The National, Thursday 23rd August, 2012
By ABIGAIL APINA
ISLANDERS from the Duke of York Islands in Kokopo district, East New Britain, celebrated George Brown Day last Wednesday.
It was the 137th anniversary since the missionary came ashore to the province to deliver the Gospel.
They conducted a church service at Brown’s monument.
The service was followed by a choir competition by groups of men and women.
An elderly woman, Berries Palnalom, 70, from Molot village, was happy to take part in the celebrations, said Dr George Brown arrived on the shores of New Britain on Aug 15, 1875, aboard his vessel named John Wesley.
He came ashore at Kinavanua, in Molot.
She said when the vessel approached the island, three chiefs from Molot, Topulu, Warwarum and Naragua were walking along the shore at Kinavanua and planned to kill and eat whoever was on board the vessel if it came ashore.
She said when the vessel approached the shore, Brown put his foot into the sea and felt that it was hot, signifying an unwelcoming reception from the locals.
Palnalom said when the chiefs heard the harmony of the hymns, their hearts were immediately convinced and they liked the singing that came from the boat.
Two members of the Molot United Church, Isaac Ravin and Wesley Sammy, said it was the harmony of the hymns that captivated the chiefs.
For this reason, it is understood that George Brown Day is celebrated annually, with choirs from the United Church congregation in the Islands region, particularly East New Britain.
It is understood that Brown built a school, a church and his house at Kinavanua and began teaching the Gospel of Christ as a missionary.
Where he came ashore at Kinavanua was called a “marovot” in the local language and was known to be the place where locals killed humans and cooked them in mumu pits.
The old Molot United Church was built and still stands there.