The story of the Pwaisiho family: Bishop William, his wife Kate, and their five children.
[Note: This text has been transcribed from a booklet sold, in aid of the Melanesian Mission, following Bishop Willie’s departure to become Rector of Gawsworth.]
This is the story of the Pwaisiho family – William and Kate and their five children: Barbara aged 22, Lorraine 21, William 19, Hornald 16 and Kate 15.
William, then Bishop of Malaita, and Kate came to England in 1988 for the Lambeth Conference. At that time William was Chairman of the Melanesian Board of Mission, and a link was made between Melanesia and the Diocese of Chester. Bishops from Chester and from Melanesia have exchanged visits a number of times and two Melanesian Brothers visited St Anne’s a few years ago.
In 1997 William and Kate with their three youngest children came to England and to St. Anne’s with St Francis.
From the ‘Chester Diocesan News’, Welcome to Bishop William and Kate
We are delighted to welcome Bishop William Pwaisiho, his wife Kate, and three of their five children: William, Hornald and Kate, to Chester Diocese. They will live in the parish of St. Anne’s, Sale during their two year stay, and Bishop William will be active in both the parish and the diocese. He has already visited the diocese, and those who met him then will recall his vibrant personality and his very humorous talks. As living here is very different from visiting, the family will need help in settling into Cheshire life. Learning to cope with traffic, supermarkets, and many other things could present a real challenge. Kate may welcome a hand with the shopping, while the young people will be grateful for friends their own age.
Message to St. Anne’s Congregation, ‘The Spire’
3, Windermere Avenue, Sale
Now that the arrival of our new Curate, Fr. William Pwaisiho, is on the horizon, we shall need to prepare the house for the family. The house will need internal decoration (mostly emulsion paint) and the garden a good tidy-up. In addition, the Pwaisihos will not be able to ship a whole houseful of furniture from the Solomon Islands. If you have any furniture, crockery, curtains etc. you are replacing in the next few months, we would be grateful if you could donate them for the Curate's house. We realise they will get odds and ends, but in the circumstances that is inevitable. It would also be good to hear from anyone with a van or trailer who could help with transporting larger items.
Under The Spire, “The Spire”
WELCOME to St. Anne with St. Francis
Four weddings and ......No!  On Monday 29 September it was four bishops (really 5 counting William) and a wonderful evening when we rejoiced to welcome the Rt. Rev. William Pwaisiho who was licensed as our curate and as an assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Chester. With him was his wife Kate and daughter Kate, both members of the Mothers Union in the Solomon Islands and now received into our own branch. Both, and also the two boys, William and Hornald, were wearing headbands made with the white teeth of dolphins and Kate was wearing a long necklace, her dowry, which her father, Chief of their island had made with real shell discs (shell money).
Our three Bishops, Chester, Birkenhead and Stockport, tall to start with and taller still in their mitres, had to stoop to enter the church by the North door. The Rt. Rev. Alan Winstanley, formerly a Bishop in South America, was like a ray of sunshine in his colourful, golden yellow cope and mitre. Our vicar Peter took the service, Evensong, crisp and meaningful as usual. The Bishop of Chester preached the sermon and Albert and the choir led us - may I say - boisterously in the Magnificat and hymns of praise and thanksgiving, Psalm 91 and that joyous song, Brother let me be your servant, Let me be as Christ to you.
There was much greeting of old friends including Desmond and Jennifer Probets  (the Suttons’ predecessors at Timperley ). They worked in Melanesia, met and married there. Desmond taught in the theological college and was the first Dean of St. Barnabas Cathedral. He also taught in a boys school. One of his students was William Pwaisiho!
It is perhaps appropriate that this wonderful service was on 29 September, the feast of St Michael and all Angels- Michael, captain of the host of heaven and protector and guardian of Christians. Monday was a service we shall never forget. If you were riot there, I'm sorry: you missed a treat!
Notes:  This is a reference to a contemporary film, “Four Weddings and a Funeral”.  The Probets now live at Penistone, and last year -1998 -William officiated at the marriage of their daughter, Emma.  John Sutton was a former Vicar of St. Anne’s.
William writes, in “The Spire”
In 1981 I was travelling to New Zealand to prepare myself to become a Bishop in Malaita Diocese, Solomon Islands. As we left Fiji for Auckland, we heard from the pilot that we had to turn back as the plane could not get to the right height. So we returned to Fiji, which was very frustrating.
There was an Archbishop, an English clergy-trained man who in the early 1930s went to Papua New Guinea as a missionary. I knew him very well and so wished to use the opportunity to learn from him some of his experiences as a Bishop of thirty years in Papua New Guinea. As we sat at the airport in Fiji for two hours without any information about what was happening to passengers, I said to my friend the Archbishop of Papua New Guinea, “As you know I am going to New Zealand for my retreat and preparation for being a Diocesan Bishop in Melanesia; what would be your advice to me?” He looked at me with a smile and said, “Well, I will give you very good advice, given to me in London when I was interviewed as a young priest by the Papua New Guinea representative.” He was told to take nothing with him except three things: 1. God’s love. 2. Patience and 3. A sense of humour. How true this advice was for a young missionary.
My family and I are here to say how true were these three marks of English missionaries to us in Melanesia. The love the English church had displayed, we harvest today; the patience the English church had in teaching and guiding us, we harvest today; and the English humour you taught us in the past we enjoy freely today.
