“With all the pomp and ceremony of Westminster Abbey the new King was anointed and crowned...” was how the coronation of King Tupou VI was described in last September’s TALK, reporting on a Fellowship program about the King of Tonga. News in one of the Christmas cards I received this year told me something more about the coronation that I did not know at the time when I presented that program.
Of course the Archbishop of Canterbury wasn't there to crown King Tupou VI, but they had a distinguished churchman of their own. A former President of the Uniting Church in Australia, known and respected internationally as an ecumenical leader, a theologian and a liturgist, the Rev Dr D'Arcy Wood was born in Tonga and has maintained a lifelong connection with the Methodist (Free Wesleyan) Church there. So who needs an archbishop?
The Tongan church regard D'Arcy as one of their own. D'Arcy's father, the Rev Dr Harold Wood, was at Tupou College in Tonga from 1923 to 1937 and his family grew up there, although he is better remembered now for his 27 years at MLC Melbourne and his leadership in the movement for church union that resulted in the Uniting Church in Australia. D'Arcy Wood is well remembered in South Australia for his years as a lecturer at Parkin-Wesley College and his leadership of the Assembly Commission on Liturgy.
In their 2015 Christmas card Janet and D'Arcy wrote, “Rather an eventful year for us. The highlight was D'Arcy crowning the King of Tonga - a high point of the 93 years of links between Tonga and the Woods!”
Rev Norah Norris
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