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Archbishop of Canterbury's Trip to Melanesia 19 July to July 27

Friday 2nd July 2004

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, will pay his respects at the graves of the seven martyred Melanesian Brothers during a visit to the Church of the Province of Melanesia next month.

Dr Williams will visit the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu in the course of an eight-day visit covering six of the eight Anglican dioceses in the archipelago.

The visit is at the invitation of the Primate of the Province, the Most Revd Sir Ellison Pogo, Bishop of Central Melanesia. It represents the first visit of an Archbishop of Canterbury to Vanuatu and follows the last visit paid by an Archbishop of Canterbury to the Solomon Islands in 1977. Dr Williams will spend time with communities and congregations of the 250,000-member Anglican Province as well as with church and civic leaders.

The Church in Melanesia's contribution towards reconciliation during the recent tensions in the Solomon Islands will be highlighted on Thursday 22nd July when Dr Williams will visit the Melanesian Brotherhood headquarters at Tabalia. He will lead prayers at the graves of seven members of the Melanesian Brotherhood who were killed last year during peace efforts on the Weather Coast of Guadalcanal.

Dr Williams said he was glad for the opportunity to support the Anglican church in Melanesia. "Although this may be the smallest province in our Communion, its devotion to the faith is unquestioned. Its commitment to the difficult work of peace making and reconciliation in the recent past has been a shining example of the light of Christ shining in the darkness."

Dr Williams will be accompanied by Dr Herman Browne, the Archbishop's Secretary for Anglican Communion Affairs, the Revd Jonathan Jennings, the Archbishop's Press Secretary and Canon James Rosenthal, Director of Communications for the Anglican Communion.

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