Pacific Churches and Humanitarian Leadership
Pacific Churches are present with communities in the immediate aftermath of disasters offering pastoral, practical, and spiritual leadership. They also speak out on behalf of affected communities and can elevate the traditional knowledge and wisdom about extreme weather events and caring for land and sea in the context of a changing climate.
Pacific Theologians are leading initiatives to promote advocacy, cultural shifts, and practical action on climate change and disaster preparedness through initiatives such as:
• Reweaving the Ecological Mat (Pacific Conference of Churches)
• Theology of Disaster Resilience in a Changing Climate (Pacific church collaboration funded through the Australian Humanitarian Partnership)
• Disaster Response, including through initiatives such as National Disaster Recovery Chaplaincy networks and by sharing messages of hope, resilience and action in support of Government preparedness measures.
Drawing on insights from Pasifika initiatives addressing root causes of climate change and disasters, this panel invites Pacific Theologians to encourage and challenge Pacific Islanders and the sector more broadly to radically re-think who the humanitarians are, how they should lead, and how traditional humanitarian actors can best support the shift in leadership towards Pasifika-led responses.
CAN DO will invite panellists to address the topic and answer specific questions about the experience and opportunities for churches to lead as local humanitarian actors, drawing on insights from their particular initiative.
• Reverend James Bhagwan, General Secretary, Pacific Conference of Churches
• Reverend Ikani Tolu, General Secretary, Tonga National Council of Churches
• Reverend Amy Chambers, Manager, Moana Anglican Services and Teaching Centre (MAST)