Lets Talanoa

Written by Rev Charissa Suli, Assembly National Consultant, ARU

The Assembly is assisting a group of young UCA leaders to launch a virtual talanoa space to connect young people from our diverse UCA communities engaged in ministry in the life of our Church.

Lets Talanoa: Virtual Chat and Share takes place on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month starting at 7pm. The first session on 11 August, coinciding with the global ecumenical celebration of International Youth Day, and will focus on Mental Health and Wellbeing. 

Guest speaker Bradon French from UCA Youth in the Synod of VIC/TAS will journey with us through the first four sessions as we begin the talanoa in destigmatising mental health and illness, sharing cultural and lived experiences, theological reflections and more.

The idea behind the Lets Talanoa space is for young leaders to share, listen and inspire each other, especially during this time of uncertainty and isolation.

Talanoa means to dialogue and to be in conversation as we hear each other.

The forums will also provide encouragement and support through biblical reflections and aims to resource those in emerging ministries to grow in life and faith, especially in our First Peoples and migrant communities. 

The idea for this initiative emerged from the many questions I heard from youth and young adults attempting to navigate how we do hybrid virtual ministry in times where we want to be together but physically can’t.

Then I noticed my daughter Susitina Suli, a children and youth ministry worker for Willoughby and Northbridge Uniting Church, was being asked the same questions.

We decided to create a space for conversation around the fala, which in our case was Zoom

We soon realised how important this space is for our migrant young communities and that many young leaders in our church were experiencing similar challenges in their own local ministries. 

After trialling these virtual chats, we have now discerned how this forum can meet the needs of our communities as we navigate a new way of sharing faith and being in ministry together.

I am grateful for the young leaders who have helped create this space - Joyce Tangi who works as a field officer for Pulse in the NSW/ACT Synod, Sione Hehepoto who volunteers his time to nurture the music and young adults’ space at Canterbury Uniting Church in Melbourne and Susitina who is passionate about giving voice to our migrant young people.

I invite you to join us in this talanoa and to encourage your youth and young adults to join us so we can give a platform for their voices to be heard and be equipped for living life and faith in today’s world. 

For more details and to register your attendance contact aru@nat.uca.org.au

Read more about the WCC International Youth Day Toolkit