Yesterday's commemoration in our Kalendar of Saints was about Ini Kopuria. He founded a lay Order in Melanesia, the Melanesian Brotherhood. They are devoted to the spread of the Gospel among the non-Christian areas of Melanesia. What struck me as remarkable was that, even though he evidenced a calling to a religious vocation at a young age, he became a police officer instead. It was after his retirement that he founder the Brotherhood, taking vows as the first Elder. I've known of former military men who enter religious life, but I'm not aware of any police officers. Like Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Roman Catholic Order, the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), Ini Kopuria discovered his true vocation while convalescing to recover from an injury. So often it seems, it takes extreme measures to get us to quiet down and hear what God is trying to get through to us.
You can read all about him by Goggling his name, of course. And if you were a regular reader of “Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints” or a regular reader of the Daily Office on the Mission St. Clare website, you would have read about him yesterday.
We who are so reticent about evangelism could probably learn a lot and draw inspiration from the methods of the Melanesian Brotherhood.
Here is the collect for the Commemoration.
“Loving God, we bless your Name for the witness of Ini Kopuria, police officer and founder of the Melanesian Brotherhood, whose members saved many American pilots in a time of war, and who continue to minister courageously to the islanders of Melanesia. Open our eyes that we, with these Anglican brothers, may establish peace and hope in service to others, for the sake of Jesus Christ; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”
Ron Hicks, Parish Verger, St. Alban's Episcopal Church, Washington DC, 7-June-2016.