The statement expresses appreciation for the hospitality in Kanaky, and also expresses support for Kanaky’s pursuit of independence from France. “We have been reinvigorated by the deep relationships that have been renewed and the warmth of the hospitality we have received,” read the message. “This gift of the faith of our Kanak people is a call to us in our rich Pasifika diversity, to seek the transformation of ourselves and of our world.”
The statement also noted how Pacific traditions and faith history are enriched through storytelling. “Through stories we teach our young people to care for their neighbour and the environment,” reads the statement. “We affirm the call by our young people for intergenerational engagement and empowerment as part of our ongoing transformation.”
The continued militarisation of the Pacific and the proliferation of nuclear weapons remain issues of concern, notes the message.
“We call on our own leaders to free our people from the shackles of development assistance by the rich and powerful as instruments of influence and control,” reads the text. “In the spirit of transformation, we, Pasifika churches, communities and nations, are called into a transformation to be guardians of our islands and the ocean that connects us.”
The statement condemns the dumping of nuclear and other waste into the ocean. “We call on Japan to cease the dumping of contaminated water into our ocean,” the message reads. “We will guide our people in the process of transformation that is needed to protect our forests and our oceans from extractive industry and corporate capture.”
The Pacific Conference of Churches also urged COP28 to “hear the cry of our people, land, and ocean.”
The Pacific Conference of Churches General Assembly also held elections. Rev. James Bhagwan will be general secretary for four more years. The new moderator is Elder Dr Leatulagi Faalevao of the Congregational Church of American Samoa.
Rev. Sepiuta Hala'api'api of the Diocese of Polynesia, an Anglican, is deputy moderator.
The 13th General Assembly of Pacific Conference of Churches will be held in Fiji in 2027 and Kiribati in 2031.