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Author: UnitingWorld

You’re invited to a season of prayer, simplicity and generosity to change the world. 22 February – 6 April 2023.

Lent Event is a unique fundraising activity to support the work of UnitingWorld. Over the 40-day season of Lent, give up something to help fight poverty and bring hope and healing to our world.

Lent Event is inspired by a simple but powerful idea:

Every one of us has a role to play in building a world free from poverty and injustice.

But with so much suffering and injustice demanding our attention, where do we begin?

We believe that positive change can start with the everyday choices we make; what we spend our limited time, attention and money on.

Lent Event gives an opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, choosing to focus our lives on compassion, generosity and love for our neighbours across the world.

How to join in:

Pray

Prayer is powerful. Use our prayer guide to pray alongside our partners across the world and be inspired to make a difference. Go deeper and reflect on how to be a good global neighbour through our Bible Study series.

Live simply

During the season of Lent, choose to give up something in solidarity with those who have less (coffee, alcohol, screens, cynicism?) or you could do something to walk more gently on the earth (dust off the bike and leave the car at home? Eat less meat and dairy?) Pick whatever unique activity you like!

Donate the money you would have spent on it to fight poverty and build hope in the world! Better yet, take up a fundraising challenge and get your friends and family to sponsor you.

Give

The money we raise together will help fight poverty and build hope across the Pacific, Asia and Africa through UnitingWorld and our international partners.

We hope you’ll join us. Together we’ll make a lasting difference, inspire others, and the practices we put in place will impact our lives and our world far beyond the 40 days.

Visit www.lentevent.com.au to get started.

Download video

With everything going on in the world, it’s easy to feel powerless. The challenges are huge.  

But here’s the thing: by supporting UnitingWorld, you’re part of a global movement working together to change lives – including yours! Because when we work for change, we ourselves are changes. 

Lent is coming. It’s a 40-day season to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, seeking to practice a life focused on prayer, simplicity and generosity. It’s a precious opportunity to step back from the noise, take some intentional time to fix our hearts on what we can do to love our neighbours and heal our hurting world. 

Join us for Lent Event 2023

Pray – Use our prayer guide to pray alongside our partners as they address the challenges facing their communities. 

Live simply - Give up something in solidarity with people who have less. 

Give - Donate or fundraise to help our partners fighting poverty and injustice.   

This is the difference you can make

$25 can provide nutritious food to kids in Timor-Leste. 
$50 can help a family start pig breeding in Indonesia. 
$100 can provide job opportunities and education for a person with a disability in Sri Lanka. 
$500 can send a girl to school in India. 
$1,000 can supply clean water for a village in Papua New Guinea.

Join Lent Event

 


Kim’s Story

Kim is a youth leader and champion of bringing clean water and sanitation education to where it’s most needed in remote Papua New Guinea. 

“When we build clean water infrastructure on our church or school properties, we always try to put it in the middle of the island so people can stop by on their way to town to get water,” Kim told us.   

“We try to do things in ways that ensure everyone in the community benefits.”  

Kim is making waves in his community with the support of people like you. Read his full story here. 

This is what happens when we choose to walk hand in hand with our neighbours. Together, we can change lives. 

Will you join us?

Make a difference

“When I was a child, I would sit on my mother’s lap and she would tell me the stories of our people. It meant that my whole life I’ve known who I am because I know my story. 

“I’m so grateful for it because today it’s fading away. It’s harder for young people because of the noise of modern life.” 

Ever since I heard this from Kim Allen (pictured), a youth leader with our partner, the United Church in Papua New Guinea, I can’t get it out of my mind. I think it’s because his words transcend his culture and speak into our current moment in time.   

At just 28 years old, Kim is responsible for around five thousand youth across almost ten remote islands. He acts as a facilitator to connect youth to the work of the church.  

“The challenges we’re facing are school dropouts, unemployment, early marriage and the impacts of climate change,” he told me.  But the underlying problem affecting young people today is what he describes as ‘noise’.  

“Young people are exposed to so much noise, with the internet, mobile phones, drugs, peer pressure, music. They can’t focus.”  

I asked Kim how he and his church are addressing it: 

“The first step is to help them be aware of themselves and their lives as children of God,” Kim said. “With that awareness we can then meet them at a practical level, training them to be good citizens, to work against violence, to build up their communities. The church gives them hope and a solid foundation to be human. We see that as intrinsic to spiritual development.”  

