The Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia, Sir Ellison Pogo will retire early next month after serving the church for many years.

Sir Ellison publicly announced his retirement last Saturday at a graduation ceremony at Bishop Patterson Theological College, Kohimarama where he was guest speaker.

Sir Ellison graduated from Bishop Patterson Theological College in 1976 after which he took studies at St Johns College in Auckland where he graduated in 1979.

He was made Deacon the same year and then ordained to the priesthood in 1980 in the diocese of Dunedin.

In 1981 Sir Ellison was ordained diocesan Bishop of Isabel where he served for 13 years until he was called to be archbishop of the Church of Melanesia in 1995. In 2006 he became senior primate in the Anglican Communion.

In 2008, he became the first person in the whole pacific basin, including Australia and New Zealand to receive the Cross of St Augustus.

The president of Vanuatu also bestowed on him the barge of honour of the Republic of Vanuatu for his services to the Anglican Church of Melanesia.

Deputy Principal of Bishop Patterson Theological College, Father Mathew Jones spoke highly of Sir Ellison as a man of many talents, gifts and qualities.

Father Jones said Sir Ellison would leave a significant gap in the church for his successor to fill. Father Jones spoke of his knighthood by the Queen in October 2000 as an honour which reflects Sir Ellison's abilities as a proven leader with vision and passion for the church he leads.

He said such leadership skills and qualities were demonstrated when he led the church through the most turbulent and traumatic times of the ethnic tension.

Source: Solomon Islands Broadcasting Cooperation (SIBC)