Peace and Justice 13 January

13 Jan 2021 by Rev Lofa Anga’aelangi in: Latest News

Greetings and a happy New Year to you all,  

I hope that you all had a wonderful time Christmas with family and friends.  My first cousin from Brisbane visited us with his family.  They said Port Macquarie is their favourite holiday destination, their three girls just love the beaches.  Our Presbytery saw a lot of changes come into place with John Thornton moving on we appreciated his leadership and wish him all the best.  Although, there's a saying that ministers never actually retire.

With great excitement we welcome our new chairperson Penny Archer and we at the Peace and Justice group look forward to working collaboratively with you and the rest of Presbytery.

I want to thank Jeff and the rest of the PJG team for the discernment given to this role and called me to be their coordinator.  I am also thrill for Jessi and her willingness to work alongside me as a secretary for the group, welcome to another year brothers and sisters in Christ.

I want to start by sharing my calling to the Ministry of Deacons perhaps it will shed some light to our journey this year. 

As I have shared with many of you, I grew up in the Methodist tradition (The Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga).  Although, I was nurtured by the community of faith and held leadership roles, that I sometimes took for granted.  Many people in the church and outside affirmed my calling to ministry.  In 2010, I had some personal issues and that’s when a friend of mine gave me a ticket to attend the Hillsongs conference.  The main text was on Isaiah 61, written for a people in exile waiting on the year of the Lord (jubilee) to be freed.  I don’t remember the content of the message but I remember the Spirit moving within me, or may I say like (traditional Methodist) the warmth and burning within my heart from hearing the text.  The beautiful imagery’s evoked by Isaiah are provocative and passages.

These were some of the words that were hard to ignore:






Good news

I remember coming out of the conference feeling inspired.  (Some may say yes, that’s what the experience from Hillsong gives everyone!).  I was fortunate enough because my cousin, Katalina Tahaafe-Williams was the multicultural consultant for the NSW/ACT Synod.  She invited me to come for a chat with her.  From there, she encouraged me to take up the POD and some studies at UTC.  My journey started at local Tongan church youth groups that were working with the Frank Baxter Juvenile Justice Centre (for boys), and Juniperina Justice Centre in Lidcombe (for girls).  I was also part of the Tonga-Parish Young people's Bible Study group for three years.  The group I was a part of were mainly young and most of the youths inside made great connections with us mostly in sharing our/their stories.  We didn’t do much training we were there to listen and share and own our stories.  The people who work at these centres are aware of the importance of connecting the local churches into their programs for young people.  They're given a choice to attend our bible studies and participate with the music and cultural performances.  Some of the young people say, "we look forward to these things because some of our family and friends stopped visiting."  Luckily, we had a lot of talented young people who led all the singing and pacific cultural dancing.  Through these services we provided, some of the Pacific islander young men to learn about their cultural backgrounds.  As most of them were raised in Christian homes they were reminded of their own upbringing.  Some were brought to tears and ask for prayers and I believe, what we presented were acts of hope.  The songs and gospels, dances which weaved in Christian stories reminded them of what gave life and meaning, to them and their families.  We encouraged the young people to think about, the second chance given to change and start a new life once they get out.  Most of them understand, after the Juvenile justice system, and committing another offence after eighteen the tables turns, and the correctional centres are more complicated.

 I often think about the text from the prophet Isaiah and its meaning for someone called into prison ministry.  To put it another way, all of us the Church, Peace and Justice Group, Presbytery, Synod, are called to Bind, gather, restore, rebuild, comfort and to bring the good news to those who have been forgotten by the rest of society.

At the end of my Period of Discernment, I went through the Synod selection panel and they didn’t feel they heard the call to the ministry of Deacons.  As you can imagine I was confused and felt maybe I had it all wrong.  Perhaps, I'm called to another ministry that I need to discernment further.

In 2015, I applied for a program called face to face program.  A project of the Council for World Mission, it was created in 1977 and incorporates the London Missionary Society (1795), the Commonwealth Missionary Society (1836) and the (English) Presbyterian Board of Missions (1847).  The purpose of the program is to equip young leaders, by sending them to come face to face with the reality of social issues such as, migration, human trafficking, poverty, climate change etc.  I applied for a program on migration and human trafficking, in the Empire (Netherlands).  The requirement was for each applicant to write an essay on migration and relations to human trafficking.  I remember receiving, the email with an acceptance offer to take part in the program.  Feeling overwhelmed and not knowing what to do in Europe for 6months. It turned out to be a life changing experience for me, as I was confronted by the reality of life for many of the human trafficked survivors, refugees, and undocumented people.  I was face to face with the consequences of systems that were failing people, face to face with injustices, face to face with what it meant to have your identity stripped because you are identified by a piece of paper, face to face with stories trauma from victims and survivors of war.  As a listener to re-tell these stories will only diminish the tellers, but I feel my responsibility is hold these stories as sacred.  I have been given the permission to reflect on the way they challenge my own faith to be transformed by them.  My hope is for the PJG to be a people that holds individual stories as transformative, inspiring and also becomes a testimony of Hope, and love for others.

As we look forward to twenty – twenty-one, I encourage all of you to think about our role as the PJG of the Presbytery.  how can our contributions through resourcing, discussions and services bring change to our location? At the same time how do we engage the local church’s in some of the most challenging issues and topics of our time.  This year we will be focusing on several topics they will be confronting, require a lot of wrestling with the way we live out our faith.

P.S: I didn’t finish the part about how I got through the Synod selection panel, well they said yes in my second interview and obviously, I am now ordained. :)

May the Peace, Love and, blessings of our Lord Jesus Christ stay with you now and always,


Mark these Dates:

Australia Day/ Survival Day/ Invasion Day

January 26 – As we approach the 26th January, Common Grace has created several platforms of initiative.  They are important opportunities for the community and the church to participate in journeying together with First Nation People.  The theme for this year is #Changing hearts.  There will be plenty of taking part in listening to storytelling and gathering in prayer for unison led by Aunty Jean Phillips.

Commit now to #ChangeTheHeart

Sign up now to receive updates and an order of service booklet for this unique, national prayer service led by Aunty Jean Phillips and Aboriginal Christian Leaders on Monday, 25 January 2021 at 7:30 pm AEDT.

Equip your church for Aboriginal Sunday

Your church or faith community can reclaim William Cooper’s Aboriginal Sunday and act in solidarity with Aboriginal peoples on the Sunday directly before January 26.

Sign up now for an Aboriginal Sunday Church Resource Toolkit that will enable your church or faith community to hold and lead a service prepared by Aboriginal Christian Leaders for Sunday, 24 January 2021.

The Church Resource Toolkit is now ready and will be emailed to you as soon as you sign up.

Black Lives Matter Webinar Sunday 24th January More details to follow


2nd - World Wetlands Day

8th - World Day of Prayer, Reflection and Action Against Human Trafficking 13th - Anniversary of National Apology 16th - Shrove Tuesday 17th - Ash Wednesday 20th - World Day of Social Justice. 

Next meeting 20th February at Port Macquarie Uniting Church.