Church of Melanesia
The Church of Melanesia also known as the Church of the Province of Melanesia is part of the Anglican Communion, and has 8 dioceses. The Primate of the Church is the Archbishop of Melanesia.
In the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu the Church is often called simply Anglican.
The Church originated in 1849 with Bishop George Augustus Selwyn, who was the bishop of Melanesia.
Today, there are nearly 200,000 Anglicans out of an estimated population of over 800,000 in two countries, and a newly formed parish in Nouméa, New Caledonia.
The spiritual head of the church is the Archbishop of Melanesia. This office was held by The Most Rev'd Sir Ellison Pogo for fourteen ears until his retirement in December 2008. The post is currently vacant, awaiting a new appointment.
Each diocese except for Central Melanesia (the Honiara area) is divided into regions, each headed by a senior priest. The regions are further subdivided into parishes or districts (the two words being interchangeable), headed by a parish priest, usually called a rector.
Parishes may be subdivided into sub-parishes, headed by assistant priest. Catechists are lay people appointed by a local community and authorised by the bishop to take services and look after the spiritual life of a village.
A local variant of the Book of Common Prayer is used, called A Melanesian English Prayer Book. Its predecessor in local liturgical development was A Book of Common Prayer Authorised for Use in Churches and Chapels in the Diocese of Melanesia, first published in 1938.
The main belief of the Church of Melanesia's teaching is the life and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The basic teachings of the church are summed up in the Apostle's Creed and the Nicene Creed.
The focus of the Church's worship is the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, sometimes called 'the Mass', more usually 'Communion' or 'Communion service.' This is celebrate weekly wherever there is a priest and in some communities it is celebrated daily, except for Saturdays.
The Church in its canons accepts and teaches the seven sacraments of the Church, Baptism, Holy Eucharist, Confirmation, Penance, Holy Matrimony, Holy Orders, and Anointing of the Sick.
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