The Diocese of Popondota has fifteen parishes and four mission districts along the coastline and local rivers. There are no roads so access is limited to boat, which can be expensive and reliant on the availability of vessels. The Diocese purchase of a dinghy to enable parishes and mission districts to be visited, supplies delivered to schools, health centres and communities and to transport goods from the remote communities to markets for much needed cash.
(Photo: existing dinghys in Papua New Guinea that are similar to what will be purchased for this project.)
The Anglican Church has a long history of involvement in the Tufi region – stretching back to the 1880’s. The Tufi Deanery has a population of about 20,000, and remains one of the last frontiers for mission, evangelism and development. These isolated communities are a significant distance from any of the main settlements and so journeying to them is a significant challenge. The remoteness of the area has always made any kind of mission work challenging, but there have been successes as schools and a subsistence economy were developed.
The Church in consultation with the communities have identified that to progress further, both economically and also to support the evangelism programme of the church that a dinghy equipped with an outboard motor are required. The planned banana boat dinghy and outboard motor will help improve the visiting of the Archdeacon and Bishop to visit this area as well as the provision of health and educations services.
The Diocese of Poppondetta has a strong focus in education with 34 elementary and 18 primary/community schools. With easier access to boat transportation once the boat is purchased, the Diocesan Education secretary will be able make regular visits to the schools to ensure the students are supported, the teachers receive the training required and overall standards are maintained.
The Dinghy & Outboard Motor was a small part of a seven-year project to develop the Tufi Deanery into a missionary diocese within the Diocese of Popondota as the current diocese is too big. The missionary diocese will be headed by an assistant bishop who, will over a five to seven year period, develop it to the stage where it will become a separate diocese. Having the ability to move around the Tufi Deanery will be a significant step in the journey to becoming a Diocese.