On our arrival in the parish, we are overwhelmed by the love and support you have given us, which we know is very costly. We have experienced already in your midst, being wanted. A lot of things we do not understand so thank you for being missionaries to us while we are here. If there was an examination to be set for mission work in Melanesia, I would not hesitate to recommend very highly St Anne’s and St Francis’ congregations, the vicar and his wife, as preferred missionaries.
We are not surprised to discover this powerful family spirit displayed in the parish, for the Vicar has a clear signal at the helm-“The Way Ahead Together” is our hymn but we must sing to the same tune.
Please allow us to call you Brothers and Sisters because of Him. Thank you for your love, patience and humour.
There has been, and still is, a constant two-way traffic between Chester Diocese and Melanesia.
The Baughans - Michael & Myrtle - when Michael was Bishop of Chester, went several times to Solomon Islands. Many others have gone and stayed at Chester House in Honiara. Esther Langrish, the wife of the Bishop of Birkenhead went to Melanesia to start the Listening Skills Training Course at the Provincial Mothers’ Union Conference held in Ysabel Diocese and in Honiara. It proved to be very worthwhile.
Tony & Alison Sparham worked for two years in Melanesia, and Tony is now Rector of Wilmslow.
In the other direction - coming to this country - are the Melanesian Brothers.
The Melanesian Brotherhood was started in 1925 by a Melanesian police officer who became a Christian and wanted to take the Gospel to his own people in Guadal Canal. The Brotherhood was the spearhead of evangelism for the conversion of the heathen in the South Pacific, and they are now going to the Philippines. The Brotherhood now has 450 members and 150 novices, including some in Papua New Guinea. They acknowledge the need for better training in modern educational methods and the need for equipment, including books and pens!
In the year 2000, twelve Melanesian Brothers will come to this country to share their faith with us in the Diocese of Chester.
Writing in the Chester Diocesan News in August 1998, Peter Haslam describes his visit to the Solomon Islands, starting in Honiara, the chief town of Guadalcanal.
Vehicles weave all over the road in an effort to reduce the jarring effect of the potholes. This is a Third World Country.
We’d never previously been garlanded with fresh flowers, so this was a new but delightful experience - to be repeated so many times - that of being very warmly welcomed by happy faces. Sometimes the welcome looked anything but: warriors in war paint sprang from behind trees and bushes, yelling at us and brandishing spears. It was a timely reminder that the Solomon Islands have only been Christianised since the early half of the 19th century - and that those first Christians were martyred for their devotion to the Gospel imperative. Today the islands are Christian, with Anglicans, Methodists and Roman Catholics. The first Sunday found us in the open-sided Anglican Cathedral of St Barnabas, in Honiara, with a thousand Islanders at Morning Eucharist. No organ or instruments of any kind. Just voices in harmony - a unique sound repeated in worship throughout the hundreds of Islands.
As you look out from the balcony of Chester House, the distant horizon is broken by the purple outline of mountains on Ysabel, Savo, Florida Island and Malaita, the latter we reached in a Twin Otter which touched down in a forest clearing! Our purpose was to meet villagers from that island to prepare a new Sunday School syllabus. One man walked for four hours to be there, and then back home again. He repeated this the next day. Now what does that say about commitment?
This was just one of many humbling experiences since eight ordinary folk were frequently treated like royalty, indeed had we been ‘Royals’, they could not have done more for us; welcomed, greeted by every villager, and after worshipping together, treated to a feast, danced to and in one village presented with a magnificent piece of bridal shell money.... but given to us to bring back to Chester Diocese!
The adventure ran on, in the back of trucks, by canoe, by Bible Society ketch (in a South East trade wind!), by minibus - but always with the same end product, the smiling faces of happy people, who ‘having nothing, yet possessing all things’, is the Pauline phrase descriptive of their lifestyle. A village of no more than a hundred folk in extended family or ‘wantok’, is a people in community, who spear their fish from dugout canoes, who grow their food, who make their houses - a collective act - and who may have chickens or even a pig. The people rejoice in their God, though we did visit a village on the coast where sharks are still worshipped.
They are enormously grateful for Chester House which we used, and is very well used throughout the week. A meeting place downstairs and travellers accommodation upstairs make it an excellent asset for the Church of Melanesia whose principle liturgy is modelled on Rite A but whose Lord’s Prayer has “.... for yours is rule, the power and the glory ....” because have never had kingdoms, and don't know they are.
They do know that vestments and decorations for their churches are expensive, so if ‘out there’ are those of you who would like contribute towards the cost of a new church or could make and/or donate lightweight robes, Chasubles and Stoles, Chalices. Patens, candle frames and stands, metal flower vases, thuribles for incense or even a generator, do contact us and we'll redirect your efforts as we cement the links with these delightful Solomon Islanders.
LIFE IN A SOLOMON ISLAND VILLAGE by KATE and WILLIAM PWAISIHO.
In Solomon Islands, people live in villages some of which are large and others small. A large village would have between 500 and 1000 people and a small village would have up to 30.
In every village there is a church building where the community goes to worship every morning and evening. There are laymen and women who take the services.
