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Author: UnitingWorld

There’s a food crisis in two of the poorest places in our region.
Our partners have a plan to beat it.

Malnutrition, particularly among children, has been a huge problem in Timor-Leste and Maluku (East Indonesia) and now there is a hidden hunger crisis being made worse by the rising cost of living, global conflict and climate change.

In Timor-Leste, the prevalence of stunting, impaired growth and development caused by malnutrition, in children under five is 47 percent, among the highest in the world. In Maluku, 34 percent of children under five are stunted.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has made things more difficult; reducing wheat production, wrecking supply chains and inflating the price of food imports. Experts say the global food situation is set to worsen with the ongoing conflict and will continue to hit the poor the hardest.

We asked our partners how we could best help, and they told us they had a sustainable, local solution to the crisis. Gardening!

Hundreds of families growing their own food right where they live.

The Director of our partner FUSONA* is passionate about equipping families to tackle the food crisis themselves.

“We want every family and community to have the opportunity to produce their own food to eat and improve their health. And if they want to earn an income they can plant extra to sell,” he said.

“People will apply their own time and energy to generate their food and income. We will provide seeds, equipment and education, and accompany families at every step of the way.”

Part of the project will be to educate people about the importance of good nutrition and sanitation.

“So far, we’ve been successfully showing people how to grow sweet potato, eggplant, spinach and green mustard… people have been coming to the church to learn more and join in,” he says.

“I believe we can impact thousands of lives with this approach and reduce malnutrition for children in Timor-Leste.”

We’ve launched an appeal to support our partners in Timor-Leste and Maluku to tackle the food crisis and help ensure as many children as possible do not go hungry. You can find out more about their projects and donate at www.unitingworld.org.au/foodcrisis

*FUSONA is the development agency of our partner church, the Protestant Church of Timor-Leste (IPTL)

Act2 is a major transformational change project focused on shaping the future of the Uniting Church in Australia (UCA). As part of the Act2 Project, every Uniting Church member, council and community is being invited to take part.

We’ve contributed our perspective through a written submission, and in an online forum where we were joined by international partners. Rev Dr Cliff Bird from the United Church in the Solomon Islands (UCSI) was a panellist in the forum and shared some generous feedback about what partnership with the UCA has meant to UCSI.

“Our understanding of mission has evolved since we entered into partnership with the Uniting Church in Australia. It has been broadened and enriched as it has moved from a narrowly spiritualistic understanding to a more holistic understanding,” he said. “We now share a greater focus on practical concerns like ending poverty and violence against women and taking faithful action on climate change. These were not seen as core business of the church, but now they are part of our life and understanding of what it means to follow Jesus.”

Rev Dr Bird also pointed to how the partnership has strengthened UCSI as an institution. “Our decision-making processes have improved along with our ability to look inwardly. It has resulted in us becoming more accountable and transparent and create more rigorous policies and procedures. We’re so grateful to be able to share knowledge and expertise, stories and resources back and forth with our partners in Australia as elsewhere.”

In our written submission to Act2, we highlighted some strengths of the UCA and major challenges as we see it. We also provided some ideas for change and how we and our international partners could help:

“As Christianity becomes a minority faith in an increasingly diverse and secular Australia, we have much to learn from our partner churches who come from multifaith contexts, and who fight poverty and injustice with dogged determination without diluting their identity as Christians or being reticent about sharing God’s desire to know and love all people.”

You can read our full submission here.
You can watch the recording of the online International Partnerships and Ecumenical Relationships forum here or read a reflection/summary of the discussions here.

If you’re reading this, you care about the mission of the Uniting Church – please contribute your thoughts and ideas to the Act2 project. Discerning the shape of the UCA in future needs all the wisdom we can gather.

Find out more about the Act2 Project and how you can engage at www.act2uca.com.


In the final months of the financial year, you, our supporters, helped us reach our target of $500,000 to support the life-changing work of our partners.

The funds we raised together helps us to co-invest with the Australian Government and make a bigger impact through our poverty alleviation and climate change projects.    

Thank you to everyone who helped us get there! It will go a long way to help end poverty and injustice in our world through the love and dedication of our partners in in the Pacific, Asia and Africa.

Each one of you was part of the story we told. Komang and his family were able to discover a whole new future, free from poverty, because of the network formed by you and others working together to make powerful change. 

We are now in the middle of collecting reports, information and stories on what was achieved in the last financial year, and we look forward to sharing our Annual Report with you later this year.

UnitingWorld joins the Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) and the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) in expressing strong support for a First Nations Voice to Parliament.

