Posts Categorized: Religion & missions

New Tabago mission house to be funded through games

By Benjamin Heriberth Noibio

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Tabago Parish in Buin, South Bougainville is preparing to host a games festival to raise funds for a new mission house.

There are plans for the new mission house to be constructed opposite the huge church building, since the old one is derelict and must be dismantled.

The new mission house will be used especially by priests, church workers, sisters, and other lay workers of the parish.

Community fundraising was also crucial to the construction of the giant church building, which is considered the biggest church building in Bougainville.

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The games will get underway on 21 June and will comprise of soccer, volleyball, taekwondo, boxing and athletics.

People from lower and upper Konnou have been encouraged take part in any sporting codes.

Soccer and volleyball teams in Kugala have started training in advance while the other teams will begin this week.

“The overall idea is to contribute funds to erect a new building and remove the old one that is risky to be used,” said Mr Soow, the captain of Teem Kugala.

Team Meira and Siupa are trying to form one single team to challenge all the soccer teams that are coming for the competition.

Tabago Primary School teachers have taken responsibility for organising the event.

Mr Soow stated that he wants to see competitive teams so that players will be selected to Buin town in December this year. He said that Team Tabago, which represented us last month in Buin, was defeated by Malabita Sharks, the current champions of Buin.

 

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Tabago Sunday market discontinued for Sabbath

By Benjamin Heriberth Noibio

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The Sunday market in Tabago is no longer a weekly occurrence in order to conform to Sunday law, which states that no one should be working and making money because it is a day of rest and worship.

The Sunday market in Tabago was started after crisis to provide services people, who travel far from the mountains of Pogisago and Leuro range to Tabago Parish for Sunday services. Since then mothers from the nearby villages thought it is acceptable to have Sunday markets in the Parish.

Local leaders have changed this to enforce Sunday law. They feel the whole week is dedicated to making other businesses, except Sunday which is dedicated to worship the living God.

“We come here to worship, therefore I do not want to see mothers selling food,” said Mr Nannou, a church worker of Tabago Parish.

“Everyone should come with something to eat after church service.”

Church elders and the parish chairman reiterated that Sunday law should not be breached.

“It a sin to breach the law, we all will be punished at the end,” Said Chairman Nabaam last week.

He also stated that young people today fail when it comes to attire, often wearing clothes which are unacceptable in Sunday services.

The discontinuation of Sunday market was a burden to the many who got used to the system and there have been complaints coming up from mothers about the change.

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The First Communion – an important rite of passage

309-eucharist-bougainvilleBy Ancitha Semoso

For many Christians the Eucharist and the Holy Communion is a rite of passage, the third of the seven sacraments.

Each year primary school students from Bougainville participate in these significant ceremonies.

On Sunday 22nd June 2014, 33 students from Lonahan Primary School received their first holy communion.

The grade four students confirmed to the Catholic Church that they have acquired all the necessary teachings of the church before the sacrament was given, which was witnessed by more than 60 people from the community and the parish as a whole.

Students go through three months of preparation by the church leader responsible for the lessons of confession.

For the students at Lonahan Primary this was Mr Michael Gira, who took them every Sunday after church to learn the ways of confession and the basic prayers for before and after confession.

The day is also a celebration of all the hard works from all the parties involved, namely; the Eucharistic Minister, the Lonahan Primary School Grade Four Teachers, Parents of the students and the community as a whole for the support on one hand then the other to make the event a successful and memorable one.

The choir for that celebration was led by the Lonahan Primary School students themselves with the help of guitarist from within the community.

At the end of the service, Fr Austin encouraged the students to exercise the sacrament whenever the mass is celebrated and for parents to embrace the important role of guiding their children in their spiritual aspects of life.

Communion is an amazing event in most of our lives because it reminds everyone that receiving the body of Christ is an important phenomenon and belief of being in the Catholic Church.

On that day in 2014, the church did not only  welcome the students for whom it was their first time to receive the body and blood of Christ but also reviewed the older members of the Church to live a holistic life to serve the Lord in everything they do.

