Solomon Islanders' Choice between Bitterness and Love
Monday 26th July 2004The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, on an eight-day visit to the Solomon Islands, has urged Islanders to become a model of reconciliation for the wider world.
In an address broadcast live in the Solomon Islands and delivered to more than six thousand people gathered for an ecumenical service in a football stadium in the capital, Honiara, Dr Williams praised the role of the churches following extensive inter-communal unrest, and challenged the islanders to use the experience of their suffering to help others.
"This nation has been through great and real suffering. People have known division, uncertainty and fear; some have been uprooted and many have felt that they do not know where to look for guidance. But by God's good grace and by the faithful witness of Christians from many traditions in this place, people have begun to see the hope that God holds out," he said.
"A history of suffering and division, need not teach us to be bitter; we can let God use it so that there may be restoration. Whenever we carry our cross, when we accept and use our suffering for the glory of God to make peace with others, then the world begins to change."
Earlier Dr Williams spent time with members of an Anglican religious community, the Melanesian Brotherhood in Tabalia. He preached at a service of Holy Communion and led prayers at the graves of the seven brothers from the order who were killed in the Islands' conflict. Dr Williams planted a tree at the gravesite in commemoration.
Dr Williams was sworn in as a Companion of the Melanesian Brotherhood. Companions commit themselves to support the order, especially in prayer.