Skipper and First Mate Millard (Big Bear and Pepe)
Sun 25 Oct 2015 23:37
Aneityum Church Service
We had been given a variety of times for Service this morning, so we were ashore just before nine. We would go in at half past so we had time to look at the ruins of the original church and read the plaque.
John Geddie Memorial Church. A few people arrived and sat outside on the benches as we approached they all stood to shake our hands in ‘welcome’. It was wonderful to sit in the warm sun, looking across to the beach, Beez gently bobbing in the bay, what could be better.
[John Geddie born in 1815, was a Scots-Canadian missionary who was known as "the father of Presbyterian missions in the South Seas." He pioneered missionary work in Vanuatu. He died on the island of Aneityum on the 14th of December 1872.]
J.J. [seen with his hand behind his head] turned up in tears, looking really fed up, I told him he shouldn’t have danced so hard last night and soon had him listening to a fairground story. Bear did the noises of the horse, ghost, teddy bear and dragon which soon had a gang around him in peals of laughter.
Inside, men sit on the right, ladies on the left.
We were told that most of the village had left early this morning by boat to go to the ‘other side’ – wherever that may be. There was to be an ecumenical service and that meant the Pastor went too. We would have an Elder lead us in prayer. The everlasting flower display. a memorial plaque in what looks like olde-world Bislama and todays words on the blackboard at the front.
The first half an hour was taken up with singing, accompanied by two ladies on their guitars. One verse of everything they knew in their repertoire and I enjoyed every minute of it. Then the Elder stood and as he spoke no English we had to follow what we could. We did understand that we were heartily welcomed, that we “had come on big ocean” and he “prayed we have no big storms on ocean.” He then announced a hymn.
The lady in front of me left her seat and joined me, we stood together and I hoped to make a good show in my singing. Fortunately the tune was fairly simple and if you just sing the words without thinking of what they are, what they mean or how to pronounce them – it goes really well. A man leaned back to share his hymnbook with Bear and he did a sterling job in a tenor-cum-bass voice. I sat down at the end of the hymn and a little girl came and gave me my own hymnbook.
The next hymn, the lady in front of me found my place and off I went again. An hour of prayers from the altar and sermon from the lectern was broken when the Elder gathered all the children in front of him. No idea what he said but they all sat rapt in his words. A lady stood to do a Bible reading Afterward Bear wanted to know what does Yumi mean. No clue we went to ask. You and Me, meaning all of us. Ooooooooohhhhhhh, now we got it.
Afterwards, I had to go back in to take a picture of the Hymnbook I had used. I had to suppress a giggle when I read the flysheet – note, children and babies Tabu !!.
The Lord’s My Shepherd.
The ‘bell’ that had given us our half hour warning, fifteen minutes, ten and five were gustily belted out by a lady. We have seen gas cylinders before but the first peels made everyone jump – including us. Bear models said ‘bringer of the faithful’. We also hear a few clangs at five in the morning, a thoughtful alarm clock........... There is an actual bell, just to the right of the church, clearly not loud enough, methinks.
The bell was made for the people of Aneityum in Glasgow, 1910.
On the wall of the church we had seen a picture of the original Missionary House. We took the dozen steps to see what is left of it today.
After looking at the ruins we jumped into Baby Beez, set for an early lunch, we had sought permission to visit Mystery Island and planned to spend the afternoon there.
ALL IN ALL SO VERY PLEASED WE ATTENDED CHURCH
LOVELY WELCOME AND WONDERFUL SINGING