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Sorcery phobia holds back development

By Leonard Fong Roka

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Since the early 1990s Bougainville has had its share of the duty of ridding itself from suspected sorcerers. Such a mission materialized as Bougainvillean men had the revolutionized status as defenders of the community during the early days of the Bougainville Crisis.

As I remember, there was a spontaneous rise in the number of killings related to sorcery across the troubled island in the early 90s. Most were done by the armed men who had the power over Bougainville at that time.

“Sorcery is just the people’s thinking,” one victim of sorcery suspicion from Panguna told me.

“They just cannot explain my way of life in relation to our community interactions and events experienced, thus I am isolated as a sorcerer causing them sufferings or setbacks.”

This person had repeatedly narrowly escaped death from his own relatives. From his words I see light that Bougainville needs to see. From Buka to Buin, we need light as to where we stand in our belief in sorcery and our struggle to bring Bougainville forward.

In the root we should know that we had religions of our own before white men came and introduced his kind of religion. This brings to us the problem of ‘dual affiliations’ to Christianity and the traditional religions of our ancestors.

Our thinking is caught in an entanglement and the more self-centred we are, the more we are troubled.

Our minds combine Christianity and the traditional belief systems, thus it cannot work out the right over wrong so easily. That means our minds are blocked off and placed on the extreme troubled position thus we see our own failures as spiritually engineered by others in our midst.

When likeminded persons get together and share and spread their fantasies, fear engulfs communities and eventually an innocent man or woman becomes the victim.

Recently women have also been accused for being sorcerers and they have been killed. According to Bishop Don Lippert (2015) in Mendi, public torturing of woman is not part of our culture but rather it is a pornographic perversion which masquerades as culture or custom. This is really sad and as a Bougainvillean I would be ashamed to hold a woman responsible for misfortune of my own.

In some areas of Bougainville sorcerers have canteens; sorcerers are in the classroom as students; and in certain sections of the village, lived sorcerers.  People do not want to build better houses because there is a sorcerer watching them. Thus they have to remain in the squalid homes just like the sorcerer.

In Bougainville, the poorest communities tend to have many more sorcery believers than the affluent communities. The disadvantaged communities I lived in have also divided their areas and even persons between sorcerers and non-sorcerers.

My dear daughter Dollorose passed away in September of 2015. Soon afterwards her tomb was surrounded with a 2-metre high fence at Nakorei Village in Buin. This was in fear of sorcerers coming and destroying her body or spirit, but I was not entirely sure of this myself.

Since September until today, family members are still not sleeping in peace and for to them we have to secure the tomb with a heavy concrete to put the sorcerers off.

I did asked once why this was happening and my partner told me it was because sorcerers will dig into the tomb so it has to be guarded until we have a concrete over the tomb. She told a tale of a sorcerer that dug up a grave at Kanauro Village. Thus I followed her story to Kanauro and of more than five people I asked to confirm the tale told, not one knew such an event occurring in their community or to a dead relative.

I feel free in my area of the Panguna District since we hardly talk about sorcerers and sorcery, but life is too hard in Buin since I am glued from moving freely by imaginary fears of a non-existent killing machine.

This keeps back us from developing and doing good things for ourselves and our communities; and in the long run, Bougainville will not see progress since we the people are locked in our private fantasy worlds of fear, but our fears are unfounded in reality.

Our imaginations holding us back from advancing at the individual level and the community level for the overall good of Bougainville. This is the twenty first century but Bougainvilleans who are crying for an independent nation are succumb into the pit of the prehistorical quagmire that is irrelevant for advancement.

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A leader of peace – Pastor Movo passes away

By Ishmael Palipal

Pastor Steven speaking at the funeral in Kaabaku.

Pastor Steven speaking at the funeral in Kaabaku.

On Sunday 29th November, the late Pastor Uzzaiah Movo, a significant Bougainvillean leader was laid to rest in Arawa, Central Bougainville.

As a church leader before and after the Bougainville war, he was a role model and important figure in the development of Bougainville. He was part of the Bougainville peace building and government process in the region.

