Church partners have their say

Representatives from partner churches attending the 14th Assembly have addressed members on Day Six of the 14th Assembly.

The Presiding Clerk of the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu, Pastor Allen Nafuki thanked the Uniting Church and UnitingWorld for their continued support and partnership in the wake of Cyclone Pam.

Nafuki said UnitingWorld had raised $600,000 in donations after the category 5 Cyclone hit Vanuatu and  surrounding islands in March earlier this year. He said the money assisted with the re-roofing of homes, schools, churches and other buildings. This work would have taken two months without the support of the Uniting Church – instead it took three weeks.

Rev. Amos Ndhlumbi, the Presiding Bishop from the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe brought greetings from his country and thanked the Uniting Church for bringing him to the Assembly meeting. He said the invitation was a humbling experience. Bishop Ndhlumbi also acknowledged that many churches throughout the world are struggling including his own church and that many of the items being discussed at Assembly are also being discussed at their church meeting in Africa at the end of August. Rev Ndhlumbi concluded by wishing the Uniting Church God’s blessings.

Bishop P.K. Samantaroy from the Church of North India commended UnitingWorld and the Uniting Church for encouraging the exploration of new ways to witness Christ in a multicultural context. He also expressed his thankfulness for the Church’s contribution to India particularly in the work of human trafficking prevention and education of children. Bishop Samantaroy also said that he valued prayers from the Uniting Church and asked for continued prayer between the partner churches to continue to build the body of Christ.

Rev. James Bhagwan from the Methodist Church in Fiji brought thanks to the Uniting Church from over 300 islands across the Pacific. He thanked the gathered members for support in capacity building for churches of the Pacific, not only with words but with actions demonstrated through assistance with gender-based violence and child protection.

Rev. Bhagwan brought with him greetings and love from the Methodist Church in Fiji which has had a relationship with the Uniting Church since 1855. Rev Bhagwan also commented on his appreciation for the church in times of political instability and oppression which has provided the church with strength in times of hardship.

In closing,  a statement of thanks prepared by partner churches was read in unison by all of those attending the 14th Assembly.

Before partner church members spoke, President Stuart McMillan took the opportunity to acknowledge Dr Katalina Tahaafe-Williams, who has been appointed Program Executive for the World Council of Churches (WCC) Commission for World Mission and Evangelism (CWME). Dr Tahaafe-Williams has particular responsibility for multicultural ministry and indigenous matters and has served on the staff of the WCC.