The idea to establish a ‘resource center’ for missionaries in Papua New Guinea originated among the SVD missionaries (Societas Verbi Divini/Divine Word Missionaries) in 1967. With the cooperation of the Marists (Missionary of Mary) and the MSCs (Missionaries of the Sacred Heart), and the Association of Clerical Religious Superiors (ACRS) as a legal sponsor, it became a reality in July 1968. The first full-time director, Fr. Hermann Janssen MSC, was officially installed in April 1969. In 1970, the Melanesian Institute (MI) became an official venture of the Roman Catholic Church in PNG, and land for the Institute was officially offered by the then Bishop of Goroka, John Cohill SVD, thus moving the MI from its original founding site near Rabaul to its current Campus in Goroka. In 1973, in line with the spirit of the Vatican Council II, the MI gradually evolved into an ecumenical Institute. The current church members of the Institute are Roman Catholic, Anglican, United Church and Lutheran.
The Melanesian Institute
The Melanesian Institute for Pastoral and Socio- cultural Services is a Papua New Guinea based ecumenical institute dedicated to promoting the understanding of indigenous values, customs and socio-cultural changes among diverse Melanesian societies, with a purpose to serve and support different churches, missionary societies, academic or service institutions and grassroots communities through researches, publications, in-service training and culture-related courses for varying interest groups. Researchers of various disciplines – including anthropology, psychology,education, as well as theology work together on interdisciplinary projects. Some of the focus research areas have been Marriage and Family Life, Disability, Politics,Drugs and Alcohol,and Sorcery and Witchcraft. The Melanesian Institute publishes its work through its Media and Publications Unit.
The Melanesian Institute (MI) is an ecumenical research, teaching and publishing body in Papua New Guinea that:
- is mandated to focus on pastoral and socio-cultural issues,
- engages in ongoing dialogue between Christian values and Melanesian cultures,
- promotes peace and reconciliation; dignity and respect; and social, economic and ecological justice.