According to Pastor Francis Munau, it was Pastor Movo who dedicated the constitution as a Christian region into God’s hands during the dedication of the Bougainville Constitution.

Late Pastor Movo was also a council member in the Arawa Urban Council committee. He had many good influences in many people’s live in Bougainville and Papua New Guinea as a church leader and a community leader.

As stated by Pastor Steven Manganai, during his funeral service Sunday in Arawa, death is natural as birth and God has already pre-destined us in his eternal plan.

Pastor Mangani continued to say that the body is created by God to carry the spirit of life and when his purpose is done on earth, God takes back his spirit out of the body.

After the service, the body of this Bougainville prominent leader was laid to rest at a cemetery in Kaabaku area, some distance up from Arawa town in Central Bougainville.

I wish to extend my personal condolences to the departing leader’s immediate family in Arawa.

May his wonderful soul rest in eternal peace.

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Sohano SDA Church holds open day for Pathfinders

640-sda-churchBy Daphney Toke

The Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Church of Sohano held an open-day for Pathfinders on Saturday, the 12th of September.

The open-day followed a weeklong programme in which all Pathfinders, parents, and church members participated.

Pathfinders is a segment of the SDA church that is specifically concerned with children between the ages of 10-15 and works with them to provide social, cultural and religious education.

Pathfinders and their class teachers put on colourful uniforms during their open-day and marched into the church building with their flags flying high to lead out in the Sabbath school programmes.

The programme was very interesting as each child presented their prepared topics in line with the theme, ‘signs of the time’, as they quote texts from the bible. It was amazing to see teenagers preaching the word of God to the crowd and encouraging them to be aware of what is coming ahead.

According to the Pathfinder Director, Anita Komba, who introduced the programme and activities of the day, a Pathfinder is a person seeking and learning the rightful path to Christ.

The objectives of a Pathfinder in the SDA church, as stated by the director, are to lead boys and girls to Christ and to be active and loyal to church activities, guide them in active missionary service, to provide a positive church-centred programme, to develop good character and citizenship, to promote pathfinder club activities and to give guidance in rational social, mental, social and spiritual growth as pathfinders.

The Pathfinder director also challenged parents to help out with church activities and help out in teaching the classes. She said parents have a big responsibility as the first teachers of their children, therefore they should always be active as well in all church programmes including the Pathfinder programmes so that their children are brought up in a godly manner and be good citizens of the country.

Churches in Bougainville play a critical role in human development and programmes such as the Pathfinder programme are vital in the wider Bougainville community for the children of the present generation to replace the old crisis-affected mindsets and do bigger and greater things for Bougainville in a godly manner.

Church teachings will also help the young ones to develop good character and citizenship as they grow up and they make good decisions in the best interest of their community and Bougainville as a whole. As children grow in a spiritual environment, criminal activities shall be minimized to allow a more harmonious society.

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Giant church a symbol of peace to Konnou people

By Benjamin Heriberth Noibio

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The biggest church building in Bougainville is located in Tabago Parish in the Konnou Constituency of Buin.

It is a Catholic Church building that can cater for more than a thousand heads. The building is approximately 100m, measured from the back to the front.

During the Bougainville Crisis a smaller one was burned to ashes when the civilians from Tabago care centre were shifted to Buin Town by the Papua New Guinea Defence Force.

The post-conflict building is much bigger than the previous one and it is the biggest church building in the whole region.

The foundation of the Church was started in 2002 and construction was completed in the middle of 2006.

Damien Koike, commander of Mekamui defence force, was working with the architect of the building, the late Peter Siupui, in leading the carpenters to lay the foundations.

The giant building reflects a true Christian faith of the people of Konnou, especially the surrounding communities of Tabago Parish.

The official opening of the building was witnessed by representatives of different denominations in Bougainville, including people from the island of Nissan and that day is still remembered well today by the parishioners.

During the Konnou Conflict attendees of the Sunday worship in Tabago Parish faced tragedies and the building seemed to become quiet on worship days.