As an agency of the of the UCA, UnitingWorld shares our church’s commitment to walk together with First Nations people in seeking justice and a greater say in decisions that impact their communities.

Inspired by this commitment, we support a constitutionally enshrined Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament, and believe the referendum is a significant opportunity to honour Australia’s First Peoples and to work in solidarity for a better future.

“Our church heard the message from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders through the Uluru Statement from the Heart, seeking Voice, Treaty and Truth, and it was an incredibly generous invitation to our nation,” said UnitingWorld National Director Dr Sureka Goringe.

“Our response to their generosity is to affirm our support and solidarity.”

“UnitingWorld’s approach to development is driven by the principle that lasting social change can only come when people are free and empowered to determine their own futures. A Voice to Parliament could be a powerful step to end the severe disadvantage experienced by the First Peoples of Australia,” said Dr Goringe.

UnitingWorld also acknowledges and commends the recent statement made by Pasifika church leaders through the Pacific Conference of Churches, many of whose members are the UCA’s partner churches:

In solidarity with our Aboriginal and Torres Straits sisters and brothers, we urge our Pacific Diaspora in Australia to support the Uluru Statement from the Heart and to vote in favour of enshrining a Voice to Parliament for First Peoples of the land now called Australia. (Part of the Kōñe Jubar Statement, May 2023)

UnitingWorld echoes the statements of senior Uniting Church leaders, UCA President Rev Sharon Hollis and UAICC Interim National Chair Rev Mark Kickett.

“This is an historic opportunity for Australia to acknowledge and honour First Nations people and their deep spiritual ties to this land and to walk together as a nation toward a better future,” said Rev Hollis.

“As Second Peoples and as Christians in this land, we are called to confront the oppression, dispossession and racism faced by First Nations people.”

“Now is the time for us to hear the call of God to seek justice by doing what is right for our nation,” said Rev Kickett.

“Like Jesus, we are called to be bearers of justice, not just in our words, but in our actions and by changing systems which continue to deny the place and rights of the first Australians.”

Rev Hollis and Rev Kickett encourage Uniting Church people and communities to inform themselves about the Uluru Statement and what it asks of our nation, and to create respectful spaces for yarning about the impact a First Nations Voice will make.

The Uniting Church in Australia Assembly has collected a range of resources here: https://uniting.church/voice/

UnitingWorld National Director Sureka Goringe appears in this video from
Uniting Church NSW & ACT saying YES to the Voice.

In response to a growing food crisis in Maluku, our church partners are mobilising all the resources at their disposal to improve food security and tackle poverty.

We’ve been supporting the Protestant Church of Maluku (GPM) and their development agency to expand their initiative of planting community kitchen gardens to address growing poverty and food insecurity.

Three new community kitchen gardens have been planted in 2023, using the land of local congregations and individuals in the church.

“That the church is driving this is also an encouragement for the people,” says Rev Jeny Mahupale, who has made her own family land available for the project.

“We’re still in an early trial with different vegetables like spinach but the results are good so far with fruits like rambutan and pineapple.”

The General Secretary of the GPM Synod, Pastor S. Sapulette, describes the initiative as a “planting movement” and hopes Rev Jeny and the church’s leadership will inspire others to join.

“This is a movement that was born from reflecting on the struggles of our congregations and the reality we face together as a nation,” said Pastor Sapulette.

He hopes that more congregations can be empowered and trained by Rev Jeny and her team to make their land available for economically productive crops to help tackle the food crisis.

Please pray for the work of our partners in the Protestant Church of Maluku and for an end to the food crisis there.

Thank you for enabling us to support our partners to expand this project through your donations.

We are gathering more stories from this project to share over the next few months.

Photos: Rev Jeny and the team at the community kitchen garden.

At UnitingWorld, we know that young people in Uniting Churches and UCA schools are incredibly passionate about injustice. We also know how important it is for young people to develop a deeper understanding of mission and how we can do it effectively and responsibly.

UnitingWorld Donor Relations Manager, Mardi Lumsden, has the privilege of sharing our work with young people in schools and Uniting Church gatherings.

One of Mardi’s outreach activities is a simulation game exploring the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It places groups of young people into a scenario where they imagine they are in a community in India, Tuvalu or Papua New Guinea; facing different challenges including floods, COVID, and well-intentioned churches sending second-hand goods. The participants explore what is most important for their community’s survival.

Mardi runs this activity each year as part of the Senior Religion Curriculum at Moreton Bay College in Queensland at the invitation of the College Chaplain, Rev Peter Lockhart.

