Since the late 1990s, the Solomon Islands have been plagued by a civil war between the inhabitants of the island of Guadalcanal and settlers from the island of Malaita. During the conflict, many religious communities opened their homes as sanctuaries for those in need.
Among these was the Anglican Melanesian Brotherhood religious order. They go two by two into the villages communicating the Gospel and helping the poor and sick. Like pilgrims, they have their hips girded with a sash and hold a staff in their right hand. A medallion around their neck, with the image of Christ, reminds them whose servants they are. During the conflict, the Melanesian Brothers camped between the enemy lines praying with the opposing factions, asking, in the name of God, not to cross the barricades and negotiating the release of hostages. In April 2003, six Melanesian Brothers set off by canoe from Honiara towards the Weather Coast.
They wanted to bring home the body of Nathaniel Sado who had disappeared during a mission. The Brother was to deliver a letter to one of the local warlords, Harold Keke, from the Anglican Archbishop of Melanesia attempting to open a peace dialogue. For as long as it was believed that the religious might still be alive, the community prayed every night, taking turns in the chapel. It was only after many months that it became known that the religious were killed by Keke’s militia upon their arrival, having landed on the beach. On 8 August, confirming that the brothers had been killed, Keke proclaimed unconditional surrender and a cease-fire.