In addition to its formal Companion Links with other Anglican dioceses, for the best part of a century, the Scottish Episcopal Church has had a strong, supportive relationship with the Anglican Church in Papua New Guinea (ACPNG). In the early days, when this fledgling Church was a small part of an Australian diocese, this took the form of a succession of committed ‘Piskie’ missionary priests, of whom the last was Douglas Cameron, now retired Bishop of Argyll & the Isles. A number of dedicated mission volunteers followed from Scotland, to offer various skills and their experience to this growing Church.
Within the Edinburgh Diocese, latterly these mission volunteers have included lay-persons from parishes like St Mary’s Dalmahoy, St James the Less Penecuik and Christ Church Morningside. These ‘returnees’ all clearly retain a deep and lasting affection for the work of the Anglican Church in PNG, now a young, independent Province in the worldwide Anglican Communion. Their continuing enthusiasm, interest and PNG relationships help fuel the ongoing support being offered by these congregations, together with St Marys on the Rock Ellon and St Annes Dunbar.
During the last 20 years, the SEC Provincial Overseas Committee, now Global Partnerships Committee, and SECMA have provided a range of much appreciated and influential capital and pump-priming grants, including: community help and training in response to volcanic eruption, flooding, Covid and TB; income-generating projects; women’s empowerment programmes and their inclusion in theological training; etc..
The particular situation and challenges facing ACPNG’s only theological college, Newton College, have been recognised and targeted by the Edinburgh Diocese in a variety of ways. A recent Bishop’s Lent Appeal provided funding for training and sewing-machines for graduating priests’ wives to provide reliable income for their families. Three of the Diocese’s congregations – St Mary’s, St Anne’s and Christ Church – continue to provide the academic costs of students training to be priests in the College. Together with a recent Global Partnerships grant, they are now supporting the training of more than half the College’s current students.
During this same 20-year period, the deep appreciation of ACPNG for this relationship, this wholehearted missionary contribution and continuing commitment, has been much in evidence through intentional visits to the SEC, these congregations and the Edinburgh Diocese, from three successive ACPNG Archbishops.