Giving life gladly

Daily Reading for September 20 • John Coleridge Patteson, Bishop of Melanesia, and his Companions, Martyrs, 1871

John Coleridge Patteson was born in 1827 and came to New Zealand to assist Bishop Selwyn. He was put in charge of the Melanesian Mission. As its bishop from 1861, he opened up the islands to the gospel, and educated Melanesians to be priests and evangelists. He was a brilliant linguist, and did much to further the work of the mission by his warmth and modest charm. His murder on the island of Nukapu on 20 September 1871 was at the hands of people for whom he would gladly have given his life.

God of the southern isles and seas,

we remember with thanksgiving your servant John Patteson,

whose life was taken by those

for whom he would freely have given it;

grant us the same courage in extending your gospel

and readiness to share our life with others,

for the sake of Jesus Christ our Redeemer.

God of the resurrection, blessed are you in John,

first bishop to the Melanesians;

for by his willing sacrifice

you revealed the people’s cruel suffering,

and their right to hear the gospel.

Introduction and collects for the commemoration of John Coleridge Patteson, in For All the Saints: A Resource for the Commemorations of the Calendar, edited by Ken Booth. Revised edition (The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, 2005).

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