Recognising this need, a bishops’ school was organized in August 2016 for the eight diocesan bishops and the bishop elect for Temotu. The conference, which was facilitated by the Diocese of Auckland, was supported by the Melanesian Mission Trust Board and the NZ Advisory Council. It was held at the Poppys on the Lagoon, Port Vila, Vanuatu from 15 to 19 August 2016.
The topics covered during the conference include ‘Bishop as a leader and pastor, matters concerning the Liturgy, governance, discipline, collaborative leadership, transparency, and understanding the constitution of the Church. There were also sessions on the Melanesian Trust and its performance over the years and its future.
Facilitators for the different sessions include the two bishops of Auckland diocese, a bishop from the Tikanga Maori, the Bishop of Hawaii, the Chancellor of the ACoM, and members of the Melanesian Mission Trust Board.
The Conference opened with a colorful liturgy on Sunday 14 August at the Church of the Resurrection, Tagabe Parish, Port Vila. The service was presided over by the Archbishop, The Most Revd George Takeli, with the homily delivered by the Rt. Revd Robert Fitzgerald, the Bishop of Hawaii.
On Wednesday 17 August, the bishops paid a courtesy visit on the Head of State of the Republic of Vanuatu, Anglican Priest, Revd Baldwin Lonsdale. During the visit, the President took the occasion to formally thank the Church and its partners for its support to the country after the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Pam. The President also acknowledged the Church for its role in training the human resources of the country, many of whom have gone to hold senior position in the country. He also reminded the Church that our two countrries, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands, need God-fearing leaders and the Church must play its role in grooming such leaders.
All bishops who attended the training spoke highly of the initiative and that they have discovered much on how they can effectively perform their roles as bishops of the Church.