I think we can all relate to that feeling of too much noise in our busy, modern world. I love that Kim’s antidote is having greater awareness of who we are as children of God as a first step to refocusing our lives.   

I know I don’t have to tell you how powerful that idea is, but I always find the reminder encouraging. When we see ourselves and others as created children of God, infinitely loved and valuable, our hearts are changed. We can’t ignore the cries of people suffering in poverty and injustice. We long to make a difference, and through God and God’s people, we find the power to do it.  

I hope, like me, you find strength and encouragement in that thought, because it’s a critical time to play your part, however you can. Here at UnitingWorld and across our church, we do that together during Lent with Lent Event. We reach out to others through prayer, living more simply and practising generosity.  

It’s such a powerful time! 

Pray – Use our prayer guide to pray alongside our partners as they address the challenges facing their communities. 

Live simply - Give up something in solidarity with people who have less. 

Give - Donate or fundraise to help our partners fighting poverty and injustice.   

Every prayer, action and gift make a difference, and not just for people overcoming poverty. Because when we work for change, we too are changed.  

I hope you’ll join us for Lent Event this year as we seek to refocus our lives through prayer, simplicity and generosity.  In 2023, Lent is from 22 February to 6 April.

Head to www.lentevent.com.au today to get started.  

In hope and gratitude,  

Dr Sureka Goringe
National Director, UnitingWorld

We asked some of our partners participating in our recent South East Asia partners conference what they would like to share with UnitingWorld supporters.


Julio Da Costa
Protestant Church in Timor-Leste (IPTL)

“Thank you so much to the Uniting Church in Australia for your support and friendship. We have been in partnership for a long time, back before the independence of Timor-Leste, and we are very grateful. Please continue to pray for us and please continue to work with us so that one day we can be independent in terms of finances, human resources and other things that we need. I would like to say thank you and may God continue to bless you and give you a long life to enjoy.


Rev Grietje (Grace) Monim
Evangelical Christian Church in Tanah Papua (GKI-TP)

Thank you for your partnership and supporting the economic development of women in Papua. I’m passionate about raising up women in leadership in ways that are respectful of culture. That’s important. Working in mutual partnership allows us to lead a cultural transformation on gender equality rather than outsiders telling us what to do. Partnership can start with economic development, but must lead to sharing information, knowledge, and getting different perspectives.”


Marisa Christine
Christian Evangelical Church in Timor (GMIT)

“Partnership with UnitingWorld means we can make a bigger impact in our communities. The more people we can include the more our program will be successful! I would like to say thank you so much to all the supporters in Australia for helping us for so long, and for giving assistance beyond material. Prayer and technical assistance give us hope for us to help other people. On behalf of people of West Timor, TLM and GMIT, thank you so much for your help.”


Bishop Nyoman Agustinus
Protestant Christian Church in Bali (GKPB)

“I do hope this relationship will grow and grow with UnitingWorld, the Uniting Church and our partners across Indonesia and Asia. I believe that because we share the same heart for people who are needy, we are going to strengthen our relationship to each other. On behalf of the Protestant Church in Bali, our members and the people we serve, from the bottom of our heart thank you so much for the support and prayers you send. They really do help us in Bali, thank you.”


 

Methodist Church in Fiji Circuit Minister, Rev Uluilakeba Ligiraki, was one of 26 leaders who attended a workshop on Gender Equality Theology, run by the church in partnership with  UnitingWorld.

He found the training confronting, challenging his whole perspective about gender and what the Bible has to say about positive human relationships.

“I used to have the perspective of male‑dominant rule in the family, and issues of gender were confronting to me, but after the workshop my perspective of seeing things changed,” said Rev  Ligiraki.

“It drastically changed my thoughts and behaviour. Before, I used to see household chores as female work but now my wife is happy to see me helping her out in washing the dishes, ironing my children’s uniforms in the morning, cooking and other little tasks. My wife has spoken to me about the changes that she has seen in my life, and [that] she is happy about it. I really thank God for that.”

This change of perspective has also become a part of his preaching and work as a Circuit Minister.

“I now view violence against women as one of the most important issues to address especially in the church. I am doing it through preaching, teaching and talanoa sessions,” Rev Ligiraki said.

“Women in the church have now positively voiced out their opinions and men are willing to accept to hear from them in a respectable manner. That wasn’t the norm before in the circuit that I now serve.”

Photo: Methodist Church in Fiji Gender Equality Theology (GET) Minister, Rev Noa Turaganivalu presents Circuit Minister Rev Uluilakeba Ligiraki with his GET Advocate and Trainer certificate.

