“As we come together for the purpose of our Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace, especially during this time, we do look to the Lord because we find it difficult in our world today, with the pandemic of COVID-19,” she said.
Referring to Psalm 13—“How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?”—Puloka reflected that it is not very easy to think and work toward justice and peace in our world, especially in these days. “But, God, we do thank you that we can still count on your many blessings that you have promised to us. You will save us. You will heal our world.”
The webinar, entitled “Singing the Lord's Song in Strange Lands and Times - A Just Pacific in the Time of COVID-19,” is one of a series of regional webinars on the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace in the context of COVID-19.
WCC deputy general secretary Prof. Dr Isabel Apawo Phiri reflected that many injustices already affecting the Pacific have been exacerbated by COVID-19.
The closing of borders has had a huge economic impact on the tourism-dependent region. With a focus on COVID-19, there is also concern that the climate emergency is being put on a back burner and that, in a bid to boost economic recovery, Pacific island states are being encouraged to focus on extractive industries.
“In our common Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace, we are part of one body in Christ,” said Phiri. “We are bound together as one humanity on our planet.”
Webinar participants heard stories that reflect on how the Pacific has been the last region to be affected by COVID-19, and how vaccine rollout is occurring, particularly for vulnerable people.
The conversation was moderated by Rev. James Bhagwan, general secretary, Pacific Conference of Churches, and Netani Rika, communication and development manager, Pacific Conference of Churches.