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    Preabuk long Bislama
Portions of the Book of Common Prayer in Bislama


Bislama is an official language of Vanuatu, where it is spoken by about 6,000 people as a first language and more than 200,000 others as an additional language. As an English creole, it combines English (and some French) vocabulary with grammar rooted in local languages. Bislama serves as a lingua franca within Vanuatu, which has one of the highest linguistic densities of any nation of its size; it is also spoken in the French territory of New Caledonia by ni-Vanuatu living there. Bislama is mutually intelligible with Solomon Islands pidgin. Like the Tok Pisin Liturgy of Papua New Guinea, Preabuk long Bislama represents a liturgical translation into a spoken neo-Melanesian language.

This translation into Bislama was prepared by Bishop Derek Rawcliffe and others in 1975 for use in what is now called the Diocese of Vanuatu of the Anglican Church of Melanesia. This text is a second, revised version published in 1979. David Griffiths, in his Bibliography of the Book of Common Prayer, does not list any Prayer Book translations into Bislama.

Like all pre-1980 liturgies used in Vanuatu, these services include intercessions for both Queen Elizabeth II and the President of France. (Before this date, Vanuatu was known as the New Hebrides and was governed jointly as an Anglo-French condominium.) These services are translations of the corresponding liturgies in A Melanesian English Prayer Book, first published in 1965. The Communion service follows the version online closely, while Morning and Evening Prayer show some variation.

Derek Alec Rawcliffe (b. 1921) first travelled to the Solomon Islands as a young priest in 1949 to serve as a teacher-headmaster. He moved to the New Hebrides from the Solomons in 1959 to become Archdeacon of Southern Melanesia. He continued in that position until he was appointed and consecrated Assistant Bishop of Melanesia (for the New Hebrides) in 1974. Upon the inauguration of the Church of the Province of Melanesia in January 1975, he automatically became the first Bishop of New Hebrides. He resigned that position in 1979; he subsequently served as Bishop of Glasgow and Galloway in the Scottish Episcopal Church from 1981 to 1991 and as an assistant bishop in the Diocese of Ripon until 1996.



cover, Bislama Prayer Book


Thanks are due to Richard Mammana, who transcribed this text for online publication, and to the Right Reverend Terry Brown, retired Bishop of Melanesia, who provided the 36-page pamphlet.


Mekem rere long Tambu Kakae 1-2
Preparation for Holy Communion

Mas 3-17
Order for Holy Communion

Prea blong Moning 18-21
Morning Prayer

Prea blong Sava 22-26
Evening Prayer

Olgeta Kantikol 27-36




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