12 Feb 2010

Leading Pacific churchman passes away

6:49 pm on 12 February 2010

Archbishop Jabez Bryce, the Anglican Bishop of the Diocese of Polynesia for the past 35 years, has died in Suva.

Archbishop Bryce, who was 75, was the longest-serving bishop in the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Archbishop Bryce was born in Vavau, in Tonga, grew up in Samoa, trained for the ministry in Auckland, and lived in Fiji for 50 years.

He became the first Pacific Islander to be made an Anglican bishop in 1975.

He served the Pacific Conference of Churches for many years and was a president of the Pacific region of the World Council of Churches.

In those roles he also spoke out for the wider good of the Pacific, including opposing French nuclear bomb testing at Mururoa Atoll in the 1970s.

Archbishop David Moxon of the Anglican Church in New Zealand says he will always recall the grace, strength and energy of Archbishop Bryce.