General Secretary for the Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC) Rev. James Bhagwan was one of the keynote speakers at the UCA President’s Conference in Fiji from 13-17 July 2019.
In an interview reflecting his key themes, James shares how the Pacific is on a journey of self-determination, reclaiming itself as a large “liquid continent” and people connected by the ocean. He reflects on the impacts of climate change in the Pacific where land and sea are bound to culture and a sense of belonging. He describes the work of the PCC and the role of the Church find ways to both speak truth to power and find practical responses from the grassroots up.
Here is a transcript of his interview.
For many generations, Westerners have continued to look at the Pacific as small dots in a big ocean.
A statement from the President’s Conference, Fiji 2019
“For God so loved the cosmos” (John 3:16)
The good news of Christ is for the whole of creation
and we are one with all creation in Christ. (Col 1: 23)
We, the participants of the 2019 President’s Conference, gathering in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in Fiji have drawn together to bear witness and to draw courage from each other – here where climate change is most clearly seen, most clearly felt, by the people least responsible for its progress.
Ten years ago this week, the 12th Assembly resolved to add a new and important Preamble to our Constitution.
The profound lament, truth, theology and intention of this preamble cannot be understated. It says, this is who we are as the Uniting Church in Australia, this is how we understand our history, and this is our commitment to First Peoples and to the gospel.
This week saw the start of series of crisis care workshops conducted by visiting speaker Rev. Dr Naomi Paget.
Dr Paget is a world expert in disaster recovery chaplaincy and crisis intervention, working with Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, the FBI and other agencies.
The President of the Uniting Church in Australia Dr Deidre Palmer delivered this sermon at Lautoka Methodist Church in Fiji on Sunday 14 July 2019 at a combined service of the local congregation and members of the 2019 UCA President's Conference.
BIBLE READINGS: Luke 8:1-3 and Luke 23:50-24:12 (NRSV)
Some Women Accompany Jesus
8 Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, 2 as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, 3 and Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others
More than 60 people from all over Australia gathered in Nadi, Fiji for the first President’s Conference to be hosted by UCA Assembly President Dr Deidre Palmer.
The theme of the conference, “For the Whole Creation” reflects the key commitments of the Assembly and the wider Uniting Church to take action to address climate change and gender justice.
The location of the Conference in Fiji provided the opportunity to better understand the impacts of climate change, particularly in the Pacific region where communities are at the forefront of both the most devastating effects and the push for an urgent response.
Last year the 15th Assembly supported a landmark Statement on Domestic and Family Violence.
In the Statement, Assembly members said it was important to, among other things, "educate our members about the reality of the situation and how they can respond to point people to support, resources and care."
Part of that education would be amply fulfilled if every UCA member read Australian journalist Jess Hill's gut-wrenching first book, See What You Made Me Do.
More than 135 students, ministers, academics, young professionals and a handful of children from across NSW, ACT, Queensland and Victoria attended School of Discipleship (SOD) 2019 on 28-30 June at Naamaroo Conference Centre in the northern Sydney suburb of Chatswood.
The theme this year was: Seeing Differently: Unveiling Evil, Unveiling God in the Book of Revelation, with keynote sessions led by Rev. Dr. Robyn Whitaker, the Coordinator of Studies – New Testament at Pilgrim Theological College in Melbourne.
Twenty-five years ago the Uniting Church in Australia formalised our commitment to walk together in solidarity with the First Peoples of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) by enacting the Covenant statement.
The President and General Secretary of the Uniting Church in Australia Assembly have today issued a statement celebrating the UCA's ongoing relationship with the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga.
The statement was issued as Dr Palmer attends the annual General Conference in the Tongan capital Nuku'alofa.
UCA President Dr Deidre Palmer has recorded a message to all Church members on the occasion of the 42 anniversary of the Uniting Church in Australia.
Greetings in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, on this 42nd anniversary of the Uniting Church in Australia.