Going into all the world
It was good to be reminded last Sunday of the Martyrs of Papua New Guinea. We can be thankful as a Church for all who have laboured for the spread of the gospel.
It is good for us as the Church of St John the Baptist to remember that ‘one of our own’, May Hayman, is included in that list of martyrs. She sat with us and ate with us the bread of life and drank from the cup of salvation.
We can be thankful that the New Guinea Martyrs chose to live through the hour of danger with their people. They were given clear leadership by Bishop Phillip Strong who said: “We could never hold up our faces again, if, for our own safety, we all forsook Him and fled when the shadows of the Passion began to gather around Him and His Spiritual and Mystical Body, the Church in Papua.”
It is believed that the magnificent recovery after World War II and the present strength of the Church in New Guinea is due to these Christians who remained faithful unto death:
* Vivian Redlich, priest, from England
* Margery Brenchley from Queensland
* Lila Lashmar from Adelaide
* Henry Holland, priest, from New South Wales, and
* John Duffill, mission builder, were all beheaded on Buna Beach and their bodies thrown into the sea.
* Lucian Tapiedi, a Papuan evangelist, was cut down with an axe, when he tried to defend
* May Hayman and
* Mavis Parkinson who were bayonetted by Japanese soldiers.
* John Barge, an English priest, was killed at Apugi mission in New Britain.
We are reminded of the words of Jesus: “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain, but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” John 12:24
We can be thankful for all who have remained faithful unto death in their witness to the power of the gospel and of the truth of the resurrection.
We, of course, must always be challenged to witness to the value of the gospel in our own lives wherever we live and to remain true to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.