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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 24 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 here.

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. 

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.

If you’re an experienced leader looking for an exciting role that “gives back”, leads incredible programs of work in some of the most at-need places across the world, with global travel, this might be the role for you.

The Head of Programs is a pivotal, forward-thinking, strategic, and creative role tasked with leading and managing the International Programs team. The role is responsible for ensuring the balance, performance, and compliance of the program portfolio, and alignment with strategy, whilst keeping context, opportunity, and capacity in consideration.

More information is available at ethicaljobs.com.au

Our church partners in Fiji, Vanuatu, Kiribati and Solomon Islands are reaching out in faith to shift community norms and behaviours that allow or excuse family violence, to prevent it long before it has the chance to happen. They are doing it using the heart language of the Pacific, where upwards of 90% of people identify with a Christian faith.

Since 2012, we’ve been supporting our Pacific partners in a unique and powerful approach, addressing the root causes and breaking cycles of violence that go back generations, through gender equality theology.

The results are incredible. There’s exciting change happening in our partner churches: hearts moved, lives transformed away from violence, families and communities made safer. Read more

Here, some of our partners share about the impact of gender equality theology in their lives and communities.

And you can see it for yourself! Download our Gender Equality Theology Resource Pack here.

We need your support to continue this life-changing work.

This program was previously supported by the Australian Government, but the grant expired in 2021. Your support will help us continue this powerful and unique work to end family violence, led by our Pacific partners. We hope to raise $90,000 to keep it going strong. 

Donate now

Mereani Nawadra, Methodist Church in Fiji and Pacific Conference of Churches

“What does peace mean to me as a woman? Peace is gender equality. Peace is education. Peace is freedom from violence and oppression. Peace is being able to walk on the streets of Suva without the fear of being sexually harassed or assaulted.”

Pastor Lima Tura, United Church in the Solomon Islands (centre)

“90% of people in the Solomon Islands believe in God. When a message about women comes from the Bible, their eyes are open, they feel it has more weight. And that’s why we will see a reduction in gender-based violence and increased respect for women in our society.”

Pastor Nippy Aiong, Presbyterian Church Vanuatu

“Many people don’t believe until they study the Bible notes we make [on gender equality] and then they say, ‘Oh! There is something here for us!’ And they are accepting women as equals. I cannot tell you what a change this is for us.”

Rev Dr Cliff Bird, United Church in the Solomon Islands

“Statistics on violence against women and girls and children are shocking… they must lead [us] to actions that counter the evil head on. It is people who construct cultures, it is also people who can and must change cultures that dehumanise and deny certain groups of people their God-given humanity, dignity and equality.”

Bairenga Kirabuke, Kiribati Uniting Church

“Rates of violence are too high, and people need to choose a more peaceful way. It starts with small things: men being more helpful, sharing the load, considering others. That can be a good first step. I hope we can take the message of Gender Equality Theology to all the outer islands of Kiribati.”

Religious and caste discrimination is one of the leading causes of poverty and social exclusion in India. This has prevented access to basic services, including education, health facilities and other government services and schemes for large sections of society.

UnitingWorld supports the Church of North India’s Diocese of Durgapur and Diocese of Amritsar, to run study centres for children of vulnerable families. The projects operate in the urban slums and tribal villages of West Bengal and in Amritsar near the Pakistani border.

In Durgapur, skills training is also offered to marginalised women and farmers to build livelihoods and provide communities with access to and information about government services and schemes.

In Amritsar, the project also seeks to empower people from marginalised communities to advocate for their rights and entitlements and support women to generate income.

The result of this project is empowered, organised, educated and healthy communities, who are involved in local governance and capable of accessing government services and schemes.

Good news from 2021-2022

In Durgapur, over 3000 people were directly impacted by this work. This included:

  • 365 parents/carers took part in seminars on the importance of childhood education
  • 441 children took part in non-formal education and alternative education pathways
  • 585 people were helped through community health and wellbeing programs, including nutrition, infection control, and access to health care
  • 262 people received better access to essential medicines, health services and commodities
  • 2846 men and women gained access to various livelihoods and social empowerment schemes and services.

In Amritsar, over 7000 people were directly impacted by this work in the last financial year, including:

  • 954 children attending study centres received remedial education from trained teachers
  • 1400 parents attending monthly meetings on their children’s education, encouraging and motivating parents to keep their children in school
  • 425 adolescent children gained awareness on the value of higher education and increased knowledge in career options
  • 140 teenagers attended career guidance camps to help them identify future education and career opportunities
  • 28 teachers participating in training to strengthen teaching skills
  • More than 1200 people accessed their first COVID-19 vaccine
  • 2070 people participated in sessions on health and hygiene
  • 765 people were trained in how to access government services and schemes
  • 97 women involved in self-help groups accessed training on financial management and income generation

Work has also been done to help the Diocese of Amritsar strengthen their organisational systems and processes. The assessment was undertaken by a very helpful local agency.