In village life different responsibilities belong to women, men, girls and boys. The girls learn their role from the older women and the boys learn theirs from the men. Learning is done through involving and in that way everyone passes on their knowledge from generation to generation. A villager must know about everything since the entire world is in his/her hands, e.g.
a) Everyone knows how to garden and plant different types of crops. b) Everyone knows how to weave baskets and mats. c) Everyone knows how to fish using nets, etc. d) Everyone knows how to build their own houses with local materials. e) Everyone knows how to make a canoe. f) Everyone knows how to feed pigs. g) Everyone knows how to hunt. h) Everyone knows how to climb a coconut tree and other trees which provide food.
So there is a general knowledge of almost everything in a villager’s world. There is no such thing as specialist work even though some people are and can be more skilful than others.
The Role of the Village Chief. To keep law and order in every village, there is a tribal Chief who is like a dictator sometimes. The whole tribe must be loyal to him at all times. His decision is final in every aspect of life affecting his village and tribe. Even a murder could be settled by a Chief before Christianity came. Today only small disputes between tribes and families can be solved by the Chief.
Men’s Role. In general men play the role of headship in a family - this happens where our family comes from. Men do most of the harder jobs like cutting trees, building houses, making canoes, digging the gardens, hunting and fishing and climbing for coconuts etc. When a man can prove he is good at these things, he is ready to find a wife.
Women’s Role. In general, the busiest person in a village is a woman. She keeps the garden tidy, the home, the care of the children, the meals and the comfort to make the family happy. A good woman who knows her role will run her home well and keep it in good order. The powerful person in every family is the woman. The family must eat what is put before them - no arguments.
Youth. In general, young men and women in a village do not have status. If a young man or woman wants to have status, it only comes through marriage. Every married man and woman has respect and status. But these young men and women are the message carriers of the village and their role is to carry out all that the elders of the village say and plan. There are no arguments, they just carry out orders from the elders and that is what is expected of them. Village youths work very hard and get things done quickly, so the village programmes run smoothly and on time.
Village Sharing. This is one of the greatest values in village life. Everyone shares with one another. Every meal is always shared with other families. If a family caught some fish and are eating fish for their dinner, they have to share the fish when it is cooked with others in the village. This is done everyday.
Minding of Children. In a village little children are cared for by other relatives even from the age of six months. The mother could go out for a couple of hours and her children would be fed, bathed and put to sleep by other relatives in the village. Children are cared for by everyone in the village, every home is free and food is provided at anytime if one needs it. There is no such thing as breakfast, morning tea, lunch etc. There is no rule about food and eating.
Marriage. In real Melanesian culture, it is the responsibility of the parents to choose the bride for their son. This practice was done even to us. It was William’s parents who first approached Kate’s parents to ask if their daughter could marry their son. They broke the news to us and it was only then that we knew and began to take an interest in each other and we began to write to each other.
According to our custom, to be asked to marry someone is a great honour for every girl. For a young man to be wanted and accepted by a chiefly family is a pride and honour. This tradition is dying out since our young men and women move more freely in schools and their work place. We are proud and are pleased about our parent’s wisdom in choosing us to be partners.
[Will it be the same for your children? “No”, said William, “We shall let them choose their own”!]
Bearing children. Neither our parents nor us ever experienced hospital birth. Our mothers gave birth in the village at the back of the house on banana leaves with no mid-wife, no antiseptic and no scissors. They used sharp bamboo to cut the cord.
On the main land, sometimes a mother would give birth in the garden whilst gardening if she had not calculated her times and dates properly.
On the island out in the lagoon sometimes women give birth in a canoe whilst paddling to a clinic to give birth. And so for us in the past and even today in most of our villages, this is the practice.
Sterilization and Family Planning. In the villages, women do not use any of the modern methods.
There are three ways which they mostly use:
1. The husband will leave home for one or two years whilst the child is weaned so there is a complete refrain from any form of contact with the family. In the village he has to sleep out every night at the men’s house where they sing and talk and sleep away from their wives. 2. There is a local herb which can sterilize a woman for good. 3. The couple would approach their Priest and make known their wish and they would pray to God to stop them from having any more children (this is not taught at college). This is what they believe and so it works.
Today when our old people hear of modern medicine, they would say we are faithless and don't trust God who has all the power to give and to withhold.
Illness and Sickness. To be ill in the village with no medication is tough and everyone depends on the saving grace of God. Praying for the sick and physical healing is always the normal practice. Any sickness that cannot be healed even after prayers, laying on of hands and anointing with holy oil is seen as a sign that the person must be ready to die.
Our people more readily accept death as a normal way of life thus making it easier for Priests pastorally.
Death. This usually happens in the home of the sick person and everyone in the village when going out to work in their gardens or any other work know that death is getting nearer to that relative.
The whole family would be holding on to their relative in his dying moments and would be crying for him and talking to him. The dying person would also be telling them that he is ready to go to his maker and redeemer. The dying always wait for prayers to be said for them before they die. We have seen this time and time again.
The period the dead body is kept in the home with the family is two nights. The community and the nearby villagers will gather over the next three days or so supporting the family until burial at the end of which a feast is held and everyone dismisses except for the very close relatives who will be sleeping with the family for the next forty nights.
The corpse would lie in an open coffin and everyone sleeps around it. It helps the family to get over their mourning since they are looking at the dead body, touching it and crying over it for those number of days the body lies in state.