Thank you to everyone who has donated to our appeal to help our church partners end family violence through Gender Equality Theology. At time of writing, we’re just over two thirds of the way to reaching our $90,000 goal.

If you’re inspired by the work of the Pacific Church, please support their mission by visiting www.unitingworld.org.au/endviolence

UnitingWorld’s Annual Report 2022 is now available to download or read online.

Financial Year 2022 was a tough time at home and abroad. Far from the end of a crisis, we faced the Delta and Omicron waves of COVID-19, floods up and down the east coast of Australia, a war in Europe and the global phenomenon of COVID-19 fatigue. Despite it all, together we were able to make a real difference.

It is a testament to the incredible generosity of our supporters and determination of our partners that, despite the volatility of the context, we reached 201,691 people with tangible benefits, across 31 projects in 14 countries with 23 partners. Our projects addressed poverty, gender equality and climate resilience, and supported stronger governance and management.

Our committed and generous supporters remain crucial to our success. Despite the impacts of COVID-19 on their own lives, our donors have stood with us, funding our long-term programs, and digging deep to support the emergency appeal following the volcanic eruption in Tonga.

Thank you so much!

You can read more about your impact – download or read online.

More than 80 young people from across the Australia-Pacific region gathered on Ngunnawal country (Canberra) this week to build relationships and advocate together for the issues that matter to them. 

Coordinated by Micah Australia and the Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC), the inaugural Pacific Australian Emerging Leaders Summit (PAELS) brought together delegates from more than a dozen Pacific Island nations and First and Second Peoples from across Australia, including Pacific diaspora communities.

Young people from the Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) and the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) were part of the summit, as well as UCA partner churches from Tonga, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Samoa, the Solomon Islands and West Papua.

Climate change, gender equality, self determination, youth empowerment and economic recovery were key issues for the delegation.

Led by First Nations Christian leaders, delegates spent the first two days listening, learning and sharing their cultures and experiences with one another. They heard about the issues affecting the First Peoples of Australia and responded with lament, prayer and commitments of solidarity.  

The deep conversations and learning from First Peoples continued as the delegates were invited to the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, where they received a generous welcome and storytelling from elders. 

The site is the longest-running protest for Indigenous land rights, sovereignty and self-determination in the world, marking its 50-year anniversary this year. 

PCC General Secretary Rev James Bhagwan responded to their welcome as an elder of the Pacific delegates. 

“The Australian Government wants to have a First Nations foreign policy, and we welcome that,” he said. “But we have learned that we cannot have a First Nations foreign policy until we have a truly First Nations-led domestic policy in this land.” 

The Pasifika young people also shared the Fijian hymn Noqu Masu (this is my prayer).

After being equipped for relational advocacy together in small and diverse lobby groups, delegates headed to Parliament House for meetings with more than 80 Members of Parliament.

They were welcomed by Minister for International Development Pat Conroy and Shadow Minister Michael McCormack.  

On the second day at Parliament House, Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney gave a powerful address to the delegates about the struggle for a voice, treaty and truth telling; encouraging them to not be disheartened by setbacks.   

As part of a workshop panel sharing stories of climate action, Raúl Sugunananthan and Mikali Anagnostis from Christian Students Uniting shared their experiences of organising in the Uniting Church to turn out 360 people to the School Strike for Climate march in Sydney in 2019.

Raúl shared a reflection about his time at the Micah summit.

“Connecting with leaders from across Australia and the Pacific was such a valuable experience because it showed me the vibrancy and diversity of the church beyond my Inner-West Sydney bubble, he said.

“Through the amazing young leaders I met, I learnt first-hand that God is moving through the leadership of First Nations communities from Arnhem Land to Sydney. God is moving through the Pasifika songs and stories woven throughout their island nations and diaspora communities. God is moving through the courage and determination of people striving for self-determination across our region, including Australia.”

“I can’t wait to continue this journey with emerging leaders from many cultures, genders and abilities who are all unified through their passion for Jesus and justice,” said Raul.

UnitingWorld Program Manager and Uniting Church member Mia Berry was also a delegate at the summit.

“Connecting with young leaders from across the Pacific and Australia was such a valuable opportunity for listening to the experiences, barriers and priorities for young people across our region, and learning to advocate as a united Pacific region,” she said.  

“The conversations and relationship-building that took place across the four days have laid the foundations for an ongoing network and community amongst the delegates, which will allow us to keep momentum.