However the conflict did not put a full stop to all the parishioners and many continued to attend church services and pray for peace until November 2011, when the Konnou conflict ended as fighters from all the factions signed a peace treaty in Mogoroi.

The Church is still shining in the middle of Tabago Parish; a symbol of peace for smiling faces from the people of Konnou.

 

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Prominent couple to contest two seats in the 2015 election

By Winterford Toreas

Scholastica Miriori gives her support to her husband during his nomination in Arawa.
Scholastica Miriori gives her support to her husband during his nomination in Arawa.

A married couple in Bougainville will individually contest two constituency seats in the 2015 Bougainville election.

Businessman Martin Miriori and his wife Scholastica have nominated for the respective seats of Ioro, in Panguna district of central Bougainville, and Tsitalato, in Buka.

Their decision to both contest seats is historic as no couple has ever stood for Bougainvillean parliament in same election.

Mr Miriori, who is the older brother of the late ABG president, Joseph Kabui, unsuccessfully contested the ABG presidential seat in the past elections, but this time around he has put his hands up to contest the seat in his constituency.

Another interesting highlight of this election is that two brothers will run against each other in their constituency seat.

Candidate Jerry Kavop and his younger brother Kout are contesting the Tonsu constituency seat in Buka Island.

The 2015 election will also see a number of catholic priests run for parliament.

Fr Joseph Nabuai had created history in 2013 as the first serving priest to be voted into parliament following his election victory during the by-election in the Lule constituency seat in south Bougainville.

Fr Nabuai will be defending his seat in this election and he will be joined by two other serving priests.

Former Vicar-General of the Bougainville Catholic Diocese, Fr John Bosco Kensi, will contest the Atolls constituency seat in north Bougainville while Fr Simon Dumarinu is eyeing presidential seat.

Fr Bosco hails from Carterets Island while Fr Simon Dumarinu comes from the Ioro constituency in the Panguna district of central Bougainville.

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Joint project brings bibles to Konnou constituency

By Veronica Hannette

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Bougainville Police Service has combined with Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) Health Minister, Mrs Rose Pihei, to stabilize law and order in the South Bougainville, particularly the Konnou Constituency of Buin.

The Konnou crisis was an internal conflict which erupted in 2006 and formally ended with a ceasefire in 2013.

Due to the Konnou’s internal conflict and ongoing tensions in the region Minister Pihei, the police and the Division of Community Development worked in partnership to eradicate the root of the conflict and bring peace to the people.

The Minister teamed up with Wantok Radio Light at the height of the crisis to bring Bibles to Konnou area to assist with rehabilitation.

Bougainville Acting Police Commissioner, Mr Paul Kamoi, said during that time of conflict in Konnou he was still in command in South Bougainville and the Autonomous Bougainville Government and the Bougainville Police service initiated the idea finding solutions to maintain law and order.

He said it was through the Radio Light program that they were able to receive over a thousand Tok Pisin Bibles to help rehabilitate the people.

Mr Kamoi mentioned that those Bibles are part of the police pastoral work as well that will be given to Minister Pihei for distribution.

The handing of the bibles from Mr Kamoi to Minister Pihei was done at the Buka Police Station on Friday 19 December.

Meanwhile, plans are in place to fit Radio Light equipment into Digicel towers so that the region has access to the Christian radio station.

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Pastor tells election candidates to use resources for the people

By Ishmael Palipal


People listening to the man of God in the church building in Biroi, Bana District of South Bougainville.

 

A Zion worship congress was hosted by Biroi village in the Bana District of South Bougainville from 1-4 January 2015.

The congress was an exciting way to welcome the New Year in Biroi and people crowded the village willingly to listen the plans of God for 2015.

Pastor Steven Joash of Biroi Church took the opportunity to speak about the upcoming ABG election. He stated that leaders who decide to stand must refocus themselves and decide where they are going to put the people’s resources once they are elected into the government.

“Are you going to use the money for the other purposes that will not promote God’s glory on earth? Or use it well to serve its purpose by serving the people and giving to God what belongs to him,” Pr Joash said.

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