You can read personal stories from our church partners here on our website.[/vc_column_text]

2022-23 plans

Both the Durgapur and Amritsar projects are changing to reflect new needs of their communities. Some of the activities that will be undertaken in the 2022-23 financial year include:

  • Supporting 467 children in Durgapur and 920 children in Amritsar to continue their studies, including providing healthy snacks, remedial education and training teachers.
  • Capacity building of staff and study centre teachers.
  • Supporting women’s self help groups to build skills and livelihoods.
  • Raising awareness among communities of available government services and schemes, through community workers, notice boards and Village Development Committees.
  • Supporting these communities and community leaders through advocacy, training and leadership development to advocate for the rights and entitlements of their community.

The Durgapur project also supports daily wage labourers and other migrant workers to set up and improve farming practices, building food security and income and enabling them to stay with their families. Vocational training is planned for teenagers to improve their career options.

The project is working to improve disability inclusion. So far, disability analyses have identified 40 people with disabilities in the villages. The project design process will include consulting with local Disabled Persons Organisations, as well as specialists in addressing violence against women.

In Amritsar, the key work continues but with a focus on sustainability and community ownership of the project. Local communities will, of course, need to be supported in a transition to make sure this great work continues without extra support from our partners or UnitingWorld. To no longer be needed is the goal of most projects we work on. The Amritsar project is also increasing their focus on teenagers to support them (as well as encourage their parents to support them) to pursue higher education and career goals.

Thank you for your partnership.

Recently we were privileged to share a zoom conversation with Rev Geraldine, one of the PhD students supported by UnitingWorld’s Women in Ministry project. The recording is now available to view (below) if you missed the call, or would like to watch it again.

Rev Geraldine is awesome!

You can find out more about this project here or make a donation here.

A major delegation of women Christian leaders has urged all sides of politics to back a $150 million emergency package to save lives from starvation in Africa and the Middle East.

With Somalia teetering on the brink of a catastrophic famine, the Micah Women Leaders Delegation met with senior government ministers, key opposition figures, cross bench MPs and minor party representatives in Canberra on Wednesday.

The group of 40 women made the case for Help Fight Famine, a coalition of Australia’s leading aid and development organisations, which is campaigning for Treasurer Jim Chalmers to spend $150 million on the hunger crisis threatening almost 50 million lives in 45 countries.

The Horn of Africa is experiencing its worst drought in four decades. But the added pressure from climate change, Covid and the war in Ukraine has made this hunger crisis unlike any other.

UnitingWorld National Director Dr Sureka Goringe was part of the delegation, alongside Uniting Church in Australia colleagues, Rev Amel Manyon, Rev Charissa Suli and former UCA President Deidre Palmer.

Reverend Amel Manyon is a South Sudanese community leader and minister in Adelaide. She came to Australia as a refugee in 2008.

Food insecurity has reached its most extreme levels in her home country since independence in 2011. Three quarters of the population – 8.3 million people – are facing severe food insecurity.

Rev Manyon recently visited relatives in a Ugandan refugee camp, where a family of 10 receives 5kg of grain to feed them for a month. That barely lasts a week. Some leave the camp in search of food.

“While I was there I was told there would be not enough food, especially after Covid and the war in Ukraine,” she said.

“Many children have died, women, vulnerable people – they died because they went searching for something to eat.

“I’m asking the government in Australia, please do something now.

“People are dying because of hunger and it’s not good for us to sit and listen to their stories and not do something.

“I believe the government of Australia which helped me come to Australia to have this opportunity to support my family will do something right now because that’s the government I believe in.”

A decade ago the world was slow to act in Somalia and 260,000 people – half who were children – died of starvation.

UN aid chief Martin Griffiths overnight gave a “final warning” we are in the “final minute of the 11th hour” in Somalia.

During the 2011 famine in Somalia, Australia contributed $135 million in today’s terms.

A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade evaluation found Australia’s contribution was commendable, but would have been more effective if delivered earlier.

Help Fight Famine is calling for $150 million to address the unfolding catastrophe in the worst-affected hunger hotspots in the Horn of Africa, Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen.

The Micah Women’s Delegation consists of senior women in the Australian Church across the different denominations and Christian women from leading aid and development NGOs. UnitingWorld is a member of Micah Australia.

TAKE ACTION

Donate now to our emergency appeal

Write to your MP via the #HelpFightFamine campaign

Are you:

  • Motivated to work in a values-driven, high-impact, international aid organisation where you can make a lasting difference?
  • An excellent communicator and good at relationship building?
  • Looking for a flexible and rewarding part-time role as part of a great team?
  • Familiar with the Uniting Church

We have a part-time (0.5) permanent remote position based in Melbourne (VIC).

The Donor Relations Coordinator is part of our Communications and Fundraising Team. Reporting to the Donor Relations Manager, you will be responsible for nurturing a cohort of major and mid-range donors by building strong respectful relationships with the aim of increasing loyalty and financial support. Developing connections and networks within the Uniting Church, you will engage individuals and regularly present about UnitingWorld’s work to congregations. The role is broad and covers many aspects of fundraising so will suit a keen and enthusiastic individual who is willing to jump in and thrive.

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About UnitingWorld

For further details regarding the role, please contact Suzanne Cullen atea@unitingworld.org.au using the subject line: Donor Relations Coordinator.