International Guests

Rev Hyayr Cholakian

Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East (UAECNE)

Rev Hyayr Cholakian was born in Beirut, Lebanon and grew up in an Armenian Evangelical family.  He received his elementary education in the Armenian Evangelical College, from where he went to Haigazian University to receive his BA in Elementary Education. At Haigazian University Hyayr was a pre-theology student preparing for ministry and from there, he moved to the Near East School of Theology in Beirut, where he received his MDiv.

From 1997 to 2000 he was assigned by the UAECNE to be the rotating chaplain of the four Armenian Evangelical High-Schools operating in Lebanon.  Following this, Hyayr was invited to be the director of one of the High Schools in the Armenian District - Bourj Hammoud of Beirut. From 2011 Hyayr has been pastoring the First Armenian Evangelical Church of Beirut.

In 2012, he was ordained by the UAECNE and in addition to serving in ministry he has worked on a number of ecumenical committees, including the Educational Committee of Fellowship of the Middle East Evangelical Churches and the Youth Committee of the Middle East Council of Churches.  Currently Hyayr is also the chairman of the Armenian Evangelical Tribunal in Lebanon.

Hyayr is married to Karineh Sahakian and they are blessed with a daughter, Maneh and a son, Nareg.

Rev Elifas Tomix Maspaitella

Protestant Church in Maluku

Ordained in 2007, Rev Elifas Tomix Maspaitella was previously the former General Chief of the Youth Organization of the Protestant Church in Moluccas from 2010-2015.

 He is currently serving as the General Secretary of the PCM from 2015-2020.

Elifas has also contributed to a number of published works: Maluku in the context of Indonesia now and tomorrow (co-editor); The role of the Pamali Stone in the life of indigenous people in Maluku (co-author); and

Sailing in the waves, working for the country: thinking of a country boy for Maluku (co-editor).

Visit Elifas’ blog

Rev Ming Liang

China Christian Council

Rev Ming Liang’s father was a pastor and he was a Baptist from an early age. He has served in the church since 1988 and studied in Guangdong Union Theological Seminary (China) and Trinity Theological College (Singapore) before being ordained a pastor in 1995, following which he was the senior pastor of Shamian Church in Guangzhou for 15 years.  Ming has served as the General Secretary and President of Guangdong Christian Council and is currently the Chairman of Guangdong Provincial Three-Self Patriotic Movement as well as the Vice President of China Christian Council which is based in the Guangdong Province and offers service to all the churches in the whole province.

Ms Xiaoyan (Grace) Zho

China Christian Council

Ms Grace Zhou graduated from Shanghai International Studies University in 2013. In the same year, she started to work as Secretary at the Overseas Relations Department of the China Christian Council and the National Committee of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant churches in China (CCC & TSPM) in 2013. Her role is to help coordinate exchanges with overseas churches on the basis of mutual respect and equality so that the Church in China can strengthen friendship and cooperation with the ecumenical church.

Rev I Nyoman Agustinus

Protestant Christian Church in Bali

Rev I Nyoman Agustinus has been ministering since 1994 and was ordained a minister of the Gereja Kristen Protestan di Bali (GKPB) in 1998. In addition to studying at the STT INTIM Theological institution in Makassar, he went on to further theological study at the Hanil University & Presbyterian Theological Seminary in South Korea.

From 2003-07 Nyoman ministered with Gereja Kristen Indonesia Australia (GKIA) and then headed Research and Development with the GKPB from 2007-08. Since then he has undertaken a number of roles ministering with the Philidelphia congregation in Legian, and headed the Spiritual and Formation Department with GKPB. He is currently serving as the General Secretary of the GKPB Synod.

He is married to Elisabeth and they have three children, Listia Sarah, Ni Made Alvionita and Nyoman Ariel.

Mrs Cindy Vanuaroro

Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu

In her early career Mrs Cindy Vanuaroro graduated from secretarial studies to undertake administrative work with various organisations including the British National Service Education Department, the Attorney General’s Office, PMC (where she met her husband, Pastor Solomon Vanuaroro) and the PCV.

After completing a Library Diploma and Diploma of Theology, Cindy has for the past 17 years been the Librarian at the Talua Ministry Training Centre, also teaching basic library and computer skills. More recently she has undertaken the role of General Secretary of the Presbyterian Women’s Missionary Union (PWMU).

Cindy also serves as the Secretary of the Inter-Church Prayer Network of South Santo, a group advocating against violence and injustice against women, children and those in need.  This includes preaching and leading Bible studies with the women and the people of South Santo and Santo Presbytery.

Rev James Bhagwan

Methodist Church in Fiji

Rev James Bhagwan is an ordained minister of the MCF and the immediate past Secretary for Communication and Overseas Mission, having also worked in parish ministry and at the Methodist Davuilevu Theological College. He completed a BDiv in Ecumenical Studies (Hons) from the Pacific Theological College in Suva, Fiji; a MTh from the Methodist Theological University in Seoul, South Korea; and is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji. His keen interest is in Contextual Theology and Ethics.

Currently, James is serving as the Chaplain and "Matua" (Mentor) for the Fijian traditional voyaging canoe, the Uto Ni Yalo and is also a volunteer crew member, serving as a watch captain. As a vocal advocate for care of the ocean and environmental stewardship in Fiji. With a group of like-hearted friends he established the Healthy Ocean and Healthy Lives River to Ocean Paddling and Cleanup Initiative.

A practicing ecumenist (with a Roman Catholic wife and Anglican children), James has taken a key role in the revival and reorganisation of the Fiji Council of Churches, serving as acting General Secretary during the process. He was recently given the responsibility to be the lead facilitator of the Pacific Church Leaders' Pacific Ecumenical Council formation process.

