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Education, health and chaplaincy in one of Anglican's remotest villages

Posted on: July 30, 2015 3:21 PM
Villagers of Pivo outside the Chapel of Saint Francis
Photo Credit: Diocese of Port Moresby
Related Categories: Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby

[ACNS] An Anglican chapel dedicated to Saint Francis will shortly be dedicated in the village of Pivo – one of the most remote villages served by the Anglican Communion. And the diocese of Port Moresby in the Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea, is also building an elementary school and an education centre providing adult literacy skills.

The remoteness of the village, in PNG’s Gulf province, can be seen by the tortuous journey undertaken by the Bishop of Port Moresby, the Rt Revd Denny Guka, and three Melanesian Brothers to reach Pivo this month: A six-hour truck drive from Port Moresby to Kerema was followed by a two-hour journey on the open seas in a 19-foot fibre-glass dinghy. The boat, powered by an outboard motor, took them to the mouth of the Vailala River where they then undertook an 11-hour journey along the winding river, before turning onto the Lohiki River and then Pivo River and onto the village of Pivo itself.

Brothers David and Simon will spend the next three years living in Pivo village and will serve the community by providing basic adult literacy and first aid treatments – these services are the only facilities in the village of Pivo, which has been largely forgotten by government and other agencies.

The Anglican Church of PNG has been sending members of the Melanesian Brotherhood to this community for the past two decades and are almost ready to dedicate St Francis chapel and open an elementary school and establish a larger adult literacy school.

The work has been supported by the Church of Australia’s Anglican Board of Mission, which is working in partnership with the Diocese of Port Moresby; as well as the Australian government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which is helping to fund an Anglicare/PNG Church Partnership Program, providing adult literacy and gender programs.