Christianity/Religion. Solomon Island is known as a Christian country. We are grateful to the Church of England for sending us missionaries over the past 150 years. We are now a free people who can travel from island to island, village to village and sleep on our beaches, mountains and rivers free from fear of being killed, witch-craft, magic or being killed by wild crocodiles and eaten by sharks.
In every village the largest building is the church, where the village gather to pray every morning and every evening. Christianity is in the hands of lay people, they ring the bell, and lead the morning and evening prayers. The whole family goes to church every day in the village. The front rows are for all the children. Our services are too long sometimes and the children go to sleep in their pews and are wakened up at the end of the service. In Solomon Islands, we function in this order: a) Christianity, b) Culture, c) Politics.
Education. Everyone is encouraged to go to school but depending on whether the family wants their children to go to school. A lot of village children do not go to school. A very few families encourage their children to go to school. The system is as follows:
1. Kindergarten, Age 3 - 5 2 Primary, Age 6, Standards 1 - 6 3. Junior Secondary, Age 12, Forms I - III 4. Senior Secondary, Age 15, Forms IV V VI 5 University 1st Year, Form VII, College 6. University for Degree Programme.
Health and Sanitation. A. Water: Village people collect their drinking water from clean running streams everyday. It is the work of young boys and girls to collect the water. Today water supplied by pipe to a village is a luxury and makes life easier for everyone especially for young children and old people.
B. Sanitation. This is where it can be a problem for some villages. They sometimes dig dry pits to use. The people who live on the coast go to the sea. Today under WHO [World Health Organisation] health programme villages are provided with toilet slabs to use with water.
Farming/Gardening. In village gardening, it is a shift system. We clear a new area to plant a particular crop and after harvesting we leave that place for about five to ten years before coming back to use it again. This system is still done today. No machine except for a big knife and an axe. Sticks are used for making holes and mounds in the ground before planting. Nowadays some people use a hoe if they can afford one. The best present to give to any villager is a bush knife or an axe.
The village people live off the land, the rivers and the sea.
Village Hospitality. All visitors to the village stay free and food will be provided everyday until they leave. It is a shameful thing to any village to see strangers hungry. There is a house where all visitors can stay as long as they like. There is only one rule and that is keep your hands off the girls and the women. It can be very expensive to pay compensation.
Conclusion. Solomon Islands is a nice place to go to for holidays especially out in a village where you will experience real life and the world as it was created by God for us to enjoy.
It all started just 150 years ago, in 1849, when a young English missionary, George Augustine Selwyn, from the Lichfield diocese, sailed for New Zealand and then to the Solomon Islands.
It was a brave step! He found a wild uncivilised country and its people head-hunters and cannibals. Where to begin? How to tell them about Jesus Christ?
He chose a few young men and, in return for traded goods, took them to a Christian school - St. John’s College, Auckland, New Zealand - for training. Here he prayed that they would experience Christ and then return as evangelists to their own people. His prayer was answered.
Today the Province of Melanesia, which became an independent province in January 1975, covers the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia, with a membership of 164,000 in eight dioceses; and the Church has played a vital role in the social, economic and spiritual development of other Solomon Islands.
Bishop William pays tribute to George Augustine Selwyn who became the first New Zealand Bishop, and whose story is told to every generation born in the Anglican communion in Melanesia. Selwyn College is one of the top secondary schools in the country.
Tribute too, to the first Bishop of Melanesia, John Coleridge Patteson, who died a martyr’s death on 20 September 1871 on the island of Nukapu of the Santa Cruz archipelago.
“The Church of England, through its early missionaries, has helped evangelise Solomon Islands and brought the people out from ancestral worshipping”, writes Bishop William, who sees himself as a product of the early missionary work carried out by those young missionaries.
“Now”, he says “it’s mission in reverse. We are bringing back the Gospel to the people of England. The Church of England is now looking to us because of the young lively churches in our province and because of the simplicity we have. They want us to share our simple Christian faith with their people.”
And this, indeed, is what the Pwaisiho family are doing. Their neighbours, non-church goers, have brought their children to be baptised by William; so, too, a young couple attracted by the warmth and friendliness of William and his family; and a young woman after hearing William speak at a funeral has joined the church and been baptised and confirmed.
Christmas Greetings 1998
From: Bp Willie and Kate Pwaisiho
3 Windermere Avenue
This Christmas will be our second in Sale, UK, and we are looking forward to celebrating our Lord’s birth and giving thanks for God’s great gift to us in His son Jesus Christ.
To you, all our friends, we value your friendship and helpful ways during this year since our arrival in the UK on 25th August 1997. We want to say to you all wherever you are this Christmas, our prayer is that the love and peace of Jesus Christ, the child of Bethlehem may be in your soul and minds, giving you the light in the days ahead.
Much has happened during the past year and it has brought us a great deal of happiness and challenge.
The parish of St Anne’s and St Francis’ welcomed us with open arms, they prepared the house, the beds, cookery, cutlery and food. It was the end of summer and was warm but we started using the heaters. Solomon Islanders must adapt!
The 29th September 1997 was a colourful evening for St Anne’s Church and indeed the parish had never experienced the presence of five Bishops at Bishop Willie’s licensing as Curate in the parish of St Anne’s & St Francis’ Sale and Honorary Assistant Bishop in Chester at a Choral Evensong followed by coffee, tea, biscuits and cakes, the cakes were cooked by Kate.
