The Provincial Sister of the Community of the Sisters of the Church in the Solomon Islands, the Revd Sister Veronica CSC, recaps a recent retreat for women on the front line for reconciliation and restoration.
“Abraham said, ‘My lord, if I find favour with you, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on’” Genesis 18: 3-5.
One of the most important ministries of the Sisters of the Church is offering accommodation and hospitality to many seeking retreat, solitude and silence. The world we live in is fragmented, busy and noisy. The internet and mobile phones control many lives. Although they connect us to our networks, families and friends at a great distance, they also add more stress to many lives.
Tetete Ni Kolivuti (TNK) is a place where people come to find peace and creative / positive solutions to their challenges. This year has been very demanding for us – various groups from different denominations, government groups as well as non- government organisations.
From 9 – 14 September, we had the honour to host the Women on the Front Line programme. Mrs Caroline Welby, Mrs Jane Namurye, Mrs Karen Lewis and Canon Sarah Snyder from Lambeth Palace facilitated this programme for the bishops’ spouses, the Mothers’ Union and the female Religious Communities in Melanesia. Mrs Welby and her team were invited by His Grace, Archbishop George Takeli of the Anglican Church of Melanesia. It was the first time in our history that such a distinguished team has come to the Solomon Islands.
The programme started with a retreat for the bishops’ spouses from Sunday evening until Wednesday midday. They found the new approach to retreat refreshing and rewarding for them. Each day began with a Meditation, Morning Prayer at 6 am and Holy Communion. The programme was centred on prayer and reflection and so each day followed the offices of the Community.
On Wednesday 12 September at 2.30 pm, Archbishop George Takeli came to give his keynote address to the whole group. The other women had joined them after lunch. The workshop started after the Archbishop’s address. He had stressed the role of the women at the front line in our society. The Solomon Islands have a very high percentage of domestic violence and women play a key role in bringing reconciliation and restoration to victims in our homes and communities.