This is our latest news on the mounting National Forgiveness Week movement.

Bougainville is is the largest island in the Solomon Islands archipelago and the main island of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, which is part of Papua New Guinea (PNG).

In 1988, the Bougainville Crisis broke out over conflicts regarding the Panguna Mine which morphed into a continuing struggle for independence concluding in 1998 with the loss of around 20,000 lives. See: Former Bougainville President James Tanis Presentation on Bougainville Peace process.
Since then, Bougainville has achieved the status of an autonomous region attached to PNG and is moving towards consensual independence in 2027.

In 2020 two pastors, one Australian and one from the Sepik region of PNG, visited Bougainville to present the notion of holding a week of forgiveness across the island nation. This was agreed to by the Bougainville Council of Churches (BCC) under the leadership of Pastor Albert Magoi. It was then scheduled to take place in the 2025 national calendar of events. The week was to be a nationwide event, held both inside and outside of the church edifices.

Its purpose was to teach the population the principles of one-on-one forgiveness, not limited to the entrenched hurts resulting from the war and its ongoing struggles, but also aimed at the simple everyday offences and conflicts that arise in the hearts of all people irrespective of their circumstances. Clearly, this message brings both the churched and the unchurched together, to the foot of the cross. Hopefully, this will result in bringing many to a knowledge of our Lord and Saviour.

In October 2023, Rob Warren and Mark Kinbacher travelled to Buka in Bougainville to reinforce planning for Bougainville Forgiveness Week (BFW). They re-presented the concept to a meeting of the prominent pastors and church leaders representing the Bougainville Council of Churches (BCC) and the Body of Christ Unity Group (BOC). The pastors unanimously agreed to move forward with BFW and to form an Organisational Committee to plan the event. Their intention to hold BFW was announced on national radio that same night.

The following day a meeting was held between two Christian unity groups that had been in a state of disagreement. This reconciliation heralded the first step towards Bougainville Forgiveness Week as the pastors realised that it could not happen if the churches were not in harmony. Two of the pastors were actively involved in writing the draft Bougainville National Constitution and expressed a desire to enshrine BFW into this important national document, requiring that BFW become an annual event throughout the island group.

The next day, a representative from the Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) requested a formal submission of funding so that BFW could be planned and appropriately funded. Rob and Mark drafted an Action Plan for the BFW Organisational Committee which included a budget proposal and structure for implementing BFW. This was submitted to Pastor Albert Magoi, President of the BCC, for consultation and amendment by the BFW Organisational Committee.

Since Rob and Mark’s visit, approximately fifteen Bougainville church organisations have joined in agreement to pray for the facilitating of the Bougainville National Forgiveness Week event, in conjunction with the National Forgiveness Week network of Australia and the Australian Christian Churches Field Workers prayer network.

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9).

We are all believing, not only a for successful event, but for lasting eternal outcomes affecting not only Bougainville but also other surrounding nations such as PNG itself and the Solomon Islands, as well as Australia.

If you would like to join our weekly prayer for National Forgiveness Week in Australia and the nations, please email Sue Tinworth

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