Prior to entering ministry, James worked in the Fijian media industry for almost two decades and received a number of local, regional and international awards in Radio, Television and Print.

James is married to Maelin with whom he has two children, Francisco-Xavier and Antonia.

Visit James’ blog

Rev Mata Makara

Cook Islands Christian Church

Rev Mata Makara completed his training at the Takamoa Theological College Rarotonga Cook Islands, New Zealand and the Fiji College of Theology in Partnership with the Ambassadors Crusaders for Christ USA. Following this he undertook a crash course with the Uniting Church Theological College in NSW. Mata holds a Diploma of the Bible College of NZ; Diploma of Ministry (ACT); Bachelor of Theology; Bachelor of Biblical Studies; and Master of Arts.

Mata served in the Clayton Cook Islands Uniting Church for 8 years from 2007 to 2015 and is currently ministering at the Christian Church Hampton Park, Melbourne Australia. He has also been a member of the CICC Executive Council and a Lecturer in Takamoa Theological College.

Mata is married to Tuakana Makara with whom he has four children, two of whom are training as Ministers of the Word in the CICC.

Rev Utux Lbak

Presbyterian Church in Taiwan

Rev Utux Lbak is an Austronesian indigenous member of the Tayal tribe. He graduated from the indigenous Yu-Shan Theological College and Seminary of the PCT and is currently pastoring a local tribal congregation.

Utux is currently also serving as the Chairperson of the Indigenous Ministry Committee.

Rev Chen-Hsiang (Joshua) Lien

Presbyterian Church of Taiwan

Rev Joshua Lien graduated from the Taiwan Theological College and Seminary of the PCT and pastored a small urban local congregation before taking on his current role as the PCT Program Secretary for Ecumenical Relations.

Rev Solmon Zwana

Methodist Church in Zimbabwe

Rev Solmon Zwana has been in ministry for almost 30 years. He holds a PhD from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland; a MA and BA (Hons) in Religious Studies and Theology from the University of Zimbabwe; together with diplomas in Human Resources Management, Leadership and Development, Media and Communication and Training Management.

Solmon is currently the Presiding Bishop of the MCZ, having held the position of General Secretary for the MCZ and Zimbabwe Council of Churches previously. He is the Chairperson of the MCZ Board and holds executive positions in a number of other organisations. He has tutored at the University of Edinburgh and been a lecturer and Principal at the United Theological College in Harare.

Solmon has authored several academic and spiritual books and articles and is a passionate advocate for geographic and spiritual church growth and social justice.

Mr Makoto Kato

United Church of Christ in Japan

After completing a law degree, Mr Makoto Kato went on to study and graduate from the Tokyo Bible Seminary.

Rev Vinod Victor

Church of South India

Rev Vinod Victor, representing the CSI, is the minister of the Melbourne CSI Congregation and St. Matthews Anglican Church in Ashburton, Melbourne. He is an ordained minister of the South Kerala Diocese of the CSI.

He was the Secretary of the Synod Youth Department of the CSI from 1998-2001, Director of the Church’s Integrated Life Development Programme from 2001-2003; and the Coordinator of the South Asia Ecumenical Partnership Programme - an initiative of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) with the South Asian National Council of Churches from 2003-2010.

Vinod was the Dean of the Trivandrum Cathedral from 2011-15, before being appointed Vicar of Melbourne CSI Church. He was also in charge of the CSI Churches in Adelaide and Sydney till new vicars took charge of these congregations.

Vinod has travelled to all the five continents and to over 25 countries preaching the gospel and has attended assemblies of the WCC and CCA during his stint with the CSI.

Rev Ki Hak Choi

Presbyterian Church of Korea

Rev Ki Hak Choi graduated from Trinity Theological College & Seminary with a Masters in Theology. From 1987 to the present he has been the Senior Pastor of the Sang Hyun Church in South Korea.

 From September 2017, Ki has served as the 102th Moderator of the General Assembly of PCK. Prior to this he served as the Vice Moderator and Stated Clerk

Rev Chang Bae Byun

Presbyterian Church of Korea

From 2017, Rev Chang Bae Byun has served as the General Secretary of the General Assembly of the PCK. Prior to this he was the Executive Secretary of Ecumenical Relations and Planning from 2012-2017.

Chang was Senior Pastor of the Korean Uniting Church in Western Melbourne from 2009-2012 and a Collaborative Pastor of the Korean Church of Melbourne from 2006-2009.

He has been a delegate of the Council for World Mission, Christian Conference of Asia and World Council of Churches.

Rev Elder Tautiaga Senara

Congregational Christian Church of Samoa

Rev Elder Tautiaga Senara is the parish minister at Matautu Falelatai and Chairman of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa.

He is married to Olita Faasifo.

Rev Petesa Sionetuato

Congregational Christian Church of Niue


Rev Lorenso Dos Santos

Protestant Church in Timor Leste

After completing Theological study, Rev Lorenso Dos Santos – ‘Santos’ became a Pastor with the Synod of IPTL, ministering for 19 years in a number of churches, especially in East Tiimor.

From 2012-2016 Santos was General Secretary of the Synod and he is currently serving as Moderator until 2020.

Santos was pleased to take part in the UCA’s Post-Colonial Conference held in Melbourne in July 2016. He has participated in the following ecumenical assemblies: Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK) 2015; Evangelical Christian Church in the Land of Papua (GKI-TP) 2017; World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) 2017; and now the UCA’s 15th Triennial Assembly.


Santos and his wife are blessed with one son.

Elder Adriana Charlotte Dondokambey  

Mrs Annie Dondokambey

Rev Like Tineke Andretha Dondokambey

Rev Vanny Nancy Suoth  

Rev Dr Hein Arina