Islanders say sorry for killing pastor

Lae News, Normal

The National, Tuesday, May 3, 2011

THE Evangelical Lutheran church parishioners in Siassi district, Morobe, have expressed regret with tears, sought forgiveness and reconciled after 100 years with Germany and Australian Lutheran churches.
The occasion eventuated at Karapo, a former mission school station near Yangla village.
The young generation painted faces in mud, wept and prayed openly asking for forgiveness and mercy from the Lord for killing the first German Lutheran missionary Rev George Bamler.
Bamler arrived on April 28, 1911, at Tuam Island to evangelise the chain of Siassi islands.
He later travelled to Aromot and then to Lablab.
He went further inland into mainland Umboi Island and settled at Karapo, Yangla village, establishing a mission school.
Bamler was assisted by other Jabem evangelists from Tami Island.
However, Bamler met his fate on April 12, 1928 when he was sitting inside the stockyard and the locals cut a Galip nut tree that fell down and killed him.
It was uncertain but alleged that because of that the locals believed until last Friday that they were cursed and, therefore, nothing crucial in terms of socio-economic activities was seen in the area, although, the locals have tried over the years to improve livelihoods.
After 100 years, the locals recognised and wholeheartedly apologised and expressed regret with tears.
During the procession, thick black clouds appeared together with strong wind and a heavy downpour.
People painted faces in black ash and mud, surrounded the graveyard of late Bamler, Monica Atai, a brave messenger woman and evangelist Matai Apisai, wept and sang mournfully as they fell on knees.
Pastor in-charge of missions affairs of the deanery Rev Christoph Weismann, on behalf of the overseas delegates, accepted the apology and prayed for the Lord to forgive what the elders have committed, have mercy and bless them.
District president Rev Joshua Max and Weismann also signed a memorandum of agreement to work in partnership in church programmes and activities.
Also to mark the occasion, Marile villagers circumcised two boys.
The event enacted early evangelist Atio Anba’s act, who before meeting Bamler to take the gospel to Koloutop village, circumcised his two sons and held a feast as a sign of transition.