From the perspective of my work at the UnitingWorld, the opportunity to meet with young leaders from the communities and churches we work with has given me a new and deeper understanding of these contexts.”

It was an incredible time of strengthening connections across cultures, learning from First Peoples and showing what is possible when people of faith work together for a more just and sustainable future.

We can’t wait to see what comes next for this powerful network of  leaders!

See photos from the event.

 (Photo header: UCA and UAICC summit delegates with representatives from UCA partner churches, UnitingWorld staff and other Uniting Church members)

UnitingWorld is a member of Micah Australia. The Uniting Church in Australia is a member of the Pacific Conference of Churches.

Uniting Church in Australia President Rev Sharon Hollis met with church partners from across Southeast Asia recently. While she was there, she got to see the fruits of UnitingWorld’s work in partnership with local churches and the power that Everything in Common gifts can have.

On the invitation of UnitingWorld, Rev Hollis joined our Southeast Asia partners conference in Bali, which brought together partners from Bali, Maluku, Timor-Leste, East Nusa Tenggara (West Timor), Papua and West Papua and Sulawesi.

As well as leading opening worship for the 4-day conference, Rev Hollis led a session on the Biblical imperative for safeguarding and gave a UCA perspective on how we seek to be a ‘safe church’. 

It sparked a lively and honest discussion about the historic failings of churches to protect people, as well as the cultural challenges of gender equality that our partners are working to shift in their communities.

The workshop sessions were predominantly led by partners, and Rev Hollis loved to hear more about the work they are doing with the support of UnitingWorld to develop their communities and share the good news.

“It was a joy to be there in person and to meet with overseas partners and hear about the work they’re doing, share their joys and their sorrows and share in the good news of the gospel together,” said Rev Hollis.

Conference delegates also got the chance to visit several community development programs run by host partner, Gereja Kristen Protestan di Bali (GKPB, the Protestant Christian Church in Bali).

(Watch video update Rev Hollis made while in Bali)

Rev Hollis met with program participants in rural Bali who were helped to start goat and chicken-breeding businesses and was touched by their stories.

“It was remarkable to see how a few simple things like goats and chickens can provide much-needed extra income and transform the lives of our neighbours across the world,” said Rev Hollis.

“When people have better food security and a sustainable income, they aren’t just healthier but have joy and hope for the future. It fills me with the same.” 

Share life-changing gifts this Christmas

You can share the same powerful gifts with your loved ones. Goats, chickens, small-business support, school books… there’s so many opportunities to change lives this Christmas.

Shop online to find gifts that fight poverty and build hope.


Header photo caption: Conference delegates visited a local GKPB congregation in rural Bali, where they shared a meal and heard about the lives of the small (but impactful!) local Christian community. 

With the right support, girls in vulnerable communities can go on to have higher incomes, healthier families and become leaders in their communities.

That’s why with your help, we’re working with partners to help more girls access the education, shelter, food, clean water and emotional support they need to set them up for life!

Girls like 13-year-old Jaya.

With her family struggling to support her studies and provide her with the healthcare she needed, Jaya struggled to keep up with her peers and often fell sick.

But after she connected with local UCA partner the Church of North India (CNI), everything changed.

With the support of her family, Jaya was moved to new accommodation to help her reach better education and healthcare. More than that, she could now be immersed in a caring community, supporting her studies and providing her with the emotional support she was missing.

“(Jaya’s) health has also improved due to the monthly medical check-ups and regular health education sessions at the hostel,” one of the project managers said. “She now dreams of becoming a policewoman when she grows up and is working towards it in her studies.”

All of this was made possible with the support of supporters like you.

This Christmas, you can give a gift on behalf of your loved ones to help more girls like Jaya.

Click here to order online

or call 1800 998 122 (9am-5pm, Mon-Fri)

✅ Christmas greetings to your loved ones

✅ Send joy to the world

Fight poverty!

Christmas card sales represent a donation to UnitingWorld and are tax deductible in Australia.

 

New Everything in Common Catalogue 2022

The new Everything in Common gift guide is here!

Give your loved ones a meaningful gift that stands out from the rest.

These are gifts that won’t be left collecting dust but will transform the lives of those who need it most.

 

It has been a busy year for our three Women in Ministry scholarship program students: Rev Geraldine, Daphney and Rev Susana. All three are studying post-graduate degrees at Pacific Theological College (PTC) in Suva, Fiji.

