity.

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The impact of western religion - has it made PNG a better place?

Rose Kranz
People can be beautiful but does religion really make us better?


NEWCASTLE - The Catholics were the first missionaries in the upper Simbu in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, and some got killed for their trouble.

Then the Lutherans came to Kundiawa in central Simbu and built a church mission station that remains to this day.

The missionaries were infused with a desire to bring the message of God to the 'heathens', a zealousness which is still seen today with evangelical Protestants spreading the word using pop music and, in their fund-raising back home, with fake news about Christianising the 'savages'.

In PNG overall, these 150 years of Christian contact have had a profound impact on traditional culture - in big ways and bizarre ways.

Missionaries offended by bare breasts and instituted the Mother Hubbard, or meri blouse, introducing skin complaints along with prudery.

And of course polygamy was beyond the pale.

Full membership of the church was refused to men who had more than one wife.

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The embracing work of the churches in PNG society

Tom Ellis  Bishop George Bernarding  Fr Arnold Steffen
Kiap Tom Ellis with Bishop George Bernarding and Fr Arnold Steffen


DUBLIN – Contributor Ross Howard, writing recently in PNG Attitude, has eloquently provided us with an historical background to the debate about science and the church.

Perhaps it’s worthwhile, in commenting on the role of the churches in the development of Papua New Guinea, to look very briefly at the contribution of the churches in the fields of education and health.

Bishop George Bernarding, former Bishop of Mt Hagen, once told me that in the period after World War II the Catholic mission wanted to start an English-speaking school at Kondiu in Simbu but the Australian administration was not in favour saying Pidgin schools would be quite adequate.

The Diocese of Mt Hagen eventually established two high schools, Fatima and Notre Dame, and numerous community schools in what was then Western Highlands District. To the best of my knowledge the District Commissioner, Tom Ellis, was most supportive.

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PNG bishop confirms reinstatement of ‘playful’ Australian priest

Bishop Rolando Santos with Fr Neil Lams
Bishop Rolando Santos & Fr Neil Lams

JOANNE McCARTHY | Newcastle Herald

NEWCASTLE - A Papua New Guinea Catholic bishop says he will reinstate an Australian Vincentian priest to a PNG high school despite a police investigation of allegations involving school students, and a church investigation confirming the priest touched students’ legs and sometimes slapped them.

Bishop Rolando Santos said Australian Vincentian priest Neil Lams was “firm, upright and committed” and he was not changing the priest’s assignment as chaplain to the PNG school.

The bishop reserved the right to take defamation action against people, including school teachers, who complained about the priest’s behaviour.

A church investigation report, which Bishop Santos supplied to the Newcastle Herald, found no evidence to support allegations Father Lams sexually abused two female students at a Catholic high school in eastern PNG.

But investigators for the PNG Catholic Church Office of Right Relationships in Ministry found evidence of confessional “incidents”, where Father Lams touched students on the legs and asked questions about sex that left students “embarrassed or scared or hurt or surprised”.

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Sr Cecilia Prest, the nun who saved Tim Flannery’s life

Rob Parer  Sr Cecilia & Marg Parer at St Anna Plantation
Rob Parer, Sr Cecilia Prest & Marg Parer


BRISBANE - I received an email last Friday from Franciscan missionary Sister Cecilia Prest Mfic who has spent 15 years at Woorabinda, an indigenous community town 180 km south-west of Rockhampton in Queensland.

Previously Sr Cecilia was in the Aitape Diocese of Papua New Guinea for 28 years - most of the time in charge of the health centre at small mission station of Fatima near Lumi.

She told me that Fr Bruno Pokule was visiting Woorabinda for a few days, adding that she had delivered him when she was based at Sissano. Sr Cecilia remembers she was up all night as it had proved to be “a very difficult delivery”.

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Hedemari people achieve their church born of a dream

BISHOP DONALD LIPPERT The new church at Hedemari

THE people of Saint John the Apostle Parish in Hedmari, Hela Province, recently hosted a joyful and reverent celebration for the blessing of their new one-of-a-kind church building.

The old church building was falling into serious disrepair and the community was quickly outgrowing it.

The people together with the parish priest Fr Joice Packel CST considered the options.

At first they thought of attaching a wing to the old church but abandoned the idea as impractical.

The real dream of the people and Fr Joice was to build a new church, but how?

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Court orders that expelled missionary can return to PNG


PAPUA New Guinea's national court has ordered the country’s Immigration and Citizenship Service Authority to facilitate the return to the country of New Zealander Douglas Tennent.

The religious lay worker was deported last month for allegedly breaching the terms of his religious worker visa.

As a qualified lawyer working for the Archbishop of Rabaul, Mr Tennent had been advising landowners at West Pomio who were involved in a contractual wrangle with logging and palm oil multinational company Rimbunan Hijau.

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