There was a healthy turnout of people from different parishes in the Diocese of Derry for the Evening Service in Christ Church, Limavady on Sunday March 13th to hear from a special visitor from the South Seas.
Rt Rev William ‘Willie’ Alaha Pwaisiho, a retired bishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia, was in the North West at the invitation of old friend Rev Canon Mike Roemmele to share about ministry, life and culture in Solomon Islands, where the two men first met more than 50 years ago.
In the late 1960s, the young Mike Roemmele was teaching in the Solomon Islands with Voluntary Service Overseas and the even younger William Pwaisiho was a student in the school where he taught. The two have since completed many decades in ministry – in Rt Rev William Pwaisiho’s case as a bishop – before their well-earned retirements.
It was a busy day for Bishop ‘Willie’ who preached in St Columb’s Cathedral, Londonderry on Sunday morning before delivering another homily seven hours later in Limavady. In his address there, Bishop Pwaisiho talked about the Melanesian Church’s debt to people from these shores who brought the faith to the South Sea Islands, and who supported the church there with people, money and prayers.
The Rector of Christ Church, Rev Canon Aonghus Mayes, led Sunday evening’s Service. He was assisted by Bishop Andrew Forster, who welcomed Bishop ‘Willie’ to the Diocese. There was a third Bishop in church for the occasion – Rt Rev Patrick Rooke, retired Bishop of Tuam, Killala, and Achonry.
Canon Mayes thanked Bishop Pwaisiho and Canon Roemmele for sharing with the congregation. The Rector led the congregation in praying for the people of Ukraine, in light of recent events there, and for better stewardship of the earth’s resources.
After the service, Canon Roemmele gave a slide presentation in Christ Church Limavady’s Parish Hall, assisted by his old friend. Canon Roemmele brought along many artifacts and mementoes from his time in the Solomon Islands which were placed on display for their audience to view. The two men talked to the group about the impact of climate change on the islands – a number of which have been lost to the sea in recent decades – as well as the effects of decolonisation.
The evening concluded with Bishop Pwaisiho reciting the Lord’s Prayer in Pidgin English.