THE World Council of Churches General Assembly scheduled for 2020 in Karlsruhe, Germany, has been postponed until 2021.
Last night (June 4) the WCC announced the postponement as countries continued to battle with COVID-19.
The announcement said the assembly would take place when more of the ecumenical community could gather in safety.
The last WCC assembly was held in Busan, South Korean, in 2013.
CHURCHES across the Pacific will put annual synods and conferences on hold as they continue to deal with the Corona Virus Pandemic.
More than one third of the Pacific Conference of Churches' membership has announce postponements or reductions in annual meetings.
The announcements were made prior to similar action taken by the World Council of Churches.
In Fiji, the Methodist Church is expected to make a decision shortly on its plans for the annual conference.
Here is a list of churches in the Pacific who have discussed annual meetings and what to do in light of the global pandemic:
1. Free Wesleyan Church in Tonga - Annual Conference and festival postponed to 2021
2. Congregational Christian Church in Samoa - Annual Conference postponed to 2021
3. Methodist Church in Samoa - Annual Conference postponed to 2021
4. Cook Islands Christian Church - Bicentennial Assembly 2021
5. Maohi Protestant Church (Tahiti) - Annual Conference, festival and fundraising activity postponed to 2021
6. Congregational Christian Church in American Samoa - Annual Conference postponed to 2021
7. Methodist Church in New Zealand - Reduced Conference being discussed.
8. United Church in Papua New Guinea - All meetings online until the government changes current policy on church meetings
9. Anglican Diocese of Polynesia - Standing Committee reduced time and via zoom. General Synod reduced days and via Zoom.
10. Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu - Assembly postponed to 2021
11. Anglican Church of Melanesia - General Synod postponed to 2021
12. Micronesian Council of United Churches of Christ - Assembly postponed to 2021
13. Protestant Church in Kanaky - planning to postpone to 2021
UNITING World has called on Australia to recognise climate change as the greatest risk to the Pacific. In a submission to Australia's parliament, Uniting World pointed out that the region was more than 90 per cent Christian and churches were the best entry point for engagement with communities.
"Christianity is the dominant paradigm in the Pacific, it is the language of life and culture," the submission said in its offering on how to address Australia's Pacific Step Up programme.
''Deal with the issue of climate change with integrity,'' the submission also said. "This is the biggest existential issue in the Pacific, driving both rapid-onset disasters and slow-onset destruction of livelihoods.''
It called for an acknowledgement that climate change was not just an aid issue but one that required regional and global collaboration on a range of fronts.
Other suggestions were: Create space for alternative models of development; recognise that development and social flourishing for the Pacific people must be self-determined with due weight given to indigenous wisdom, culture and context. GDP and economic growth may not be the desired indicators; address the Pacific societal impacts of the labour mobility scheme.
“It’s about reframing the narrative in the way we address the issue of life in the Pacific, holistic life. Looking at the way we learn things and the world, the influence of global structures and systems, recognising those, and offering alternatives so that people of the Pacific are able to live a truly sustainable life and we are able to grow into the future with a more healthy outlook, not just spiritually, physically, emotionally but also in the sense of how we thrive. We need to change the conversations around resilience in the context of climate change disaster from survival mode to thriving.” - Rev James Bhagwan, General Secretary of the Pacific Conference of Churches.
CHURCHES have called on a major Australian mining company to clean up the island of Bougainville after years of copper and gold extraction. Human rights groups have echoed the call ahead of elections in the autonomous region later this year. Forty-five years of mining by Rio Tinto has left behind almost a billion tonnes of mine waste. Read the full story here:
FIJI'S Roman Catholic Church has launched a series of Facebook videos addressing the issue of violence in homes. In the first programme, Vicar-General Father Sulio Turagakacivi, spoke on the high incidence of violence in Fijian and Pacific homes. He also addressed the need for safety of children during COVID-19. The series is titled - Upholding the Dignity of Our Human Sexuality, the Dignity of Marriage and Family Life and can be viewed here: https://www.facebook.com/www.archdioceseofsuva.org/videos/954766628298708/