Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Honouring Our Tongan Connections

Their Majesties, King Tupou VI and Queen Nanasipau'u of Tonga opened a new school buildings at Sydney's Newington College this week, in a ceremony that honoured longstanding close connections between respective churches and states.

Uniting Church leaders were honoured to be in attendance.

The new Tupou College Centre recognises Newington's long historic links with Tonga's Tupou College and the Pacific Kingdom.

Newington School was founded in 1863 by the young Wesleyan missionary, Rev. James Moulten who later went on to found Tupou College.

The late King Tupou IV (1918-2006) attended Newington from 1933 to 1936 as Crown Prince, where he was an accomplished scholar and sportsman.

President Stuart McMillan, NSW/ACT Moderator Rev. Dr Myung Hwa Park and UnitingWorld National Director Rob Floyd all represented the Uniting Church at the ceremony.

An old boy of Tupou College, Rev. Salesi Faupula of Jannali Uniting Church, led the opening prayer.

Sydney's Tongan Choir and Tongan boys at Newington also performed as part of the ceremony.

"It was great to be here to honour the longstanding Christian fellowship we share and to extend in person our warm greetings to their Majesties on behalf of the Uniting Church," said Mr McMillan.

"I am constantly humbled and give thanks to God for the way our Tongan brothers and sisters honour this fellowship through our Tongan National Conference led by Rev. Jason Kioa, and internationally through UnitingWorld our relief, development and church partnership agency."

“The Uniting Church's links with Tonga go back even further than Rev. Moulten through the work of Wesleyan missionaries in the 1820s, and continued until Church Union in 1977 through the Methodist Church of Australasia,” said Mr Floyd.

“In 2015, former UCA President the Rev. Dr D’Arcy Wood took part in His Majesty’s King Tupou VI's coronation and our immediate past-President Rev. Prof. Andrew Dutney preached at the coronation service. The Uniting Church highly values our long standing friendship with the Kingdom of Tonga and our partners the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga.”