Canterbury Begins 8-Day Trip to Melanesia

( [email protected] ) Jul 23, 2004 08:01 PM EDT

The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams began his 8-day trip to the Province of Melanesia with word of gratitude and thanks to the Church of Melanesia (COM) on July 19, 2004.

"I come to say thank you to you. This province has given so much to the Anglican Communion," said Williams to the hundreds of Anglicans who gathered at the St Barnabas Cathedral in Honiara.

Williams, the leader of some 77 million Anglicans worldwide, then encouraged the COM to pray for peace and hope for the nation.

"We make ourselves as a gift to Jesus Christ for the peace and healing of this nation," said Williams.

In response to Williams’ comments, the Archbishop of COM, Sir Ellison Pogo, said the church is honored and grateful for the visit.

“You are only 17 months as 104th Archbishop of Canterbury but already you have shown great leadership. Though this would be a second time after about 30 years for the head of the Anglican Communion to visit us, you're the first Archbishop from Wales to visit us and we are proud and humble to have you with us," Archbishop Sir Ellison said

Following the welcoming service, Canterbury addressed a crowd of some 1,000 Anglican youth in a separate service.

"The church doesn't always seem the most attractive place to go. We don't always take account of the needs of young people or let them have a part in planning worship,” said Williams.

"They will come when they feel they are being taken seriously; when they have the opportunity to ask questions and when they have the chance to develop as people within the church. And the Church in our country is beginning to discover how to do this a little better, although we have a long way to go,” he continued.

"All of us in the Church in positions of leadership and authority - and I say this to myself above all - need to be aware of what we have to learn from the concerns and the faith and the witness and the questions of our young people."