Parish life is normal as one would expect with a large parish of over 20 thousand. Sunday Services are 3 Communions in the morning, 2 at St Anne’s and 1 at St Francis’. Choral evensong at 6pm at St Anne’s. Baptisms are either at 10am during Parish Communion or at 12noon on the last two Sundays of the month. The first Sunday is Baptism preparation for parents and godparents at 2pm. At the second Sunday Communion, the parish welcomes children to be baptised and their parents. The weekdays: Matins at 7.45am and Evensong at 5pm; and weekday Communions are on Wednesday at 10am, 11am is House Communion and 2pm Home Communion. These are old people’s homes and those who live in private houses and can not go to church, so we take the church to them. Fridays at 7.30am is Holy Communion and the Choir Practice 7.15 in the evening. Parish hour is every Wednesday night 7 to 8pm when parishioners come to arrange Baptisms and marriages. This takes place in the parish office and clergy sit in to serve those who come to arrange baptisms and weddings.
Congregations In the parish we have about five different congregations. On Sundays we have an 8am Holy Communion which consists of older members who favour a quiet style of Eucharist which uses the 1662 Prayer Book. This old English is rather difficult for me so I’m struggling.
The 10am Holy Communion congregation consists of all age groups and is a sung Eucharist with a full choir. The singing is always beautiful- church music is one of the most enjoyable parts of Church of England worship. The glorious sound of church organs and other instruments somehow allows one to be taken through a current of relaxation in enjoying the majesty of God’s goodness and wondrous love.
Sunday 6pm Evensong congregation consists of those whose spirituality favours that style- there are very few who would go to 8am or 10am and then come to evensong at 6pm.
Wednesdays 10am Holy Communion congregation are those who can only make it to church then because they are busy at work and other commitments; again there a few who would make their communion twice a week. Fridays 7.30am Holy Communion congregation consists of only 5 or 6 people including the clergy. This is my favourite morning service, especially in winter, since it is a real testing time to get up and out of bed in the cold morning. I suppose if s all in the mind- it is not bad if dressed properly anyway.
Well that is our different congregations who are dedicated in their worship. The sad part of it is that they do not meet each other.
Different strands of Anglicanism are very evident in the UK. First there are parishes who favour the catholic tradition such as wearing of vestments for Holy Communion, the use of crucifix and holy water, with different devotions including the devotion of the Blessed Sacrament and the use of incense and thurible. On the issue of ordination of women to the priesthood there are parishes who are not in favour of this and wish to remain Anglican catholic.
Secondly there are parishes which are both high church and evangelical- this type of parish can accommodate most people. The third group of parishes are those who are extremely evangelical, who don’t want to see the cross on the altar, nor vestments- all very casual: there is no aspect of mystery in the worship.
The fourth group of parishes are those who are charismatic and who have strong convictions about the work and guidance of the Holy Spirit This is a lively group and they seem to discuss their faith openly and to be very happy. They feel liberated and the laity are always useful as they pledge their talents to the service of God.
Unity among such parishes will take a long time, many generations, till it becomes reality. A lot of barriers need to be broken down with a lot of teaching to learn from each other and to appreciate each strand has a positive side to its approach to Christianity. But whatever we do, we must not lose sight of 1. Tradition- which is our authority 2. The Creeds which are our faith 3. The word of God, the Holy Bible For me these are guiding principles to orthodox Christianity which is what the world needs to learn and follow today.
Finance- the people in the UK must work hard every day to earn money to support their families, the church and their government. Every day you see people are busy travelling to work; this is a very hard life- time means money and money means life. Everything you get, every meeting you attend, someone is paying. This is a very responsible society. They support the church locally and overseas and the many different charitable organisations all doing good work. So let us pray for our churches overseas, for their labour and tireless giving.
There are several schools in the parish but only one is the Church of England aided school. Bp Willie helps in leading worship during their assembly either in the school hall or church. This is an area of concern, to lead young children to come to church, but children can only copy what their parents do. The parish has a Sunday School which meets every Sunday morning and comes in to receive the blessing during Communion. Confirmation is taken in the parish for any who want to be confirmed.
Bp Willie has never conducted so many funerals in his life until he came to Sale. He was stuck in the Crematorium a couple of mornings conducting a funeral service every half an hour. It is an experience, because it is a new congregation every half hour and time is very important here, none of those Melanesian long sermons. I understand now the advice I got from a wonderful priest I worked with in New Zealand, when he said, when preaching, remember the word KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid). And “you can make a saint in five minutes and a devil in ten”. It is worth remembering.
Home visiting is a great delight, to sit with the old people, the housebound, sick and bereaved even in the wet and cold windy times, praise God for his power and strength. To pray with people in their houses and homes breaks all the barriers, its a wonderful experience.
Bp Willie has found that some people do have reservations because they have never experienced the ministry of black clergy in the parish but being able to speak their language, pray and preach in English broke a lot of barriers. They always ask where did he learn English? When I tell them, “In the Solomon Islands,” another set of questions comes, “Where is that, in Africa?” To help English people, at least those who do not know where the Solomon Islands are, we talk about Guadal Canal, and World War 2 and the Battle in the South Seas, then they would immediately say yes, we know that. Maybe I should teach a few lessons of geography instead of preaching. I have come to realise that a lot of missionaries came from the south of England and Yorkshire above where we are in Manchester is in the centre.
