BASED in Suva, the capital of Fiji, our programmes support regional churches in the area of Climate Change, Self-Determination, eradication of Gender-based Violence, empowerment of youth and building better relations between faith groups.
CHURCH leaders have called on three regional institutions to conduct an urgent review of their activities.
The Pacific Theological College, South Pacific Association of Theological Schools and Pacific Conference of churches have been urged to collaborate more and reduce their reliance on funders.
A review of the organisations' collaboration is under way.
THE Pacific Conference of Churches will take part in the Inter-Session meeting in Bonn, Germany in May. This is a precursor to COP 24 which will be held in Poland in December. The PCC has been at the forefront of the Pacific battle against climate change for 10 years.
THE Pacific Conference of Churches continues to champion the cause of the West Papuan people. This involves an act of free choice to be allowed by Indonesia. The PCC has designated December 2 as Freedom Sunday to commemorate the struggle of all Pacific people who yearn for freedom.
THE Pacific Conference of Churches speaks out regularly on issues of social justice. We support and encourage Pacific churches and church leaders to bring these issues to the attention of our people and legislators so that they can be addressed in a timely fashion. Those issues range from nuclear testing to independence, the environment to poverty and from displacement to gender-based violence.
THE work of the Pacific Conference of Churches is funded by a number of partner organisations from the region and the world. A small amount is raised from member churches and by the PCC Assets Management Unit. Our vision is to eventually help to fund programmes in the region.
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THE Pacific Conference of Churches raised the New Caledonia flag in Suva today in support of a referendum in the French territory in November.
And churches throughout the region have been urged to pray for a peaceful vote on the issue of independence.
General Secretary, Reverend Francois Pihaatae, said November would be an historical month for New Caledonia.
"It is important for the people to have their say in a free vote," Pihaatae said.
“Churches have a role to play in ensuring peaceful political processes and the PCC will send a delegation to Kanaky (New Caledonia) to help our members ahead of the referendum.”
The decision on independence must be decided by a three-stage referendum allowed under the Noumea Accord.
There are basically two factions – one pro-independence and the second in opposition – in Kanaky whose economy relies heavily on mineral extraction and tourism.
The increasing presence of China in the region is likely to add a new dimension to the argument by pro-French voters to remain part of France.
But a majority of the indigenous population wants independence after what they claim is years of abuse at the hands of colonialists against the local people.
CHURCHES have a duty to speak out against the widespread cases of sexual abuse against women and children in Fiji.
Archbishop Peter Loy Chong described the resurgence of sexual crimes in the past two years as a great sin.
“As Catholics and as Christians we must denounce this evil,” Chong told parishioners at Suva’s Sacred Heart Cathedral on International Women’s Day.
“Every day we read in the newspapers and hear on the radio of rape and the abuse of women and children. We must put an end to this injustice.”
Chong called on all Catholics to join the fight to end gender-based violence.
Tonight the spiritual head of Fiji’s 80,000 Catholics will join a march through the capital to show support for the victims of abuse and make a public stand against violence, rape and other crimes against women.
“Today we thank the Catholic Women’s League for the tremendous contribution its members make in the lives of our families and the church,” Chong said.
“At the same time we stand ready to defend their rights as equal members of society, created in God’s image.
“In all Fiji’s religions and cultures – iTaukei, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Indian, Rabi or Rotuman – there is a strong patriarchal value system in which men are considered superior.
“But the church teaches that men and women are equal and created to complement each other.”
Quoting High Court judge, Justice Salesi Temo, Chong said Fiji’s courts predominantly heard rape cases.
“There are more rape cases than murder, assault or any other crime,” Chong said.
TONGA’S churches have deployed chaplains to disaster areas to help people deal with the after-effects of Tropical Cyclone Gita.
Trained in trauma and grief counselling, the chaplains will spend time in the communities most affected by the cyclone before returning to the capital, Nuku’alofa.
The Roman Catholic charity arm, Caritas, has also joined the relief effort to deliver supplies – food, water, and temporary shelter – to those most affected.
But the chaplains at the forefront of rebuilding and strengthening the community through psycho-social support which will restore hope.
The Free Wesleyan Church trained chaplains for the Tongan Disaster Recovery Chaplaincy Network in 2015 after a major disaster.
Those chaplains formed the vanguard of the church’s post-TC Gita effort.
Much of their time over the last two weeks has been spent talking to victims, explaining nature and allowing people to share their anger, fear or hurt.
The chaplains undergo debriefing exercises to guard against vicarious traumatisation (how the carer can be affected by the work)
FIJI'S Roman Catholic Church has set up a Professional Standards Group to deal with complaints of sexual misconduct within the institution.
Headed by a priest and comprising lawyers, doctors, social workers and investigators the group hears complaints and investigates all cases.
Complaints are received against people who work in the church - priests, teachers or workers. These are investigated and recommendations made to the archbishop.
THE Pacific Conference of Churches has spent the past three years advocating for men as partners against Gender-based Violence.
Under its Women and gender Programme, the PCC has trained men in Fiji and the Solomon Islands to help fight violence and create safe spaces for women.
IF you want the PCC to conduct advocacy programmes for men in your community or church, contact us today on 679-3311277