Archbishop to visit Papua New Guinea

The Archbishop of Canterbury is embarking today on a five-day visit to Papua New Guinea.

Dr Rowan Williams is in the country until next Wednesday at the invitation of the Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea.

He is being accompanied on the visit by his wife, Dr Jane Williams.

They will arrive in Port Moresby on Saturday, where they will meet the Governor and political leaders.

They will also spend time in prayer with church families from the diocese.

On Sunday, the Archbishop will be the preacher and principal concelebrant at a Holy Eucharist and provincial celebration at the Cathedral in Popondetta, the capital of Oro (Northern) Province in Papua New Guinea.

The Archbishop and Dr Jane Williams will address a gathering of young Christians later in the day and speak with them about their hopes and concerns.

During the visit, Dr Williams will formally open a newly refurbished Anglican hospital in Oro Bay, and participate in a service of dedication of the hospital’s work, serving the coastal population.

Meetings will be held with members of Papua New Guinea’s Anglican religious communities, which include the Melanesian Brotherhood, The Society of Saint Francis, and the Congregation of the Sisters of the Visitation of our Lady.

Later in the visit, the Archbishop will participate in a ground-breaking ceremony for a new teacher training college being set up to tackle the serious shortage of qualified teacher trainers and strengthen the Church’s own ministry in education.

On Tuesday, the Archbishop will visit Dogura where the first Anglican missionaries landed in 1891.

At the Anglicare HIV Centre, Dr Williams will spend time meeting patients and staff, and hearing about the issues of HIV and gender-based violence, and learning about the response of faith groups.

His visit to Papua New Guinea will conclude with a formal dinner hosted by the Government.

Speaking in advance of his visit, the Archbishop said: “I am delighted to be visiting Papua New Guinea and to be able to experience at first-hand the remarkable life of the church in this nation and its contribution to the wider community.

"We much look forward to celebrating the faithful Christian witness and dedicated service of the church among different communities and to seeing for ourselves the church’s central role in health, education and community development.

"We also look forward to experiencing how the enduring assets of the country’s rich culture and strong social fabric allow a confident response to the challenges of the day. There is so much in the life of the church and nation which is a gift for the wider church and for the world."

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