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Oceania regional primates pledge united action on climate change and gender-based violence

Posted on: March 13, 2018 9:02 AM
The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion, Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, invites participants at the Oceania regional Fono to share the Eucharist. The service took place on a former island off Suva Harbour which, as a result of rising sea levels, is now a sandbank which is only accessible at low tide. The Eucharist was held on the sandbank as a dramatic symbol of the growing climate change crisis in the region.
Photo Credit: Anglican Taonga

Anglican primates in the Oceania region have committed themselves “to take concrete action, to be champions and advocates, and to support each other” in the fight against climate change and gender-based violence. The Primates and General Secretaries of the Anglican Church in Australia, the Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea, the Anglican Church of Melanesia, and the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia made the commitments in a communiqué following their recent regional meeting, or Fono, in Fiji.

As part of its commitment to tackle climate change, the church leaders are encouraging investment into sustainable energy as a valid option for investment funds. They are also encouraging their various trust boards “to consider restructuring their investments to maximise returns from such innovative ideas.” And they want Anglican schools in the region’s four provinces to integrate “climate change topics into the current curricula.”

On gender-based violence, the primates and general secretaries welcomed the work of The House of Sarah – an initiative of the Diocese of Polynesia, which works to end violence against women and children. They say that they encourage and support “the zero tolerance for violence policy as promoted by the House of Sarah” and will look at ways that they can share their work in other Provinces. The also encouraged all provinces to adopt and implement the Anglican Consultative Council’s (ACC) “Safe Church charter”, and committed themselves to review and respond to the guidelines coming from the International Safe Church Commission – an inter-provincial body established at the last ACC meeting to develop Communion-wide approaches to protecting children and vulnerable adults.

This is the second time in two years that the primates and general secretaries of the Oceania region had met in this way. They will meet again in Melanesia next year, and in Papua New Guinea in 2020.

They were joined at this year’s meeting by an Anglican Communion delegation led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and including Dr Josiah Idowu-Fearon, the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion; Bishop Anthony Poggo, Archbishop Justin’s Anglican Communion Adviser; Phil George, Chief Executive of the Lambeth Conference Company; and Gill Whiting, the Anglican Communion Programme Coordinator at Lambeth Palace. They discussed priorities for the 2020 Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops.