Papua New Guinea’s New Primate

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Anglicans in Papua New Guinea have a new archbishop. The Most Rev. Allan Rirme Migi, 58, was enthroned Sept. 9 as the province’s seventh primate. He elected in July, and succeeds the Most Rev. Mervin Clyde Igara.

Migi is the church’s senior bishop, consecrated as Bishop of the New Guinea Islands in 2000. He will be based at church’s provincial office in Lae, located in the central highlands. He will oversee the Diocese of Aipo Rongo, and his appointment will bring the number of bishops in the province to 11.

Migi said he wants to work for unity within the province, for ecumenical relations within the nation, and for connections with other Anglican provinces.

The Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea has more than 230,000 members in five dioceses. The first missionaries landed just over a century ago. Now the clergy are indigenous. There are 140 parishes, with hundreds of outstations and chapels.

Over 90 percent of the nation’s 7.3 million people are Christian. Papua New Guineans speak more than 800 languages, which is a huge challenge. About 80 percent of the population lives in remote rural areas without electricity, shops, roads, or access to markets. Some areas of the highlands remain unexplored.

A third of the population is illiterate. Three-quarters of the people rely on subsistence farming and a non-cash economy. The church reports that its challenges include HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, sexual abuse, domestic violence, and sorcery.

John Martin


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