The Uniting Church in Australia has joined the Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC), after its application for full membership was accepted by the 10th PCC General Assembly meeting in the Solomon Islands from 3-10 March.
In its application, the Uniting Church acknowledged its part, and the part of its predecessors, in the history of colonialism.
Rev Dr Kerry Enright of UnitingWorld, the Uniting Church agency for international church partnerships, said that membership of the conference "helps us see where we belong and with whom we belong".
"It affirms that we are a Church of the South, joining with others to resist powers that demean people and damage the environment across our region."
The Uniting Church's application included a commitment to building on existing ties between Pacific and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander congregations.
"This is an important and welcome affirmation of the Uniting Church's desire to contribute to regional unity in the Pacific," said senior UCA Pacific church leader Lisa Meo.
One of the leaders of the Uniting Church delegation in Honiara, Rev Rronang Garrawurra, Chair of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress, said that he looked forward to building on a deep shared history.
"Many Pacific people who came to Australia over the years were incorporated into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities, while Pacific church people have often served and continue to serve in Aboriginal communities.
"We feel that as first peoples we can achieve more by working together than by getting help from second peoples.
"Membership is a form of indigenous solidarity."
The President of the Uniting Church Assembly Rev Professor Andrew Dutney thanked PCC members for their favourable consideration.
"Our PCC membership is a re-commitment to the founding belief of our Church that we 'are called on to bear witness to a unity of faith and a life in Christ which transcends cultural and national and racial boundaries'."