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Meeting with Pacific Leaders

September 2017

Earlier this month, ABM Executive Director, Rev’d John Deane, attended and chaired a meeting of the Anglican Alliance Oceania Regional Advisory Committee (ORAC).

The meeting involved key development staff from the four Anglican Provinces in the Pacific, including;

  • Port Vila sunset
    Port Vila sunset. © Jess Melas/ABM
    Dennis Kabekabe, Provinical Secretary of the Anglican Church of PNG
  • Heni Meke, Executive Director of Anglicare PNG
  • Brian Kirk, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Anglican Council, Anglican Church of Australia
  • Bishop Patterson Worek, Diocese of Banks and Torres, Anglican Church of Melanesia
  • Ethel George, Mother’s Union, Anglican Church of Melanesia
  • Joses Togase, General Secretary, Anglican Church of Melanesia - Vanuatu
  • Casper Supa, Aid and Program Officer, Anglican Church of Melanesia
  • Michael Hartfield, New Zealand Mission Board
  • Grace Aston, Anglican Overseas Aid
  • Gerald Billings, Director of Polynesia, Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand

 

ORAC was born out of a strong desire to collaborate and coordinate action in areas of common interest, with members recognising the power of sharing ideas and resources in meeting common goals.

The latest meeting was held in Port Vila, and signalled a clear consolidation of the groups’ objectives. Two key issues that were raised included the need for action on Climate Change, which is now affecting more people than ever in the Pacific, and the alarming problem of human trafficking and slavery in the region. This comes after the Anglican Alliance developed a highly successful strategic framework for a holistic approach to ending modern slavery, and released helpful training and resources to support churches in combating the problem*.

Rev’d Deane described the meeting atmosphere as “serious and productive”, with the “nuts and bolts of better coordination” being worked out through the duration.

A new joint initiative of ABM, Episcopal Relief and Development, and the Anglican Alliance was also discussed, which involves an interactive map of Climate Change impacts. This map provides statistical

The beautiful islands of the Pacific
The beautiful islands of the Pacific. © Jess Melas/ABM

data on environmental changes for each country around the world, and allows Anglican partners to input anecdotal stories of how Climate Change is directly affecting their communities at the local level. Members were extremely positive about this new resource, which will provide a clear snapshot of Climate change impacts throughout the Pacific, assisting in their coordination of actions.

The map can be viewed here.

Several other aspects of the ORAC meeting included discussions on Gender-based violence, Responding to disasters, and reflections of the 5 Marks of mission. These talks were followed by a visit to the new Vanuatu Council of Churches centre, a cyclone-proof building that is set to become a model for churches throughout the islands, which often double as evacuation centres in times of natural disaster.

ABM is excited to be part of these new areas of collaboration, as the building of these relationships and resources is undoubtedly leading to greater gains for communities struggling with serious issues. More updates on the development of these partnerships will be provided as they occur, but in the meantime check out other articles and resources through our ABM Climate Change pages.

 

 

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* To access the resources produced by the Freedom Sunday coalition, please click here.