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Drink-driving bishop resigns: The Church of England Newspaper, May 14, 2010 p 6. May 22, 2010

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Melanesia, Church of England Newspaper.

Archbishop David Vunagi of Melanesia

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Melanesian bishop convicted of drink-driving in March, has resigned.  Last week the Archbishop of Melanesia, the Most Rev. David Vunagi said that after meeting with the House of Bishops on May 5, the Rt. Rev. Charles Koete handed in his resignation as Bishop of the Central Solomon Islands.

In March the Tulagi magistrate’s court fined Bishop Koete £25 and bound him over to keep the peace after he pled guilty to driving while under the influence of alcohol and driving without a licence.

On Jan 1, Bishop Koete drove his diocesan-owned vehicle in the sea after missing a curve in the road.  The bishop had been hosting a New Year’s Day party at his home, and had left the party to restock the bar.  No one was injured in the crash, which occurred as the bishop was returning to the party with more beer.

On April 14, Archbishop Vunagi said he had given Bishop Koete formal notice that he would be brought up on charges of conduct unbecoming a member of the clergy.

Rather than contest the charge, Bishop Koete gave the House of Bishops a letter submitting a request to take early retirement, effective May 31, 2010.

The bishop was contrite, writing “I apologise to you, the Church of Melanesia, the Anglican Communion and all Christian people.  It is my prayer that we shall continue to work together in peace and harmony.”

In a statement released to the media, Archbishop Vunagi said the House of Bishops had granted Bishop Koete’s request.  He added “I wish to sincerely thank Bishop Charles for choosing to take the honourable way to request for an early retirement other than allowing the processes of the Church to make a decision for him.”

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