In their regional meeting, the group discussed a point of concern for meaningful engagement in the Pacific and how programme priorities must not only align with global focus but also with the regional priorities and learn from work in the regions.
“As we continue to struggle for a nuclear-free and independent Pacific, we note the increasing militarisation and emerging ‘Cold War’ in our region through the Indo-Pacific strategies of China and the United States and her allies. We view this militarisation, the use of aid as a weapon of this Cold War as yet another form of colonisation in the global south. We urge the WCC to not lose sight of these geopolitical conflicts in our region. We call on WCC’s support to ensure that those states responsible for nuclear testing in the Pacific to take responsibility for their legacy of destruction and commit to equitable reparations,” they said in their joint message.
Rev. James Bhagwan, general secretary of the Pacific Conference of Churches, reminded everyone saying, “The Pacific has much to offer in a time of ecological crisis and metanoia. We are the only region who have a call for a global ‘Break the Silence Sunday on Gender Based Violence’ and ‘Gender Justice Self-assessment tool’ for churches are two examples of this.”
They encourage WCC and others to receive what they offer as a mission from the margins of the map.
Maungarongo Tito, a youth representative from the Maori Council of Churches and youth advisor to the WCC, raised a question of how we can bridge the gap so that the Pacific does not feel forgotten as the WCC seeks to continue discerning how the model of the Pilgrimage of Justice, Reconciliation, and Unity guides the strategies and work of the global fellowship.
Tito insisted for “stronger engagements with all regions in developing and implementing programmes – not just the ones that are close to Geneva and have large representation in membership.”
“We continue to affirm and encourage stronger work to ensuring that principles of economic development resonate with those whole of life traditional practices and experiences accumulated over thousands of years, for the wellbeing of all. Solidarity and accompaniment is important but we need more action from WCC member churches for climate justice,” they urged.