Visit of Melanesian Archbishop to Devon to call for help in climate crisis
The Archbishop of Melanesia, the Most Revd George Takeli, has come to Devon to call for help to tackle the crisis unfolding in the Solomon Islands caused by climate change.
The Church of England in Devon is linked to Melanesia, through its first bishop, John Patteson, who came from Feniton, and a stone cross in his memory stands off the old A30 roadnear Feniton. Bishop Patteson went out to the Solomon Islands as a missionary in the 19th century, and was made first Bishop of Melanesia. September 20 is now remembered as ‘Patteson day’ and Archbishop George spent the day visiting Feniton primary and Payhembury primary schools to talk to youngsters about the Solomon Islands.
He also held talks with the Bishop of Exeter, Bishop Robert, who said: “Our link with Melanesia is an important one, through our historical association, but also today as we see the all too real impact climate change is having on our neighbours. The security of food and water resources is a key challenge that the people of these scattered islands face each and every day. Our links remind us that we are brothers and sisters in Christ, and that loving our neighbours involves concern for all, however far distant.”
Archbishop George said: “I have come to the UK to share the plight of people in the Pacific suffering from the impacts of climate change. Many are having to abandon their homes, villages and islands due to increasing sea levels, unpredictable weather patterns and increased air temperature.
“Many communities are struggling to adapt to these changes, with limited relocation options, resources or support. As a region with a relatively low carbon footprint, we seem to be paying a heavy price for rest of the world’s over development and wastefulness.”
The Archbishop will also attend the Primates Meeting in October, hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury.