The Patteson's Way pilgrimage was created by The Melanesian Mission and is supported by Devon Pilgrim to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the martyrdom of Bishop John Coleridge Patteson, first Bishop of Melanesia.

The life and mission of John Patteson

John Patteson’s family home was in Feniton in Devon and he began his education in Ottery St Mary. After completing his studies, he was ordained a priest in Exeter Cathedral and served his curacy in Alfington.

In the summer of 1854, Patteson became a missionary to Melanesia. He spent many years travelling around the islands, teaching the indigenous people about Christianity. In 1861, he was consecrated as the first Bishop of Melanesia. The indigenous people however were wary, more accustomed to bring subject to abuse by white slave traders. Patteson’s gentle, quiet approach was reassuring. He wanted the Melanesian people themselves to worship God not in European ways but in the rich, warm colour of their own culture.

But on 20th September 1871, probably in reaction to abuse and kidnap of their people by slave traders, John Patteson was killed on the island of Nukapu. His name, reputation and example spread throughout the islands and his is still greatly revered in Melanesia today.

The Patteson’s Way

Patteson’s Way is a circular route that starts and ends at St Andrew’s Church in Feniton. The route takes you from Feniton, where Patteson grew up, to Alfington where he served as a Curate in 1853 until his calling to mission in Melanesia. You then travel on to Ottery St Mary, where his relative still live today. Then, pausing to reflect at Patteson’s Cross on the way, you return to Feniton.

Along the route you will visit many things of interest commemorating John Patteson’s life and work. However, as a personal pilgrimage of significance to us as individuals today, it also offers opportunities for prayer for ourselves and the people of Melanesia today, and an invitation to reflect on Patteson’s commitment and our own links with the people of those islands today as we face the impact of the climate crisis.

The route can be found on the charity’s website and in booklets available from the churches along the route.

The work of The Melanesian Mission

The Melanesian Mission UK is an Anglican mission agency which supports the Anglican Church of Melanesia through prayer, people and giving in the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia. It funds education, youth work and ministry to vulnerable women and children.
It also supports the work of the four Anglican religious orders in the region, provides aid in times of disaster and works to highlight climate justice and other environmental issues in the region.

The charity provides the opportunity to link schools and parishes in the UK and Melanesia, and offers part funded placements and sabbaticals for ordinands, clergy, church workers and teachers. You can support their work by volunteering your time and skills, campaigning and acting on climate change issues, financially and through your prayers.

"Go in peace,
be brave,
hold fast to that which is good,
give no one evil for evil,
strengthen those who are afraid,
hold up the weak,
help those in trouble,
honour all people,
love and serve the Lord,
be full of joy in the power of the Spirit"
(from the Melanesian Prayer Book)

Devon Pilgrim is proud to support the Melanesian Mission in the development of this route, as they seek to raise awareness of the effects climate change is already having on the Solomon Islands, and those who live there. The impact each of us has on the planet on a daily basis so often affects those more vulnerable than ourselves. The people of the Solomon Islands are already facing the destruction of their homes as rising sea levels begin to cover the islands.

Our place on this earth can be a fragile one, and each of us has a responsibility to Tread Lightly as we make our daily pilgrimage through life.