Rev Geraldine is continuing her PhD and is expecting to graduate at the end of 2023. Daphney and Rev Susana are on track to graduate with a Master of Theology at the end of 2022. It rounds off this part of their journey, which had the extra challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic in the middle of it. Please keep them in your prayers as they celebrate their accomplishments and trust in God’s call on their lives. We look forward to seeing how their gifts enrich churches across the Pacific in the future.

If you want to support this project, find out more here.

Student spotlight: Daphney

Daphney (pictured above) handed in her thesis in September and awaits her final results. Her thesis topic is “Wantok Justice: a community approach to ministry towards women’s rights issues for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of PNG”.

After completing her Masters, Daphney’s goal is to work with the people (including women and children) either on the ground or teaching contextual ministry for justice to help Pacific communities adapt and become resilient in a changing world through the teachings of Jesus.

Outside of her studies, Daphney is a member of the Reweaving the Ecological Mat group, engaging in the Pacific Ecumenical Youth spaces, regional workshops, community work, advocacy campaigns, and webinars. She is also a passionate campaigner against deep sea mining in the Pacific.

What have you been working on during your final semester?

This year my studies focused on thesis writing, so I did not take any classes but attended seminars and public lectures on missiology and academic research (critical thinking, critical reading, academic writing, critical analysis, etc.). I have learned something new on missiology and the inter-cultural translation of ancient texts and academic research and skills.

Was there anything that you learned that has challenged you?

Every day at PTC is a new learning experience; the seminar conversations around indigenous theology of whole of life and leadership for justice challenges my worldview of justice, rights, and my responsibility towards others within the household of God.
What I’ve been learning has helped me in writing my thesis towards a community approach to navigate injustices against women and protect the human dignity of women in our communities.

As a woman studying theology, who inspires you?

My grandparents are my biggest inspiration, the blessings of their humble evangelism work throughout the Morobe, Gulf, and Highland regions of Papua New Guinea is seen in our families every day. Listening to the stories of their evangelism work as a child I became curious as I grew up, wanting to know more about the work they do and the interesting stories of them walking thousands of miles to help German and American missionaries teach God’s word to the people of PNG. The stories of my grandfather observing tribes, clans and villages, and learning their language in order to adapt to the rhythm of life of these communities was fascinating. My grandfather did not go to a formal education system but he used instinct and his little knowledge at the Bible school to contextualise learning for the PNG communities.

He thought about God in the context of the people. His ability to contextualise theology and apply it in his ministry practices has inspired me to study theology and write a thesis on contextual church ministry for justice for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of PNG. The strong will, courage, endurance and patience of my grandmothers, who have closely walked beside their husbands in this evangelism work, has inspired me to be strong-willed, courageous, endure, persevere, and patient in the process of research and writing.

Do you have a message for the Uniting Church?

My heart is filled with joy and thanksgiving to God for the Uniting Church in Australia’s generosity in not only supporting me financially with my studies but for supporting women theologians across Oceania. I pray for God’s blessing and grace upon the Uniting Church in Australia as it continues its ministry to support and help more women become theologians and leaders in their churches.

Prayer Requests from Daphney

  • The PTC community as we are going through the transition into a university come 2024.
  • Pray for one of our PTC community members, Rev Taniela Ratawa, and their family. The Reverend’s wife has been diagnosed with stage 3 cancer and has gone through her 4th chemo cycle.
  • Pray for the ecumenical community especially church leaders in Oceania who attended the World Council of Churches Assembly.
  • Daphney’s mother, Geac, sadly passed away in early October. Please pray for the family during this time.

Rev Susana

Rev Susana hopes to continue on to a PhD. Her dream is to be the first iTaukei woman to achieve a Doctorate degree in Theology. She said:

“I thank the Uniting Church for supporting and assisting me for the two years of my studies. Thanks for the heart of giving and I hope God will continue to bless the Uniting Church.”

Prayer requests from Rev Susana

  • Pray for my new posting for next year
  • Pray for my family

Rev Geraldine

In September, UnitingWorld hosted a Zoom conversation (or talanoa) with Rev Geraldine and supporters of Women in Ministry. We had 25 people join us from 10 different communities that directly support Women in Ministry. Project Manager Tanya interviewed Geraldine, which was followed by questions and a short time of prayer. It was a great evening and very inspiring to hear Geraldine’s story and passion for her work. If you would like to watch the interview section, the video is now available.

Prayer requests from Rev Geraldine

  • Please pray for my studies and family.
  • Please pray for my new supervisor, Rev Dr Afereti Uili, to help him understand my thesis and guide me throughout my writing.