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North Queensland Uniting Churches welcomes Pacific leaders

UNITING CHURCH leaders made for a significant Christian presence in the events surrounding the 40th Pacific Islands Forum held in Cairns in August.

Cairns Emmanuel Uniting Church minister Rev Dr Hedley Fihaki coordinated an Ecumenical Prayer Service for the Forum at which former Uniting Church President Rev Professor James Haire preached.

Almost 400 people attended the service including Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi.

Bible readings were presented by Dr Fihaki together with Rev Tafue Lusama (Tuvalu Congregational Church), and Vice-Chairperson of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress Ms Roberta Stanley.
North Queensland Presbytery Chair Rev Bruce Cornish led the service.

Mrs Marie Bray (PNG), Rev David Teaurere (Cook Island Christian Church) and Mr Galuo Seiuli Aisa (Fofoga Samoa) all brought greetings on behalf of their local communities as well as singing traditional songs.
Professor Haire emphasised the need for the church to speak of, and live out, God’s peace.

“The contemporary reality of many parts of the world is one of deep oppression,” he said.

“Behind this lies the development of a new ideology which legitimises a culture of violence by invoking God arbitrarily to suit a particular agenda of aggression.

UnitingWorld National Director Rev Dr Kerry Enright welcomed forum delegates and others to the service.

As President of the Pacific Communities Council of Far North Queensland, Dr Fihaki also gave a greeting on behalf of local Pacific communities at the Forum dinner which closed the event.