“The engagement by UnitingWorld in the simulation with Year 12 students is an excellent opportunity to build a sense of global citizenship as students are encouraged to think about the UN development goals and look at the world through a completely different lens,” Rev Peter said.

Mardi also ran the activity with 80 campers and 20 leaders at the Moreton Rivers Presbytery youth camp, Easter Madness, in Queensland in April.

Camp Director and Presbytery Youth and Young Adult Minister, Rev Fa Matangi, said it was a great experience that linked well to the camp theme of ‘Redefine’.

“We love having UnitingWorld come and share what they do with the young people at Easter Madness,” she said. “This was important for the campers to know that we are part of something bigger than our local churches, that awesome work is getting done outside their own suburbs.”

Having run the activity in many different places, Mardi said it is always enjoyable and inspiring to see how people respond.

“I’ve run this activity with people from the age of 8 to 88 and each group is different. They always bring their own experiences to the activity and ask different questions,” she said. “I love seeing lightbulb moments when people realise the world isn’t on a level playing field when it comes to injustice or poverty, and that there are sustainable ways the church can help.”

By inspiring a new generation of mission-minded people, we think we can help young people gain a greater sense of purpose and meaning in their lives as they continue our shared journey, changing lives in partnership with
the global church.

Contact us if you are interested in running a UnitingWorld activity with your group, or inviting a UnitingWorld speaker to your church. Phone 1800 998 122 or email info@unitingworld.org.au.

We’re excited to welcome Rev Dr Apwee Ting as our new International Partnerships Manager.

In the role, Apwee will nurture connections between the Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) and partner churches overseas, as well as facilitate theological and missional dialogue within the partnership networks. His deep familiarity with the rich cultural diversity of the UCA and passion for building relationships across cultural divides will be an invaluable asset.

For the last seven years, Apwee has worked for the Uniting Church Assembly, firstly as the National Director of Multi/Cross-cultural Ministry and then as a valued founding member of the Assembly Resourcing Unit (ARU). In his work with the ARU, Apwee’s support for National Conferences, his wise counsel regarding relationships with partner churches overseas and the respect he has earned within the diaspora communities of the UCA have been an asset to the national work of the Church.

Apwee’s role with the ARU was formally closed and he was inducted into his new role with UnitingWorld at a ceremony at Pitt Street Uniting Church in Sydney on 4 May 2023.

We look forward to this exciting new chapter!

UnitingWorld Board and staff members welcome Rev Dr Apwee Ting at his induction ceremony.

Here at UnitingWorld, we believe the most effective way to help people overcome poverty for good is sustainable development in partnership with local communities.

Our partner church’s project to end poverty in rural Bali is a great example of the lives that we can change, and how by working together we make a bigger impact to end poverty.

It’s a program that helped thousands of families keep their heads above water during the pandemic and that is now helping people like Komang, his wife, Desak, and their three children escape intergenerational poverty.

Komang comes from a low-caste farming family. Growing up far from the tourist circuit and its employment opportunities, he never had the chance to pursue an education but was fortunate to secure a job as a driver for the provincial government.

When his father died of COVID-19, he had to leave his job to look after his elderly mother at home (pictured). He worked as a day labourer for fishermen nearby and tried building back the family vegetable farm, hoping to make a life of it. He worked hard to provide for his family and hoped to give them opportunities he didn’t have.

But in the quiet village economy, Komang was only just managing to make ends meet. When the economic downturn hit, he started to despair that he wouldn’t be able to afford to pay for his children to go to school or have proper health care.

He couldn’t see it, but a whole network of people was working together and was ready to help him find a path to a more secure, hopeful future.  

Komang heard about the Maha Bhoga Marga Foundation (MBM), the development agency of our partner, the Protestant Church in Bali, from the elders of his village who were hosting a meeting to connect the community with MBM staff.

“We received information from the village that there would be a visit from MBM, who could help with our low income,” said Komang. “So, we attended a meeting together with twelve other families from our community. They listened to our struggles with the economy, job-losses, high cost of living… and explained how they can help.”

Komang told them his biggest challenges were learning how to grow a new business and finding money to start. Our partners said they could help with both.

UnitingWorld supporters helped resource our partners to provide Komang with technical help to launch a chicken-breeding venture and cash to buy the things he needed to get started.

Working hard to make the most of the opportunity, Komang turned 100 chickens into a thriving small business! He can now afford to send his children to school and buy the essentials they need.

The dream that I have always hoped for is that our family can change for the better, to do more prosperous work so that we can have a decent life and without lacking anything.

