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Primate of the Anglican Church of Melanesia retires

September 8, 2015

Archbishop David Vunagi, Primate of the Anglican Church of Melanesia, has officially retired with a special farewell service held in Honiara on Sunday.

Robert McLean, ABM’s Partnerships Coordinator, shares this reflection:

God is not unjust; he will not overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do. – Hebrews 6.10

Shortly after I began working at ABM I arrived back in the office one day after lunch to find Archbishop David Vunagi in our reception area. He immediately impressed me with his friendliness and wonderful sense of humour. I was fortunate a few years later to visit Honiara and to take part in talks led by our Executive Director, John Deane, and Archbishop Vunagi which resulted in a partnership accord being signed between the Anglican Church of Melanesia and ABM. Such an agreement indicates the highest level of commitment between ABM and one of our Overseas Partners. During that visit we were privileged to attend an ordination where a deacon was priested by Archbishop Vunagi. I remember thinking at the time that it was something that Bishop Patteson, the martyred first Bishop of Melanesia, could only have dreamt of – a Melanesian Anglican being ordained by a Melanesian Anglican. Certainly the sad events of September 1871 have resulted in a vibrant Church today. 

ABM wishes Archbishop David and Mary well in their time of retirement.


(From the Anglican Church of Melanesia – 7 September 2015)

The Province of the Anglican Church of Melanesia that includes Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and part of New Caledonia made a farewell liturgical service marking the official retirement of the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia the Most Reverend David Vunagi yesterday Sunday 6th Sept. 2015.

The live broadcast service took place at the St. Barnabas Cathedral followed by presentation of gifts and entertainments.

The day’s program is to give thanks to God for the services offered to the ACOM and to this country by Archbishop David over the last thirty eight years.  

The Most Rev. David Vunagi took up the Primatial role in the Anglican Church of Melanesia in 2009. He succeeded late Emeritus Sir Ellison Pogo.

He served as the Diocesan Bishop of the Diocese of Temotu for nine years before elected to become the Primate of the Church.

Archbishop David saved the Church of Melanesia for thirty eight years as a teacher and lecturer in Church’ institutes and as priest, Bishop and Archbishop. Only three of these thirty eight years were spent outside the ACOM.

Since last year, Archbishop David and his wife Mary Vunagi made farewell visits to the dioceses, parishes and church institutions and religious communities.

In his farewell address today, the retiring Archbishop urged members of the church to support who will become the next Archbishop of the church.

He also thank the bishops, priests lay members of the church for the support rendered to him during his leadership in the Anglican Church of Melanesia.

The ACOM General Secretary, Dr. Abraham Hauriasi and the Senior Bishop the Rt Rev’d Nathan Tome also thanked the retiring Archbishop David for his leadership qualities and wisdom in carrying ACOM through very difficult and challenging times.

Moderator of the United Church in Solomon Islands also acknowledges the retiring Archbishop for the relationship of the ACOM and the UCSI.

The Senior Bishop of the Church, the Right Reverend Nathan Tome, Bishop of the Diocese of Guadalcanal will be a caretaker spiritual father till the election and enthronement of a next Archbishop next year 2016.

The election of the next Archbishop will be on the 12th of February and his enthronement is scheduled for 17th April 2016.

Joining the remarkable service to mark Archbishop David’s formal retirement are the nine Bishops from the nine dioceses that made up the ACOM, Moderator of the United church in Solomon Islands, representatives from the Melanesian Trust Board New Zealand and other overseas’ guests and church members within the Dioceses of Central Melanesia.

Bishops and Priests after the farewell service for Archbishop David Vunagi. ©ACOM 2015