The Solomon Islands Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo has praised the Kohimarama Bishop Patterson Theological College for its academic excellence when it graduated 42 students last Friday.

Prime Minister Lilo was the chief guest alongside the Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia Reverend David Vunagi.

Kohimarama College has over the years educated many students in Melanesia who have gone on to play key roles in leadership and church ministry in the region at large.

In his key note address, Prime Minister Lilo congratulated the graduating students, BPTC staff and the Church of Melanesia for producing yet another group of qualified theologians to serve our people and churches.

The graduation ceremony is the beginning of a new chapter for the graduating students as missionary work has either started or continuing across the church's dioceses and parishes.

"Ladies and gentlemen, the 42nd graduation for diploma students and 4th anniversary of the degree Programme tells us about the aptitude and history of this great college and its academic excellence," Prime Minister Lilo said.

Kohimarama is a truly home-grown Melanesian theological college with a strong Anglican tradition with sound academic teaching, which has for many years produced outstanding clergies and countless lay workers across Melanesia and beyond including Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Canada.

"I believe that Kohimarama is a living example of theological education in Melanesia that is relevant and meaningful. You can best describe yourself as one of the leading theological colleges in Melanesia".

"It is also my strong conviction that there is a real need for theological education in Melanesia. This is because theology is an important development factor to achieving comprehensive development - and the one that puts human-beings at its centre," Prime Minister Lilo said.

"This is why in my view that it is important to advance theological education in Melanesia to promote a more orderly and respected society that appreciates the creation so that we must share it with others," He added.

Prime Minister Lilo also praised the Anglican Church of Melanesia's latest move to decentralize its certificate and diploma programmes in theology to its dioceses is a direct advancement of theological studies in Melanesia.

"This would open a new gateway for Melanesians who want to undertake theological studies to access these programmes in Isabel, Malaita and the Diocese of Banks and Torres in Vanuatu.

The trainings are oriented in a way that theological reflections will be based on real issues and space to allow wider participation from the top to the rural level, where people can feel responsible and actively participate whenever such opportunities arise

To the Graduates Prime Minister Lilo expresses confidence they have been trained well to deal with all the challenges that come their way.

"You will realize that your work will not only be restricted to your parish or diocese but it will call on you to actively participate in the activities of our community and our country. You must demonstrate the true values of leadership to your flock and must be ready at all times to face the challenges as a missionary," Prime Minister Lilo said.

Source: Press Release, Government Communications Unit