As we prepare for the 15th Triennial Assembly, I’m reminded of the bold step taken by our overseas church partners three years ago in Perth.
In an unprecedented move, they stepped up and tabled a statement they’d penned in which they offered their resources to the UCA to enhance our mission in the world and committed themselves to each other to share their strengths and challenges to partner in God’s transformation of the world.
The statement changed the way we work. Instead of holding independent relationships with each of our overseas church partners, we’ve increased our facilitator role, encouraging our partners to come together to share resources, expertise and learning opportunities. Over the last three years we’ve hosted eleven regional conferences covering topics like theology of community development, the protection of children and financial planning.
The past three years have also vindicated our strategy to use the language and lens of faith and Christian teaching to tackle the big issues of gender inequality and climate change. Supporting our partners to engage in theological dialogue and address people’s hearts and minds through Biblical teaching has been rewarded by seeing change at the grass roots. Even the Australian Government has acknowledged our approach, re-accrediting us for the next five years and praising our approach on gender, disaster preparation and climate change impact in the Pacific.
I’m delighted to look back over the past three years and note that together we’ve made a tangible difference to over 250,000 people:
- Clean water and sanitation in Zimbabwe and Papua New Guinea
- Education (particularly for children with disabilities) and professional literacy training for teachers and librarians in India, Tonga, Vanuatu and Sri Lanka
- Micro-credit loans for small business (many for women) in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Fiji
- Theological reflection and practical action on gender inequality and climate change impact throughout the Pacific
- Disaster response work throughout the Pacific as well as famine and refugee responses in South Sudan, among the Rohingya people and within Syria.
We’ve also been strengthening leaders and equipping churches both here in Australia and throughout Asia, Africa and the Pacific:
- We helped almost 400 people to visit and work among our partners, including lay teachers and leaders of the UCA
- We mobilised over 1,000 people to participate in the People’s Climate March in support of our Pacific Island partners
- We brought global voices to major UCA events such as UnitingWomen, the Wontok youth conference, the UCA Deacons Conference; and we also hosted workshops and took part in UCA national conferences
- Over 300 congregations and church groups participated in Lent Event and Everything in Common.
You can read the full report to the National Assembly detailing our last three years work by heading to uniting.church/b15-unitingworld.
Recently, we told a story of the innovative way our partners are building peace and forging hope in Maluku. These are the people who continue to stoke the fire of my conviction that God is alive and well within the world, calling each of us to take our place as members of one body working together for renewal. Thank you so much for the part you’re playing. We look forward to the next three years with you and the many challenges and joys they will bring.
Peace and hope,
Dr Sureka Goringe