By Manu Ahosivi, Member of Park Uniting Church, Brisbane, QLD Synod
The Tongan National Conference (TNC) held their executive meeting at Canterbury Uniting Church in Melbourne on the 17-19 August 2018. I have been part of the conference for almost 10 years and have always committed myself to attend the executive meetings to be part of the planning and preparation of the annual conference.
As young person I always feel I can speak or raise concerns at the executive meeting. I love how the first-generation leaders encourage the youthful members to contribute to the national work of the Church.
It was encouraging to have two of the National Consultants from Assembly, Rev Lindsay Cullen and Rev Charissa Suli join us in our meeting. They reminded us about how important the diversity of voices and cultures are in the life of our church and that we are always welcome to share our gifts and skills to the life of the church.
A multicultural church that acknowledges diversity and strives for Christian unity yet values the importance of cultural continuity is why I call the UCA home.
Being a multicultural church is not just about singing, dancing and eating.
Being a multicultural church is about embracing the love of Christ and living out the mission of God regardless of our differences. We are united in our diversity by Jesus Christ to be a people who live out the love and grace of God in our personal lives, our communities and out into the world.
It was encouraging to hear the new models of working in the national work of the church through the seven circles of interest. To know that joining a circle is not limited to language, gender or culture is a positive way forward.
It is exciting to see the Tongan National Conference being recognised as a platform to extend and encourage gifts, skills, talents and life into the wider body of the Uniting Church of Australia.
One of my highlights of the TNC is to see the leadership from different congregations around the country coming together in Christ to serve a mission of fellowship at the annual conference. TNC has recently been described as colourful and through all my memories from Sunday School to Youth – that is my favourite summary of TNC.
Find out more about the Tongan National Conference