Church officials and members of the congregation of St Martin’s Anglican Church provided a warm welcome to visiting Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel deployed to Papua New Guinea (PNG) on Operation Kimba.
CAPTION: Chaplain Stuart Asquith (centre) and ADF members on Operation Kimba join Parish Priest Father Philip Jiregari and parishioners at a Sunday service at Saint Martin’s Anglican Church, East Boroko Papua New Guinea. Story and photo by Major Martin Hadley.
Parish priest for the church in East Boroko near Port Moresby, Father Philip Jiregari said the ADF members were a welcome surprise at the Sunday service.
“We were happy to welcome our Australian Defence Force visitors to our service, and also spend time afterward to talk and get to know each other better,” Father Philip said.
“The ADF is here to help us at a very important time, to assist us with our national election.
“It is a time when we have a responsibility to make a wise choice for our country’s future.”
Operation Kimba contingent chaplain, Chaplain Stuart Asquith, said wherever the ADF went in PNG, the personnel were greeted as friends.
“The welcome we received from Father Philip and everyday Papua New Guineans at the service was heart-warming and genuine,” Chaplain Asquith said.
“Our people on Operation Kimba have embraced the opportunity to attend community church services and especially to spend time meeting and speaking to local people.
“Wherever we go, we have an instant connection and friendship, which is based upon a shared faith and our longstanding relationship between Australians and Papua New Guineans, especially involving our Armed Forces.
“I was surprised to learn that the Anglican Church of PNG was part of the Anglican Diocese of Queensland up until 1977 but, happily, it is now an autonomous province within the Anglican Communion.”
The St Martin’s Anglican Church congregation welcomes people from the highlands and all parts of PNG at the weekly Sunday services. They have a proud history of welcoming visiting ADF members dating back to World War 2.