By PISAI GUMAR
BOANA in Morobe is where you get knowledge, food and rest.
In Tok Pisin Boana em ples blo kisim save, kaikai na malolo.
So said one Boana’s better known sons and intellectuals, Sumasi Singin.
Apart from the three features that identify the locals, they are also peace loving, humble, hardworking and generous.
True to their character, the 12 parishes that comprise the Boana district of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of PNG (ELC PNG) contributed in time, money (K20,000 each parish), food, animals (two pigs each) and finally built a K100,000 synod hall ready to host the 32nd ELC PNG Synod.
While contributions in cash and kind also poured in from generous partner organisations and churches including the Morobe government, MPs Kennedy Wenge (Nawaeb), Ross Seymour (Huon Gulf), Kobby Bomario (Tewae-Siassi) and Patrick Bassa (Kabwum).
The synod is the highest decision-making body of Lutheran church akin to the national parliament that occurs every other year.
History unfolded in Boana in 1964 with the election of first ever native head bishop in Zurewe Zurenuoc to replace the first expatriate Lutheran bishop, Dr John Kuder.
Similarly, the 2020 synod will conduct elections for the positions of the church’s head bishop, assistant head bishop and general secretary. These positions are currently held by Rev Jack Urame, Rev Lucas Kedabing and Bernard Kaisom respectively. Their four-year term has lapsed.
Urame was elected four years ago at the Heldsbach synod hosted by Kotec district in 2016. The Boana district became the host of the 2020 synod receiving the shield from East-Simbu District in 2018.
At the time of electing Zurenuoc as first native bishop, Boana was a fledgling circuit under Kotec district.
The first synod was held at Simbang, followed by the second at Ampo, the third at Monono in Simbu and the fourth in Boana.
The seed of Boana was sown in 1964 and it bore fruit 16 years ago at the Wau synod in 2004 that declared its district status to take care of itself, becoming the youngest district in the ELC-PNG.
Boana will host an estimated 20,000 delegates from 17 Lutheran districts and overseas missionaries who will experience the atmosphere and its people but more importantly to testify of their faith by sharing the word of God and discussing issues affecting the church.
Prime Minister James Marape has been invited to open the synod this Sunday. The church currently has about 2 million members.
The synod theme is derived from the scripture in 2 Tim 2:15 -‘Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth’.
Boana comprises of Erap, Wain and Nabak area nestled in the headwaters of Busu, Erap and Marambi Rivers that source out from Mt Bangeta, bordering interior Kabwum, northeast from the provincial capital Lae.
Mt Bangeta is among the five tall mountains forming the lethal Sarawaget Range include Kanasut, Kanamdangan, Satboak and Kumbulepta.
After July 12, 1886 when the first Lutheran missionary Johannes Flierl sailed into Simbang, he established four hausman comprising natives from Quembung, Wemo, Wareo and Sattleberg to help in evangelism work.
The Wemo, Wareo and Sattleberg Kikefungs evangelised parts of Hube, Dedua, Kalasa and Kabwum respectively.
After 46 years, the Quembung’s penetrated into Boana after Burum-Kuat and established the mission station in 1932.
The first German missionary to Boana was Gustav Bergman.
The locals included Ps Basawepe and Ps Zurenare from Quembung, Finschhafen, Amara (Jabem), Sakewe (Nabak), Singin Sinenarec Possom (Wain) and Tofumbe (Erap) assisted Bergman in evangelism and establishing Boana Lutheran mission.
Since then, many Kikefungs (workers) from Boana trekked farther hinterland into parts of the highlands like Raipinga (Kainantu), Jiwaka, Omkolai and Monono in Chimbu among other areas.
Hence the Synod is an opportunity for many siblings and relatives in the highlands to walk back to Morobe to honor those Kikefungs and pay respect to their graves.
As for 14 youths from Jiwaka, they have walked to Tinimbi, Erap arriving last weekend to pay their respect for evangelist Zurenuc, father of former Nawaeb MP Wesley Zurenuc.
The fruits reaped today in Boana, ples blo kisim save, kaikai na malolo’ are the result of icons like Singin Sinenarec Possom.
- Born on Oct 16, 1900 and died on June 23, 1998 (aged 98).
- First marriage in 1930 to Qati -13 children, 1 died.
- Second marriage in 1940 to Batunga -19 children, 2 died.
- Third marriage: 1990 to Takopa-no children
- Worked in Bulolo as a Tok Pisin interpreter in New Guinea Gold Fields then helped set up the Lutheran mission in Boana.
- 1943-Tultul of Boana.
- 1945-assisted in evading WWII confrontation in Boana.
- 1949-walked his brother missionary, Saigong to Omkolai (Simbu) and back.
Then worked as an aid post orderly in Boana.
- 1960-DPI field extension officer
- 1962-appointed district advisory council of (TPNG) Territory of New Guinea
- 1963-visited Australia to study parliament systems and political institutions
- 1964-1965: Member for Lae Open
- 1966-visted Germany with Rev Gustav Bergman (6 months)
While Possom was the Lae MP, the fourth ELC-PNG synod was held in Boana in October 1964 when Boana was as a new circuit under Kotec district.
The Boana synod is deemed special after 500 years celebration of Lutheran church to reflect the past, present and future of the church in country.
The synod will identify approaches and methods used in church’s training institutions like seminaries, teachers colleges and nursing schools and social service agencies like hospitals, health centres and high schools, how the welfare of workers are supported and managed to provide spiritual, physical, mental and social services concurrently in country.
Lutheran church has come a long way (134 years) after first German missionary John Flierl sailed into Simbang, Finschhafen on July 12, 1886.
Hence it is important to reflect and ascertain the methods and revert to the basics, the original responsibility of the church itself and to maintain and instill Christian faith.
The wind of change in current socio-economic development coupled with cross-cutting issues is changing and tarnishing the image of Christian’s in communities and households.
Families are tossed by social surprises causing instability in divorce, sexual violence, incest, rape, polygamy, murder, child labour and trafficking, sorcery, drug, homebrew, and the list continues.
The methods and approaches of how to reach out with the word of God to those swayed by social upheavals and the wind of change to restore their faith and save their souls is something the synod will deal with seriously and sensitively.
To confirm the end of all preparations, the synod hall dedication service was held on Sunday, Jan 5 witnessed by Governor Ginson Saonu, former governors Luther Wenge and Kelly Naru, MPs Kennedy Wenge (Nawaeb) and Ross Seymour (Huon Gulf), former Nawaeb MPs Wesley Zurenuc and Gisuwat Siniwin, Kedabing, Kaisom, Sumasi Singin, incumbent Lae city manager Joel Kolam and Word of Faith Church pastor Ben Kaita.