6 October 2012
Pacific Island Presbyterians rejoiced today in the Presbyterian Church General Assembly’s overwhelming support to grant presbytery status to the Pacific Islands Synod.
The Synod now has status and powers equivalent to a presbytery, or to Te Aka Puaho the Church’s Maori Synod, and can govern and self-manage its contribution to the life of the Church.
The Church’s Pacific Island congregations will be able to choose whether they will belong to their existing regional presbytery or the new Synod.
The decision was welcomed by the Church’s Pacific Island congregations, with Pacific Islands Synod spokesperson, the Rev Ere Talagi Ikitoelagi, Moderator of Pacific Islands Synod, saying the move will strengthen the Synod’s ability to resource the life, worship and mission of the Church.
Over 200 Pacific Island Presbyterians travelled to Rotorua from congregations all over New Zealand to support the proposal.
“The Church is one body, with inter-dependent, yet distinctive parts. We will now be able to be more effective in our mission, with a structure that better enables Pasifika input in our cultural context,” Ere says.
The move to grant presbytery status is the culmination of more than 15 years work, and discussion between the Church and its Pacific Island community.
Moderator the Right Rev Ray Coster, who is minister of a multicultural church, says that the Church is responding to the need to create structures that best support all the Church’s members, that service the life and mission of the Church, and acknowledge cultural diversity while still upholding the biblical principal of one body of Christ.