Rev. James Bhagwan, Secretary for Communication and Overseas Mission of the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma will join the crew of the traditional sailing canoe the “Uto Ni Yalo” as it prepares to sail into Sydney Harbour with 3 other vaka carrying a message from the Pacific people to the IUCN World Parks Congress on November 12, 2014.
“Padre James” as he is known will be in Sydney for meetings with partner church – Uniting Church of Australia and their mission arm Uniting World before boarding the Uto Ni Yalo. Rev. Bhagwan has served as the Chaplain of the Uto Ni Yalo in a voluntary capacity since 2010 as part of his ministry. He is also a trustee of the Uto Ni Yalo Trust.
A keen swimmer and StandUpPaddler who loves the ocean, Rev. Bhagwan is looking forward to continuing to provide spiritual nurturing to the voyaging community which not only includes the crew of the Uto Ni Yalo, but also crews of 3 other traditional canoes – Marumaru Atua (Cook Islands), Gau’alofa (Samoan and Tongan crew and American skipper), and Haunui (Aotearoa/NZ). At the same time he is also excited about being part of this historical event of the Pacific speaking with one voice to the world of the importance of caring for our environment.
“Pillar 1 of the Methodist Church’s Connexional Plan is ‘Salvation of Souls’ and Pillar 12 is “Christian Stewardship of Creation’,” said Padre James. “
“The Mua Voyage, is a way for me to connect these two important pillars together as part of my ministry and as an example of what we in the Methodist community can do.”
Pillar 12 of the Methodist Church in Fiji’s Connexional Plan states that: “Mankind is part of the world we live in. the Human centeredness of our physical and economic developments have destroyed other creations and our physical environments. We are now reaping the catastrophic costs of our selfishness as shown on landslides, drowning of low lying Atolls and islands, soil erosion death of marine life and climate change.
As Christians, we are called to revisit God’s model of creation in Gen. 1: 26. That our rulership and dominionship over the world of creation can be handled responsibly and justly only when we mankind are able to conform to the image of God. The image of God is God’s law and wisdom in a person that transform him or her to become responsible to the world of creation.
Their well-being is his responsibility given by the creation at the time of creation to be the“Responsible Stewards of God’s creation.””