June 6: [Ini Kopuria, Founder of the Melanesian Brotherhood, 1945]
June 6, 2011 9 Comments
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About this commemoration
Ini Kopuria, the ﬁrst Elder Brother of the Melanesian Brotherhood, was born soon after the start of the twentieth century on the island of Guadalcanal in the Solomons.
Ini attended St. Barnabas School on Norfolk Island, an institution started by Bishop J. C. Patterson with the purpose of training young men to teach their own people. Ini’s daily contact with the Anglican Christians at St. Barnabas led to his own developed sense of religious calling. One story about his time there relates his strict adherence to a rule of silence during Lent, and on one Ash Wednesday, when confronted by a teacher who questioned this practice, Ini replied by letter, refusing to break his vow. It was then that many around him began to notice his calling to a religious vocation.
Although it was expected that upon leaving school, Ini would return to Guadalcanal to teach his own people, he surprised everyone by becoming a police ofﬁcer in the Native Armed Constabulary.Though initially unhappy with his role in the police, he earned the respect and admiration of his superiors with his dedication and wisdom. In 1927, after he had left the police force, he was asked by the Commissioner to return to the police and go to the island of Mala to quiet local unrest. Ini is said to have remarked, “It would be bad if I were to go there with a riﬂe; I may want to return one day with the Gospel.”
It was during his recovery from an injury in 1924 that Ini came to the realization that only in service to Christ would his life ﬁnd meaning and fulﬁllment. Under the direction of his Bishop, John Steward, he took his vows as the ﬁrst Elder of the Melanesian Brotherhood, an Anglican order devoted to the spread of the Gospel among the non-Christian areas of Melanesia. The Order, characterized by its vows of simplicity, in this day continues its work of peacemaking and includes not only Melanesians, but also Polynesians, Filipinos, and Europeans.
I Loving God, may thy Name be blest for the witness of Ini Kopuria, police ofﬁcer and founder of the Melanesian Brotherhood, whose members saved many American pilots in a time of war, and who continue to minister courageously to the islanders of Melanesia. Open our eyes that we, with these Anglican brothers, may establish peace and hope in service to others, for the sake of Jesus Christ; who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
II Loving God, we bless your Name for the witness of Ini Kopuria, police ofﬁcer and founder of the Melanesian Brotherhood, whose members saved many American pilots in a time of war, and who continue to minister courageously to the islanders of Melanesia. Open our eyes that we, with these Anglican brothers, may establish peace and hope in service to others, for the sake of Jesus Christ; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Preface of a Saint (3)
From Holy, Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints © 2010 by The Church Pension Fund. Used by permission.