The highlights of this year:-
1. Sat 24th January at 7.30pm. The Pwaisiho family made a presentation in the church hall, displaying maps, posters, literature, weaving and carvings, shell money and dowry, tropical foods and different dishes of puddings of taro, yam, cassava, kumara, banana, pumpkin, panna in coconut cream, paw paw and pineapple. There were island songs and a demonstration of traditional dancing by Bp. Willie.
2. Sat 28th Feb. Our family travelled from Manchester to London and then to Ham Common for the weekend with the Sisters of the Church on the occasion of Mother Judith’s retirement as Mother Superior of the Community and the induction of her successor, Mother Anita. Kate and I first visited the Headquarters of the Sisters of the Church in 1988, and now it is a good time to see it again and enjoy the hospitality, fellowship and worship of the Community. We were so thrilled to meet Srs Beryl, Judith and Sheila whom we knew in the Solomons.
3. Fri 6th March. Bp Willie conducted a weekend retreat for a group of men and women from Stalybridge at Parcevall Hall, Appletreewick, Skipton, North Yorkshire-arranged by Church Army Officer, Paul Taylor.
4. Mon 9th March. Son, William Walaodo Pwaisiho was the Solomon Islands flag bearer in Westminster at the Commonwealth Observance Day service. He was able to meet the Queen and even shook hands with Prime Minister Tony Blair after the service, who admired his traditional dress of shell money and dolphin teeth which he wore over his shirt.
5. Sat 25th April. The two Kates, Hornald and I accompanied the parish outing on a special visit to York city and the Minster. In the UK, all the cathedrals seem to be different from each other. York Minster is one of the great landmarks of English Christianity and of faith expressed in beauty and wonder as you admire the magnificent art in its stained glass windows. The shrines of Christian saints, and ordinary folk like us, who witnessed to the truth of the Gospel suffering martyrdom and heroic deaths, make church history come alive and encourage present and future generations to play our part in adding to the chain of saints here and now. An interesting experience in York Minster was that one of the people who was on duty to help the many visitors who come to York, when we introduced ourselves and said that we come from Melanesia, was thrilled and shed tears of joy because he was a great supporter of the Melanesian Mission for many years but had never met any Melanesians. It was like a re-union for Melanesia. We in Melanesia are very fortunate to know that a lot of people in the UK do support us through prayers and giving- a good example is the man we met who had supported us for over 50 years.
6. April 30th. Kate and I travelled to Wareham in Dorset to visit Fr Tony and Sally Carter, Fr Richard Carter’s parents. Richard is the chaplain and tutor at Melanesia Headquarters, Tabalia, Solomon Islands. Please pray for Tony Carter who is not well at the moment- he has Parkinson’s Disease and yet his mind is so alert. It is very entertaining listening to his stories. A very delightful Christian indeed.
7. May 1st. We visited Hilfield Friary and enjoyed the celebration of HC at the Friary. It is a simple chapel but you really feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. It was good to meet old Brothers from my school days in the Solomon’s like Brother Geoffrey and Reginald. It was good to meet also Brothers Giles and Simeon and to visit the graveyard where the founding Brothers of SSF are buried and are marked with very little headstone plaques following the faith and teaching of their founder, St Francis of Assisi, who taught that when we die we should return to our Mother Earth.
8. From 1st to 5th of May we were guests of the Rector of Camerton, Dunkerton, Shoscombe with Foxcote. The Revd Alan and Pat Thomas  were excellent hosts, but he made me work hard as well, which I enjoyed, preaching three times on Sunday at his three churches in the united benefice. While there Alan and Pat took us to visit Bath and Wells and we had afternoon tea with the Bishop of Bath and Wells at his Palace. His Lordship, the Rt. Revd Jim and Sally Thompson made a surprise when they introduced the Revd Martin Wright who is now the Bishop’s Secretary. Martin was a guest of ours in the Solomon’s when he came to take part in a seminar organised by the Melanesian Board of Mission on Urbanisation.
 The parents of David Thomas (website author, and a past Churchwarden at St Anne’s with St Francis’.
The history of Christianity in the UK is so rich as you go around seeing different sites and monasteries, like Glastonbury Abbey, which took several hundreds of years to build but when the Reformation came they destroyed some of the loveliest architecture and finest work of art in the world. So anything Roman Catholic was destroyed and burnt.
We want to thank Frank and Elsie Byron  who drove us during this trip; without their generosity we would not get to these places.
 Frank Byron, before moving to Marple, was a Lay Reader at St Anne’s with St Francis’.
9. July 9th. Kate and Bp Willie were privileged to be among 4,800 guests who attended a Buckingham Palace Garden Party. We visited Bishop Frank Sargeant and Sally at Lambeth Palace for lunch before leaving for Buckingham Palace, 4 to 6pm.
[Footnote to No. 9: At the Buckingham Palace Garden Party the Duke of Edinburgh, noticing Kate’s head-band, greeted her as a friend. He said “you must be from Solomon Islands. I was given some of that, and enjoyed my visit there.”
10. July 11th. We were delighted as a family to meet Bishops from Melanesia and their wives at St. Hildaburgh Parish Church in the Diocese of Chester, Melanesian link diocese, at our Melanesian Mission Festival hosted by the English Committee.
