Friday, 14 June 2019

One in the Body of Christ

Written by Rev. Charissa Suli, Assembly National Consultant

Second and Third Generation leaders of the Tongan National Conference (TNC) brought together 150 people to share and grow in faith at their Youth Rally in Brisbane on Sunday 9 June.

The gathering was planned, led and run by the TNC Second Gen Team led by Virginia Lavaki with the mentorship of Langi Suli.

For the first time the rally was open to members of other National Conferences, with young members of the Samoan and Niuean National Conference taking part and representatives of the South Sudanese and Middle Eastern National Conference there in support.

Leaders from all councils of the Church were present, including President Dr Deidre Palmer, Moderator Rev. David. Baker, members of the Assembly Resourcing Unit, Advocate for the Discipling the Next Generations Circle Steve Molkentin, as well as representatives of the Presbytery and other Synods.

The door was also opened to other denominations.

The presence of such a diverse group of people was a highlight.

The leadership of the TNC Second Gen team thought deeply about how to break to down walls, to look past our differences, to bring us together as the Body of Christ.

They created a space where we were bound together, not just because of our cultural background, but by our faith in Christ.

The theme of the conference, inspired by the President’s Assembly theme, was “Liberating by Faith in Jesus Christ.”

The gathering included time for worship, reflection and sharing.

Rev. Jason Kioa, former Chair of the TNC, gave an inspiring sermon about how the Gospel liberates differences. He was asked to preach because of his long commitment to building up the leadership of the Second Gen.

The Second Gen team led a weaving exercise where people were encouraged to name the people who have helped them come to know Christ better.

Rev. Fa Matagi shared her personal story touching on the challenges of identity and society's expectations and what it meant to find her own self and identity in Christ. 

Hospitality was generously provided by Park Uniting and their minister Rev. Maile Molitika.

At the end of the evening, lights were turned off and all were encouraged to switch on the lights of their mobile phones, filling the room with an array of lights and symbolising the call to go out and shine the light of Christ.

I left thankful for the leadership of our young people and deeply warmed by their open hearts.