Pacific Islands Synod strengthened as Pacific Presbytery

6 October 2018

The Presbyterian Church General Assembly gave overwhelming support today for the Pacific Islands Synod to be renamed the Pacific Presbytery.

Assembly also approved changes to membership, which will improve the ability of individuals to participate in the life of the Pacific Presbytery.

The Presbyterian Church’s Council of Assembly task group had found that membership regulations placed unintended barriers to participation in the Pacific Islands Synod. Under new rules agreed to today, individuals or ethnic fellowship groups can now join as associate members – even if their church has voted not to join the Presbytery. This means that those within multicultural congregations have an easy pathway to participate in the life of the Pacific Presbytery.

The changes to existing rules better reflect the spirit of what the General Assembly intended when it granted the Pacific Islands Synod the status and powers equivalent to a presbytery in 2012.

Leilua Timaloa, clerk of the Pacific Presbytery says the name and membership rule changes will better align the Pacific Presbytery with the Church’s existing presbyteries, including the “ways in which Pasifika communities engage and express their faith across presbyteries”.

“We are rebranding within the Church and also within the Pasifika community. This signals for us a new direction and new leadership; we want all Pasifika people within our Church and communities to join with us in sharing our similarities, celebrating our differences and combining our strengths. We are moving forward in a powerful, relevant and responsive way to the changing landscape of Pasifika in our Church.  

“We honour the past, our grandparents and parents who were the church planters, and we are building for the future - our children and future grandchildren in terms of new expressions of ministry and mission,” said Leilua.