08 October 2021

A Statement on COVID and health: the theological and cultural reflections from the Pacific

Dear friends in God's ecumenical household,

Bula vinaka! Greetings from the Pacific Theological College.

Since the recent Pacific Church Leaders Meeting in July, there is a growing concern not in relation to spike in community transmission in the Pacific, but also the conspiracy theories circulated online light up and fanned by some Christian groups that have ignited an anti-vaccination/anti-medical movement. While health management in countries like Fiji, Tahiti, PNG, NZ, and others is continually spiraling into a crisis, they are also struggling with articulating and understanding their faith in 'situations of crisis' in relation to these theories. PTC and PCC were encouraged to look at this issue.

I attached here PTC statement on this issue. The purpose of the statement is not only to give a thorough and detail discussion of the health issue, but rather to provide some biblical, theological, and Pasifika cultural reflections on rethinking the current health narrative as well as addressing these theories. It also encourages the Church and our ecumenical Aiga to have the courage to be prophetic in the public space to ensure the life and dignity of the 'vulnerable neighbour', the 'victims of social stigmatization', those 'who gasp for air', and those who just cannot provide for their families, are protected and supported during this crisis. Note that this is just a 'statement' adopting a broader faith and cultural approach in addressing and rethinking health and wellbeing issues and the current threats. Most of what is included can be (re)navigated further through discussions, research and publications, and talanoa around a full tanoa.

In solidarity with those who struggle to 'breathe for life'!

Upolu Luma Vaai

PRINCIPAL Pacific Theological College

Read the full statement from the Pacific Theological College here

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