The Advocate for the Working for Justice Circle is Rev Loni Vaitohi. We asked Loni to tell us something about himself.
What I am doing now: ministering in a diverse socio-political and religious community.
My Greatest achievement is my children
My Mum and Dad always taught me family values and sacrifices
Someone who inspires me is JESUS
My favourite bible passage is ‘To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God’. (Micah 6:8)
The last thing I watched on TV was the Bledisloe Cup between the All Blacks and the Wallabies.
The future of the Uniting Church is promised and exciting!
Why I am passionate about this Circle:
Pope John Paul II visited Alice Springs in 1986. In his speech to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders at Blatherskite Park he said this: “…And the Church herself in Australia will not be fully the Church that Jesus wants her to be until you have made your contribution to her life and until that contribution has been joyfully received by others”.
The Pope touches on something central to the Christian Gospel and justice. That is, we cannot be fully ‘us’ without the ‘other’. If we do not look after the ‘other’, whether individually, corporately, nationally or internationally, we are the poorer for it.
A little more about Loni
Born and raised in Tonga, Loni has undertaken all his theological and ministerial training in Australia and has served in a number of Uniting Church congregations for over 20 years. Loni is currently in placement in Shepparton Uniting Church in the Synod of Victoria/Tasmania. He describes this placement as a multicultural Christian community in a very complex and diverse wider socio-political environment. The region is involved in hosting refugees in the government ‘pilot’ program and is also a provider of employment to low-and semi-skilled migrant labourers, including Seasonal Workers from the Pacific Islands. Loni is actively involved with both of these groups and the issues of justice that arise for them. Having worked with migrants and refugees and engaging First Peoples with/and their struggles has given Loni a clearer perspective on issues of dispossession, slavery, assimilation, racism, sexual exploitation of the poor and the powerless, climate change, drug abuse and domestic violence.
Panel Members for this Circle are:
Rev Bea Skippen
Rev Do Young Kim