Photo Credit: PNGCP Chris Luxton
Father Kopapa is currently the Chaplain of Martyrs' Memorial School near Popondetta, the Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea's oldest high school. The date of his consecration has yet been set, but it is likely to take place in January 2006. He replaces Bishop Roger Jupp, who resigned in January 2005.
Joseph Kifau Kopapa was born in Lefume village, Sinei, Tufi district, Oro Province on 9th September 1947. After primary education at Sinei and secondary education at Sogeri (1962-1965) he went on to Vudal Agricultural College in East New Britain Province, where he was awarded a Diploma in Tropical Agriculture in 1968.
From 1969 to 1985 he worked for the Department of Agriculture as Extension Officer, Lecturer, Director of Agricultural Education & Human Resource Development, and Deputy Secretary. During this period he obtained a Postgraduate Diploma (PGD) and MSc. in Agricultural Extension & Rural Sociology from the University of Reading in the UK.
In 1987 he began a course of theological training at St Stephen's House, Oxford, which ended in 1989 with the award of a GME. He then returned to Papua New Guinea, where he was ordained to the priesthood in 1990. After ordination he served as Assistant Priest at St John's Cathedral, Port Moresby, for one year, and then moved to Lae as Rector of Taraka Parish and Chaplain to the University of Technology, where he also lectured part-time for the university's Bachelor of Agriculture course.
At the end of 1995 he was transferred to the Diocese of Popondota, where he served for one year in Holy Family Parish, Sangara, and then for two years as Rector of Waseta Parish. In 1999 he moved to Newton Theological College, where he remained until 2002 as Lecturer, Deputy Principal and Acting Principal before taking up the position of Chaplain to Martyrs' Memorial School.
From 2001 to 2005 he was a member of the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Mission and Evangelism.
Fr Kopapa's wife Wasita comes from Raluana village in East New Britain Province. They have three grown-up boys, of whom the first is an agriculturalist (married, with three children), the second a secondary school teacher (married, with one child) and the third a computer programmer and analyst (single). They also have two girls, one of whom is currently doing Grade 11 at secondary school and the other is still at primary school.
Responding to his election as Bishop of Popondota, Fr Kopapa writes:
"Myself and Wasita are lost for words, and feel so unworthy and inadequate for this very sacred calling, but we trust that the Church through the Holy Spirit will be our refuge, as Christ who calls us is ever present here."
Article Source: PNG - Papua New Guinea.