11. July 12th. At 6.30pm in Chester Cathedral a special service was held to officially welcome all the Bishops of Melanesia and their wives and to mark the end of Chester Diocese Link with Christchurch Diocese in New Zealand. The service was glorious and to see all the Bishops of Melanesia in their copes and mitres, the Bishops of Chester and Christchurch. The Cathedral was absolutely packed and the singing was marvellous to hear, the choir comprising of all age groups from within the Diocese, more than 300 members altogether, male and female, a real witness to a living church.
Events such as these prove beyond any doubt that the church in the UK is not dead but alive. This is one of the advantages of serving overseas, you come to understand how deep the faith is of Christians overseas. I have come to realise that overseas do have a quality of Christian living and life. There is a real sense of dedication and commitment to go to church, which is very good as far as each one is concerned, but while this is very outstanding the church can lack community and therefore many people do not find in some congregations, friendship. I feel that every congregation should work towards real friendship and see in each other as an extended family. I believe the three most important achievements for any congregation, whether in the UK or Melanesia are: a. Community life and living b. Friendship: that is, we must be a welcoming community c. Fellowship: we must share with one another and not only with those we know and are very close with.
12. August 9th. Kate and I were able to travel with friends down to Henley-on-Thames to attend the farewell gathering of our Melanesian Bishops and then returned by train the following day bringing Mrs Roslyn Pogo to stay with us until ArchBp Ellison's arrival on Wednesday 12th after his official visit to Germany. ArchBp Ellison preached on Sunday at the Parish Communion service which was another historical occasion, since he was the first ArchBp to enter St Anne’s Church.
13. Monday 21st Sept. We were thrilled to welcome in our home, from Melanesia, General Secretary, Nick Maaramo and his wife Maisie, who were visiting the UK. They left on 24th Sept at 7am from Manchester Airport.
14. From the 9th to 12th October, Bp Willie and Kate accompanied Fr Alan and his wife Pat for a lovely three day visit to the North East of England. We visited some of the places associated with the Saints of the North East-Holy Island, Bamburgh, Durham, Hartlepool and Sunderland. On Holy Island (Lindisfarne) we went into the chapel where St Aidan and St Cuthbert lived. Fr Alan and Bp Willie were able to walk to St Cuthbert’s island and walk round Holy Island and the Castle on Holy Island. In Bamburgh we visited St Oswald’s Castle and the church around the place where St Aidan died in 651 AD. In Durham Cathedral we were able to visit St Bede’s tomb in the Galilee Chapel on the western side of the cathedral and the tomb of St Cuthbert and the head of St Oswald at the East end.
In Hartlepool we visited the historic Quay and the Trincomalee, the oldest warship built in 1817 and is still afloat. These are historical places of how Christianity came to the UK. We also learn how the white people were so cruel to their own people in the past. Living in Melanesia we do not know that the white people were so hard and cruel to their people in so many years gone by.
15. Monday 26th October. Chester Diocese Mothers’ Union celebrated its Centenary in the Cathedral. Kate and I were among an estimated 1500 Mothers’ Union who filled the Cathedral. Bishop Michael Langrish officiated and the world-wide President of the Mothers’ Union, Lady Eames preached the sermon. Again this is another memorable service of joyous celebration. The Cathedral Choir sang beautifully and the colourful MU banners of different Deaneries added to the beauty in worship. This was followed by a buffet lunch in the Refectory or in the days of the Benedictine monks it was known as the Chapter House.
16. Friday 20th Nov. Bp Willie has to take a written test in Manchester for a driving license. The good news is he has passed this test and now he will do another test, this time a practical one. He hopes to pass this time as well, as long as he stops his acquired bad driving habits. He has a very good instructor, so there shouldn't be a problem. It is a requirement in the UK that those who have lived in the country for at least 12 months must take a driving test. They do allow visitors to drive with their country driving licence but after a year must have a UK driving licence.
17. Monday 21st Dec. At 12.10pm. Bp Willie is to take his practical driving test. We wish him well and hope for the best.
18. What else does Bp Willie do, well, he spends 70% of his time in the parish and 30% in the Diocese of Chester and Melanesian Mission work. This year he has given 30 talks about Melanesia in Deanery Synods, Diocesan Synods, Bishops Council, parish functions, Men’s Associations, Women’s Fellowship, Mothers’ Union Diocesan Council, schools, Rotary Club meetings and Ecumenical meetings.
19. He is a member of the Diocesan Link Committee who meets regularly in Chester. He is also a member for the Pacific of the Christian Churches Council of the UK- this meets in London twice a year.
Mrs Kate Pwaisiho keeps the family in order and everyone happy by making sure that there is food on the table at every meal. She and young Kate both sing in the Parish Choir and help the ladies in the Parish in cleaning the church, attending Mothers’ Union meetings and fellowship. She is an ex-officio of the Diocesan Mothers’ Union as one of the Honorary Vice Presidents. Kate is learning English with one of the ladies in the parish and can now speak English well, more so than when we first arrived.
The 3 children are at their respective schools and are trying their best in their studies. They are admired for their good behaviour and church attendance, a practice not many young people want to do on a Sunday morning.
