A SPECTACULAR display of culture blended with Christian tradition was put on to mark the closing of the 27th Synod of the ELC-PNG last Friday.
The lyrics of the traditional dances were used to compose Christian songs that Jabem district dancing groups sang as they farewelled the delegates and presented a specially carved wooden plague
to the Goroka district, who would be the hosts of the next synod in 2012.
Goroka district delegates came in force accompanied by their famous mudmen, ready to receive the plague, which has been blessed as the symbol of the church’s authority for the hosting of the next synod.
But the host district Jabem were not in such a hurry.
They took their time and made sure the message from their dances sunk in.
The “rainbow synod” accomplished its main objective of uniting the 1.3 million Lutherans again with the fitting finale which moved so many and left a sea of tears behind at the Martin Luther Seminary as truck loads, bus loads and ship loads of delegates bid farewell to Lae and left.
The newly elected head bishop Rev Giegere Wenge and his deputy Rev Zau Rapa accompanied by the presidents of the 17 districts, delegates and overseas partners watch the traditional farewell display outside the synod venue.
Morobe Governor Luther Wenge made a special appearance to announce that the Morobe provincial government has donated 21 cows to the synod.
Each of the 17 districts received one, while one was given to the new head bishop and one to his deputy Rev Rapa.
One was given to the outgoing church general-secretary Isaac Teo and another to the incoming church secretary Albert Tokave.
The Geamsao women from the Jabem district showered the guests with hundreds of Morobean string bags while the host district also gave specially- carved bowls to special visitors.
The Jabem traditional dancing group made a moving entry into the ceremony arena as they carried the special plague towards the Goroka delegation.
On a special canoe built to carry the plaque to the next host, was the Rev Rapa, waving to the crowd and performing his last duty as acting head bishop.
There, they were joined by two elder statesmen of the Jabem district, Rev Yana Apo and Mesaach Philemon, who presented a paddle to the head bishop with keys to a brand new vehicle bought by the Jabem district for the new bishop.
Thousands of faithful Lutherans watched the closing ceremony as three replicas of the holy dove were lowered from the synod tower to the ground taking with them the keys for the bishop’s new vehicle and a donation from the Jabem district to the Goroka district as hosts of the next synod.