Community of the Sisters of the Church

27 November 2010

Press release from the Solomon Islands... 





More than 150 members of the four religious communities of the Anglican Church of Melanesia are now gathered at Tabalia, West Guadalcanal, for the second week of training on Social Justice, Human Rights and Advocacy issues.

The workshop is organised by Franciscans International, an international NGO that supports the advocacy work of Franciscan religious communities, both Roman Catholic and Anglican, around the world.

Four Franciscan International staffs have come from their offices in Bangkok and Geneva to assist with the workshop.

The themes of the workshop are the theology and meaning of human rights, how to do advocacy for social justice, and the issues of gender equality (including violence against women and children), respecting the environment and promoting good governance.

The first week of the workshop was the training of 27 trainers from the four religious communities. They are now taking responsibility for training the large group of 120 who arrived on the weekend.

Communities participating in the workshop are the Melanesian Brotherhood, Sisters of Melanesia, the Society of St. Francis and the Community of the Sisters of the Church.

This is the first time such a large group as gathered from all four religious communities of the ACOM.

The workshop is the dream of Br. Clark Berge, SSF, Minister General of the Society of St. Francis. Support for the event has come from the Society of St. Francis Legacy Fund and the four ACOM religious communities in Solomon Islands.

On Monday, the workshop studied the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the various United Nations conventions such as the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It also looked at the biblical and theological roots of human rights.

The workshop is also examining human rights abuses in Solomon Islands and how the religious communities might address them. Issues identified have included sexual exploitation of children in logging camps; domestic violence; environmental destruction by logging, fishing and mining; and corruption, from the village to the national level, including problems in the electoral process.

One aim of the workshop is to enable religious communities to assist communities to do advocacy for social justice in the many local communities where they have households. The workshop will also prepare an action plan for their future social justice work.

The workshop will conclude with the issuing of an action plan and communiqué, awarding of certificates and feast on Saturday, and a closing sending out Eucharist on Sunday morning. 

Press Release prepared by Bishop Terry Brown (

For further information, please contact him or Mr. Sanjay Gathia, mobile 8447477.

A Press Conference is to be held on Saturday, November 27th at Melanesian Brotherhood Headquarters, Tabalia, at 3:30 p.m. Journalists coming for the Press Conference are invited to stay for the awarding of certificates and feast early Saturday evening.

Identification of photographs provided:


DSC03596: Members of men's communities working with Bishop Terry Brown to prepare a report.


DSC03598: Brothers and sisters with Br. Clark Berge, SSF, working on human rights issues.


DSC03604: Members of four ACOM religious communities in a discussion group.


DSC03632: Brother Clark Berge, SSF, and community members presenting a report on the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.


DSC03648: Group photo of Social Justice and Advocacy Trainers from the four ACOM religious communities at the end of the first week of training.