Our coming to the UK, to Chester Diocese has challenged our family a great deal. The week we were getting ready to come, in fact two days before we boarded the plane for Australia, Kate’s eldest brother, Capt John Filei, died in Honiara and so it was a difficult decision for us whether we were all going to come or not. It was a sad experience since in our culture we must stay or should remain at home for a period of time to complete all the traditional customs that follow a dead relative. But if we had done that, we would have lost our places on the plane and a third of all the fare already paid on a special flight. Secondly it would mean that our three children would miss the start of the academic year at their new school in the UK. We really trust in God’s guidance on this one and wanted to bear the load as a family together. The champion must be mummy Kate who lost her brother and made the decision to travel together.
The second challenge was missing our two girls, Babara and Lorraine who were doing their training at the College of High Education. We missed Babara’s graduation and 21st birthday last year and repeated this with Lorraine's graduation and 21st birthday this December. We hope they will forgive us for that.
A lot of our relatives died at home and all we could do was to pray for them and for those who remain behind.
The third challenge will be to remain in the Diocese after June 1999 for a further five years or so and to be Rector of a parish. So pray for this new move and for the children, especially for their school. We pray that our two girls, Babara and Lorraine will join us next year so that we can stay and work as a family.
We want to thank the Diocese of Chester, the Church of Melanesia, the English Committee of the Melanesian Mission, this parish of St Anne’s & St Francis’ and our many friends for encouragement, prayerful support, friendship and fellowship in the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
May the New Year 1999 bring you all God's blessing and a very rewarding life.
Your friends, +Willie, Kate and Children
Upon Leaving …
As he leaves us for Gawsworth, William has written his own individual assessment of the Church of England:
1. The church is very committed to its role and calling to be the body of Christ in the world. 2. The national church has never established a national body that will take on all the mission agencies under its umbrella and be one ‘Board of Mission’. 3. The church is too much legalistic and authoritative. We need those for ordering the faith and structures, but they make the laity frozen. 4. The church needs renewal and to allow flexibility. 5. The laity are too frightened to speak out. They are to be freed and liberated. We need them.
So the Pwaisiho family leaves us for Gawsworth, and it’s no surprise to learn that the notice on the Rectory front door is “Our home is your home”. We know that we shall always be welcome there.
Without exception, we shall all be sad to see them go. They have enriched us in so many ways, more than we can tell.
Barbara and Lorraine joined the family here in Sale in February this year, 1999. Barbara, a health educator, has now returned to her work in Solomon Isles and is being posted to Anks on their home island of Malaita, teaching health-life and living. Lorraine, a teacher, enjoys helping at St. Anne’s Primary School, and will stay in England for some time. The three younger ones, who have attended Trinity High School and Xaverian College, Moss Side, will continue their education in Macclesfield.
We have all much appreciated the way the family has taken a full part in the life of both church and parish. Kate, Hornald and daughter Kate, and now Lorraine, are all in the choir at St. Anne’s; and William - a keen supporter of Manchester United - rings the bell at St. Anne’s. And when they come to St. Francis, they all help with the washing up, moving the chairs, whatever. Pwaisiho family: we all love you very much.
Under The Spire, "The Spire" (June 1999)
FAREWELL TO THE PARISH
Dear brothers and sisters of St Anne’s and St Francis. This month of June marks 22 months for our family of deep heartfelt gratitude for what you have done to make our life in Sale such an enjoyable and memorable one.
You have assisted us and taught us how we should live in harmony in spite of our cultural and national differences. You have accepted us and welcomed us so that we have no fears or worries. You have treated us like royalty in the way in which you prepared the house we live in and its furnishings. Your love and respect, expressed by sharing your homes, over food and drink and your gifts.
For all this we want to thank you all.
The worship, celebration of the word of God and His sacraments have a deep spiritual effect on our family for which we want to thank the Vicar and his family and the whole parish. We leave you because we believe God has called us and we leave you in thanksgiving to God for your wonderful contribution towards our ministry. We want you to know that wherever we are is your home too. May God bless us all in His name.
Your friends The Pwaisihos
BISHOP WILLIAM’S MESSAGE TO GAWSWORTH
My family and I are most grateful to your Patron, the Churchwardens and the Parochial Church Council and I am encouraged by your faith and trust in our Christian God, in your acceptance of me as your new Rector. It will be a challenging time, not only for me, coming from Melanesia, but also for you.
I firmly believe that I am called by God and that I am at the disposal of God’s church and his people, notwithstanding any difference of culture, language and race. I also believe in a church that operates as the community of faith - worshipping and sharing with each other in the church at the different social activities in the parish, and in your homes, to bring rejoicing and glory to God our Heavenly Father.
I am a firm believer in the team ministry - where the parishioners, with the Rector, use the individual gifts and talents that God has given us to make His Church the community of faith - the “rainbow of God” in the world. I profess a sound Anglican orthodox Christianity, where worship, prayer and reaching out to the community, go hand in hand.
I like people! There will be no rules as to when to call or when not to call at the rectory - it will be ‘open’ at all times. The church, the rectory and the meeting room are the parish buildings - they offer us different needs, so let us use them to the full.
Finally, I would like to see a full church every Sunday - with all age groups represented in the congregation. I heartily invite you all to come and enjoy time with God in celebrating His Word and Sacraments, praying for the work of the church and for the needs of the whole world, the community in which we live and ourselves.
My family and I are looking forward to coming to Gawsworth and we wish to thank you all for your generosity in preparing the rectory - including furnishing it for our comfort - for our arrival in June. I admire, and I am very grateful for, your patience in the long wait to the start of my ministry.
May God bless you, my brothers and sisters.