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National Councils of Churches in the Pacific meet

PCCx150Pacific Conference of Churches – National Councils of Churches in the Pacific – Roundtable, 10-14 June 2019

Liz Stone, NCCA Interim General Secretary attended the inaugural meeting of National Council of Churches convened by the Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC) in Suva, Fiji.

In the spirit of Pentecost, PCC General Secretary, Rev James Bhagwan welcomed the General Secretaries from Fiji, Niue, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu and Australia. Apologies were received from Kiribati and Micronesia. “If you think about it, the first ecumenical council meeting was at Pentecost”, Rev James said, “with Peter, the first General Secretary, marking the occasion with a speech.” (Acts 2: 42-47)

The physical unity within our National Council of Churches in the Pacific was compared and strategies for engagement of national church leaders were discussed.

With the PCC there was discussion around priorities, possibilities and partnerships on issues of common concern with NCCs - including climate justice and relocation; exploitation of Pacific workers in government and un-official schemes; gender violence and equality.  Regular communications with a lead NCC on particular issues will keep information sharing moving over the next year. 

The roundtable received an update on the campaign for Tanah Papua (Timor Barat, West Papua) sovereignty from ULMWP representatives visiting regional and diplomatic offices in Suva this week.  The referendums for independence for Bougaineville in Ocotober 2019 and Kanaky/New Caledonia in 2020 were also noted by the roundtable.

‘Re-weaving the ecological mat’ will be the theological theme for ecumenical sharing and formation between NCCs and the Pacific Ecumenical Community that is being formed by the PCC, Pacific Theological College and South Pacific Association of Theological Schools. “The theological framework will explore a new type of development model that listens to our spirituality, our traditional wisdom and the groaning of creation” explained Rev James.

In closing, Rev James of PCC reflected on Acts 4:32-35 and how far the ecumenical group of believers gathered at Pentecost had moved on from fellowship to unity as a faith community. “They were of one heart and one soul and professed that they would continue to pray for each other.”

From the Pacific gathering in Suva, it has come out very clearly for the General Secretaries doing same role and sharing the same task that working with the PCC can strengthen us and allow us to enjoy each other – walking together and knowing the challenges that each of us has. We will pray for one another.

Common areas of action were identified in the area of climate justice and Care for Our Common Home of the Pacific. Focus on human dignity - Economic and non-economic Loss and Damage – extinction of living cultures; Hospitality in the context of climate change, climate re-location, issue of hosting communities/receiving communities; Adaptation and mitigation practices; Community-based disaster risk reduction and mitigation programs.

In custodianship of creation, common focus is on Ocean pollution particularly plastics; Over fishing; Unsustainable development practices; Extractive industries such as Sea-bed Mining; the need for conversion from throw-away societies back to a creation-centred life.

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Meeting of Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC) and NNCs from across the Pacific.wearing florets to support the PCC campaign: “We Bleed Red and Black Wednesdays” for Tanah Papua.  Hands together in solidarity for the pursuit of sovereignty for Tanah Papua (Timor Barat, West Papua).
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Photo of General Secretaries
Left to Right at FRONT: Niue, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Australia, Samoa. BACK: Tonga, Pacific Conference of Churches. ABSENT: Fiji.
Apologies: Kiribati, PNG, Micronesia.

Group pic after Modern Slavery discussion






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