A Reflection from the Pacific Conference of Churches 12th Assembly

15 December 2023

One of the main things is that we can meet together, share the problems that we have on our islands and work out the solutions together.

This was the comment of one of the young people met over breakfast one day at the Pacific Conference of Churches, a gathering of all different churches from Australia to Hawaii, bringing together church leaders, theologians, women’s leaders and young people to share, celebrate, discuss and plan for the future.

The meetings took place at the end of 2023 and were held on the island of Kanaky/New Caledonia, a French colony in the South Pacific.



The issue of colonialism and justice was high on the agenda with calls for self determination in situations of ongoing French and Indonesian colonialism in the Pacific.  Issues of climate change, deep sea mining, the legacies of nuclear testing and ongoing geopolitical stand off between China and the U.S. and allies were also discussed. Four of the first five islands that will be submerged by rising sea levels are in the Pacific but what was clear is that the Pacific leaders do not view themselves as victims of western economic systems, but as leaders in fighting for justice and seeking new ways of community action and contextual thinking.




Diverse voices were shared in the conversations.  One of those was Pastor Peniasi Rawaidranu (pictured - right). He is the leader of the Pacific Disability Forum and was able to speak powerfully about the voice that disabled people bring to different conversations, opening up new ways of thinking about issues such as climate change in the region.  Rev Siera Bird and Rev Dr Cliff Bird (pictured above) are also key voices in the Pacific conference of Church. Siera has led in producing resources for churches to use to face and tackle gender-based violence. Cliff is instrumental in the work to bring new Pacific focused approaches to the environment that fully value the sea, air, land and people in them. 


The good news is that the Pacific is increasingly contextualized in its spiritual and practical expression.  ‘Do Kamo – becoming fully human, as Christ’ was the theme of the assembly, with the good news expressed in a wish to re-connect with the stories of elders and the communities. The stories are ones of a diverse and abundant Pacific, so that even while economically the Pacific receives a large amount of aid per capita, the message is one of celebration of an abundant creation and an abundant Christ.  Storytelling, innovative programs and response to actual community needs were all part of the vision for the coming years, coming out of the assembly.

You can read the full outcome statement of the Pacific Conference of Churches, 12th Assembly here: PCC-12th-General-Assembly-Outcome-Statement.pdf (pacificconferenceofchurches.org)