Uniting in love and care during COVID-19
Written by Rev Dr Apwee Ting, Assembly Resourcing Unit National Consultant
How do we as leaders and members of the UCA continue to walk together in love and care during the time of COVID-19?
This was one of the topics when Uniting Church President Rev Sharon Hollis, Associate General Secretary Rob Floyd and Assembly National Consultants Rev Lindsay Cullen and Rev Dr Apwee Ting met with leaders from five UCA National Conferences.
The online meeting on 16 September brought together the following National Conference representatives, Rev Trang Vo (Vietnamese), Rev Feke Kamitoni (Tongan), Rev Uilisone (Kili) Mafaufau (Samoan), Rev Enshuo Zhu (Chinese) and Rev Seung Jae Yeon (Korean).
It has been a challenging time for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities in our church, as many have faced extended periods of time isolated from family and community. Many CALD communities have also found themselves living in hotspot areas during the outbreak of the Delta variant.
Our National Conference leaders said there were people among their communities with genuine questions about COVID-19 vaccinations, but they were also alarmed by the spread of non-scientific information and conspiracy theories that have circulated.
With community members looking for leadership on this issue, our National Conferences and many CALD leaders in our Church, have played an important role in leading by example in following health directions.
Rev Kili Mafaufau shared his experiences in using community radio to explain and encourage Samoan communities to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
He shared: “Many people have come to know me as a leader who encourages people to get the jab.”
Each of our five national leaders also shared how they have sustained their communities to live faithfully in this very challenging time. Inspiring stories were shared, reflecting the creativity, resilience and faithfulness of communities across our Church.
President Rev Hollis spoke about the Act2 Project – our national conversation about the future shape of the UCA. There were also updates from the Assembly Resourcing Unit, sharing information and resources, and inviting our National Conferences to participate further in the life of the Assembly.
The President closed the meeting with prayer.