The role of the MBM staff means a lot to our success. From the beginning until now, they accompanied us in providing help and and group training with others who were given the same support. This way we can each make improvements, sharing the experiences of raising chickens.” 

We talk a lot about the importance of partnership at UnitingWorld, because we really do believe that when we work together — churches, local communities and leaders, people like Komang, and you and me— we unlock the most effective route out of poverty.

And when partnership is at its best, all parts are able to give and to receive and to celebrate the incomparable joy of each life made more abundant.


You can make a powerful impact this tax time 

We’re fundraising to resource the critical work of our church partners in the Pacific, Asia and Africa; giving people the tools and opportunities to lift themselves out of poverty. We hope to raise $500,000 to continue this life-changing work.

Right now, your donation will be combined with funding from the Australian Government to make up to six times the impact ending poverty! 

Find out more and donate at www.unitingworld.org.au/endpoverty 


This project is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP). Thanks to ANCP, we’re making a huge difference together; lifting families out of poverty and helping people improve their lives.

“As Christians, we are called to walk or to voyage in the way of Christ. To tread lightly on the earth and to sail gently on the seas. We are called to act justly, to be compassionate and to live humbly with our God.”

As part of the inaugural UnitingWorld Sunday event, which launched on 7 May, we asked our long-time friend and partner in Fiji, Reverend James Bhagwan, if he would prepare a sermon on what it means for us to be part of the global body of Christ.

As General Secretary of the Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC), Rev James is passionate about ecumenism and working together to see justice in our world.

From the deck of the traditional voyaging canoe, the Uto ni Yalo, he shared a video message on 1 Corinthians 12:14-26 ‘one body, many members’ and what the passage means for people in the Pacific.

“As members of the global family of God, the global household of God, we are reminded that we are our sisters’ and brothers’ keepers,” he says.

“In this time of climate crisis, as creation is groaning, as our sisters and brothers continue to cry out for justice: economic justice, political justice, social justice, justice for creation…

We are called to act.”

During his sermon he also extended a generous acknowledgement of the missionaries who travelled across the Pacific islands, and the importance of the continuing partnerships we hold at UnitingWorld.

In addition to the sermon, a full liturgy, information booklet and worship playlist has also been created to help churches host a UnitingWorld Sunday service and learn more about what we do in partnership with the global church.

Glenbrook Uniting Church, NSW

“The worship resources made it easy to adapt to our congregation,” said Rev Ellie Elia, minister of Glenbrook Uniting Church in NSW.

“The recorded sermon by Rev James Bhagwan was beautiful and powerfully portrayed how we as a local congregation in the Uniting Church in Australia, are a valued part of the ‘crew’ on Christ’s Pacific canoe, through the work of UnitingWorld.

“It was a gift to celebrate and support our global neighbours,” said Rev Ellie.

“The liturgy that was prepared for us was really well done,” said Dr Sue Fairley at Chermside Kedron Uniting Church in QLD. “It’s so exciting to hear about the work of UnitingWorld and to celebrate that this is part of who the Uniting Church is.”

You can host a UnitingWorld Sunday service whenever it suits your church calendar. It’s a great way to connect with our partners and fundraise for their incredible work. You can see the full range of resources and order them for your church at www.unitingworld.org.au/sunday

Watch Rev James’s full sermon below (8 mins).

Direct download video  | Full video credits on the Vimeo page.

Visit UnitingWorld Sunday resources page

UnitingWorld has welcomed Peter Keegan as Head of Programs, replacing Jane Kennedy in the role (you can read her reflection on her time at UnitingWorld here).

Peter has worked in the international development sector for over 17 years, in both programs and advocacy focused roles. Most recently he has been part of the executive team at Transform Aid International as Director of Advocacy and has also previously worked with World Vision in the UK and Australia, and in the programs team at UnitingWorld (between 2011-14).

Peter is passionate about development that is led by local partners and communities; aware and actively engaging with the structural, systemic and cultural drivers of injustice; and draws on the rich theological resources and imagination of the Christian tradition.

UnitingWorld National Director Dr Sureka Goringe said she was thrilled to have Peter in the role.

“Peter’s familiarity with and deep commitment to our partnerships approach is an excellent foundation for his re-induction to UnitingWorld,” said Dr Goringe.

“The experience and dedication he brings will be so valuable to our team and partners and we look forward to seeing the fruits of his leadership across our programs.”


Picture: Peter receives a gift from Bishop Nyoman Agustinus of our partner the Protestant Christian Church in Bali (GKPB) in March 2023.