Messages of tribute and thanksgiving for Archbishop Fereimi Cama’s life and ministry have arrived in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia as leaders of the Anglican Communion and the global church received the sad news of his passing.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby has paid tribute to Archbishop Fereimi Cama on 2 July, and offered his personal condolences to his family and this Province.
Former Archbishop of York, Lord Sentamu of Lindisfarne & Masooli and Rev Margaret Sentamu were shocked and saddened to learn of Archbishop Fereimi Cama’s death last week.
“We remember him most fondly when he spent three months at Bishopthorpe Palace, [home to the Archbishop of York] learning about urban and rural ministry in the Archdiocese of York.”
The Sentamus had watched with interest from afar as the Rev Fereimi Cama they first knew took up leadership roles in Polynesia, as Archdeacon, then Bishop and Archbishop.
“We also remember him most fondly when he welcomed us back to Fiji in February 2020 and offered us such amazing hospitality in both the church and State and local communities. His silent but solid presence and his smile were always calming and reassuring.”
“Our prayers are with his family, the Diocese of Polynesia, Aotearoa and New Zealand and the wider Anglican Communion. We mourn with you, albeit from afar.”
Many more primates – many of whom have come to know Archbishop Cama through Anglican primates’ meetings in person and online – have sent personal messages offering their condolences and prayers for those close to Archbishop Fereimi who are most keenly mourning his loss.
Amongst those was close Pacific neighbour, the Most Rev Leonard Dawea, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in Melanesia, who offered his condolences “with a heavy heart for the great loss of a colleague and friend.”
More messages of condolence have come from Archbishops and primates of Burundi, Hong Kong, Southern Africa, South East Asia, Tanzania, Bangladesh and Sudan, and from the primates of South America, the Philippines, the West Indies, Central Africa, Ireland, Jerusalem and the Middle East, Canada, Myanmar, South Sudan, Wales, Central America, Scotland and Mexico.
From the wider church, the World Council of Churches Acting General Secretary Rev Prof Dr Ioan Sauca acknowledged Archbishop Fereimi Cama’s contribution and service to the church within the Pacific and the wider Oceania region.
“We give thanks for his commitment and advocacy on issues of climate change, youth, women and his selfless acts of hospitality to the hostages and their families of the Fiji coup in 2000,” wrote Dr Sauca.
“We pray that the legacy and ministry of Archbishop Cama will continue to bear fruit in and by those who will follow in his stead.”
Pacific Conference of Churches General Secretary, Rev James Bhagwan thanked God for Archbishop Fereimi’s life spent in service to God’s Pacific people, and for his work as a trustee of the Pacific Conference of Churches.
“Archbishop Cama stood for justice and equity in the areas of climate change, women and youth. His wise counsel from years of working with and for the people will be missed.”
USPG General Secretary Duncan Dormor expressed the Society’s deep sadness to hear the news of Archbishop Fereimi’s loss and offered their condolences to his family and church family.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone in the diocese and across the province who will be grieving the loss of a treasured friend and wise bishop. His passing is a great loss to the Communion.”
Mr Dormor expressed USPG’s appreciation for Archbishop Fereimi during the time they spent together in the Diocese of Lincoln in 2019 and for his encouragement in strengthening the companion links on joint concerns of Creation care across Dioceses of Polynesia and Lincoln.
“We are thankful for the words and encouragement of Archbishop Cama.”
“His contribution to USPG’s 2020 Lent Study Course ‘Living with a World of Difference’, … set the tone for a challenging course and shared the inspiring vision and mission of the Three Tikanga Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.”
“We are so sorry that travel restrictions in Fiji and around the globe mean that so many people who would have wished to pay their respects in person will be unable to attend.”
“It is a great sadness…that a full celebration and commemoration of Archbishop Cama’s life and ministry that enables all of the Diocese and Province to be a part will not be possible at this time.”
“Please know that USPG will be there in spirit and… taking advantage of the opportunity to join the service virtually.”