Martyrs of Papua New Guinea
The short mention of martyrs of Papua New Guinea 1901 and 1942, caught mine attention and made me wonder what is the history behind their martyrdom? And also: it serves as a good reminder that, as Anglicans, we are part of a worldwide denomination. You may find some interesting links in this short telling as well.
The Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea , often abbreviated as PNG, is a province of the Anglican Communion. It was created in 1976. Yet, despite this short history, it already has two groups of martyrs to commemorate.
In 1901 the first were James Chalmers and Oliver Tomkins who worked there as missionaries.
In 1942 the group of eight or twelve (sources give these different numbers!) Anglican clergy, teachers, and medical missionaries, were killed during the Japanese invasion of Papuan New Guinea. Their deaths are honoured in the specific murder of Lucian Tapiedi, a teacher from Papua New Guinea of the Anglican faith. Tapiedi is also depicted in the row of statues of 20th-century martyrs on the façade above the Great West Door of Westminster Abbey.
It was a bit difficult to find who these people in the group of martyrs were; most sources just mention them all together as Martyrs of Papua New Guinea.
May Hayman and Mavis Parkinson were part of that group, and you can find out more about them here. They all came from different backgrounds, with faith and zeal for their mission.
I am sure that their families mourned them as individual people.
This booklet gives their individual names and background and it also gives a nicely critical note about the question what the Papuans felt about it all, such as two peoples from the outside world, fighting on their Papuan land about which strange, outside country would have supremacy over one another…and then go on to colonise them…
Some of the martyrs, after the Japanese invasion and Second World War had ended, were reburied at Sangara in Papua New Guinea.
I end respectfully with this collect
O Almighty God, who didst enable thy missionary and Papuan martyrs in New Guinea, in the day of sore trial and danger, to be faithful to their calling and to glorify thee by their deaths: Grant we humbly beseech thee that, by the witness of these thy martyrs, thy whole Church may be enriched and strengthened for thy gathering into thy fold of thy children in all lands; and that we thy servants, following the example of their steadfastness and courage, may labour the more fervently for the coming of thy kingdom, and may so faithfully serve thee here on earth that we may be joined with them hereafter in heaven. Through thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Why should we care about these martyrs?
As said in the prayers: by the witness of these thy martyrs, thy whole Church may be enriched and strengthened for thy gathering into thy fold of thy children in all lands.
They are our sisters and brothers and serve as our examples in their faith, for us in the here and now.
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