RELIGION

Weekender

It’s about peace, harmony, missions

From left: Kairi Aua, Sina Geua Sisia, Moses Kairi, Rev Morea Sisia and Kaivila Toma during the 2019 boubou.
The church in the swamps of Gabi.

Story and pictures by JOSEPH KENA’E KA’AU
THREE years ago it was swampland, covered in reed, other water grass and filled with mosquitoes. Today a thriving church stands, catering for the multi ethnic community of Gabi, a ‘sub-suburb’ of Hanuabada in the National Capital District.
On Sunday, Nov 3 this congregation of the United Church Urban Region celebrated its third annual thanksgiving or boubou.
Chairman, Geita Tanti was all praise for the hearts of his congregation.
“You have given beyond expectations and this will only contribute to extending the work of God in our community and beyond. God will bless you for this.”
Tanti’s vision is first to bring peace and harmony into the Gabi community and when that is happening, to train and send out missionaries to places which may need them.
The Gabi community which is a traditional Motuan village also has a large population of the Kaimare tribe and Lese village of Gulf.
The Gabi congregation will be sending its first local pastor trainees to the Metago Bible College next year. He said that this number will increase in the coming years.
“The generosity shown today by all of us gives me confidence that we will be able to send more young men and women to train as church workers and when they return, send them out as missionaries to other places,” Tanti said.
He wants to appreciate the people of Kaimare and Lese by sending out missionaries and other forms of assistance to the local congregations in these Gulf villages.
Founding church leader, Rev Morea Sisia, who retires at the end of this year, remembers the struggles to bring the congregation into existence.
“We had congregation meetings without a church for three years, the land allocated to us was swampland and we had to find the finances.”
By May 2017 the finances were realised, the swampland reclaimed and a church building erected. Now the congregation meets in a building.
But after three years the church building is not able to fit everybody inside.
The chairman acknowledges this and says that the congregation will definitely be looking at increasing the capacity of the building to cater for the increasing membership.
The Gabi congregation will be having a new pastor next year and the leaders will be meeting with the new pastor soon to prepare for the programs for next year.
Rev Sisia will leave with fond memories but with also confidence that the Gabi church will be going from strength to strength in its missionary work
Of the K51,000 given on the Sunday, 40 per cent will be allocated to the West Port Moresby Circuit. The balance will be used to support the work of the Gabi congregation.

  • Joseph Kena’e Ka’au is a freelance writer.

BOOK REVIEW

Moved by The Messiah

By ALEXANDER NARA
THE Messiah is a book.
It was just like any other old book that arrived at my bed one dark night some 10 years ago.
Where it came from or who owned it, nobody remembered.
It was there when I walked into the Lakiemata Prison in Kimbe, West New Britain one hot April afternoon in 2007 after a spell was cast on me by the Kimbe National Court to be buried alive for five years.
No one really knows who brought that book there but the tale is, it had survived countless warder cell raids over the years and has enthrallingly won the respect of the prisoners where everyone seemed to care for it.
The back cover was gone and the pages looked worn and few in the center were torn yet someone managed to glue them together by what looked like Colgate to me.
The front cover was just black but pale with a splash of red paint, more like drops of dried blood that seemed to be dripping down onto the pale cover, forming the shapes of two empty eye sockets of a bleeding skull.
Little parts along the front edge had been peeled off onto the center almost flaking away the word ‘Messiah’ printed in white over the black and blood background.

In the TV series Kevin Stott stars as DCI Red Metcalf.
The movie cover.
The full Series that bears the cover of the Original Book.

The Messiah came by my bed one cold night in the hands of a best friend and bunk mate, a Tolai-mix-Goroka and a transferee from Kerevat Jail doing 10 years for armed robbery at that time.
The lights had blacked out about an hour ago and the crescent moon almost hidden by wisp of grey clouds cast its faint silver radiance through the open barbed windows painting the worn out brick wall inside the cell to pale white.
I was sitting at the top edge of the double bunker bed looking out at dark trees in the distance silhouetted by moon speckled darkness when I felt a touch on my side and turned to see that friend of mine holding up the book.
There was nothing to do except play the prison special board games or cards to win extra soap and razor or the blue packet Cabin biscuits.
But that is not the story to be told here. I agreed to take a look and maybe start reading the next morning if there was no work party.
The next morning was raining and no one went out to work and so I started the reading.
Set in the center of the big city of London, England, the novel opens with the discovery of the body of a man named Philip Rhodes, a London caterer, who is found hanging in his underwear from his banister, his tongue cut out and a silver spoon in its place.
It was a normal homicide but sometime afterwards, a Bishop of Wandsworth named James Cunningham is found clubbed to death and also with the same looking silver spoon in his mouth. Detective Chief Inspector Red Metcalf joins up with former colleague Duncan Warren, a divorced reformed gambler, to investigate the murder of the bishop.
Then several other murders follow. A man named Jude was beheaded, then another named James was crucified.
Another victim named Bartholomew was skinned alive and in all cases the victims were stripped but not robbed except their tongues were cut out and replaced with silver spoons.
DCI Red Metcalfe and his team must discover the pattern behind these killings.
In the twist of the story, the writer Boris Starling brought back years earlier when Red turned in his younger brother Eric to police for murder. Eric is out and living in a hostel but reluctant to see Red. The hostel warden, Vicar Stephen Hedges gives Red the permission to try to talk to Ericin the Church of St Bartholomew, a few miles outside of the city.
Eric, not pleased in seeing Red attacked his bigger brother, punching him to the floor of the chapel almost hitting his head against the statue of St Bartholomew, that was erected beside the alter inside the church.
As Detective Red was slowly stood up with a bleeding mouth, he noticed that the hand of the statue of St Bartholomew holding the skin of his own face symbolizing the way he was killed in the Biblical times.
The last victim of the serial killing was named Bartholomew and he is holding his own skin in his hand.
It dawned on Detective Metcalf.
Each victim of the murders bore the name of one of Christ’s disciples and all were killed in the same way and the same saint days as their biblical namesakes.
That is how the book got its title – Messiah, a shocking homicide investigation to track down an unknown serial killer in the heart of London.
This thriller novel was published in 1999 and is now a British television drama series, broadcast on the BBC One network and produced in-house by BBC Northern Ireland.
The TV Series has Messiah 2, where a man was buried alive and Metcalf must delve into a serial killer psyche with Messiah 3 – 5 as more thrilling and keeps you at the edge of your seat till the end where all your guesses of the killer will be wrong.
The copy of the book arrived at my bed that dark night 10 years ago.

  • Alexander Nara is a freelance writer.

Leave a Reply