We, Church leaders from six Pacific countries met in the Colonnade Hotel, Nuku’alofa, Tonga from 1-5 May 2017, and following a rich time of sharing, discussion, prayer and worship, graciously opened by the His Royal Highness Crown Prince Tupouto’a, we return to our home churches today challenged, informed and enriched, taking the love and greetings of our fellow Pacific Christians with us.
Tonga was a wonderful place to meet – in many ways we felt we had been given a foretaste of heaven. Our hosts, the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga, bestowed unmeasured hospitality on us through food, smiling faces, uplifting music and gracious service.
Listening to the way God is working through Methodism in the Pacific raised our spirits. As we shared our insights into the essential gifts that the Wesleyan way brings to church life our hearts were warmed and our passion for building a stronger, contemporary Methodist Church grew.
Many papers were presented on the 2017 theme, ‘Wesley’s Heritage: Oceanic Methodist Lotu Now’, looking in depth at spirituality, lay training and mission. These papers are available on the MCCP website https://davidb737.wixsite.com/mccp In response, members identified ways of working together and reinvigorating some of their weaker areas. Following a presentation on ‘Mission as Solidarity’ from the Fiji Methodist Church, the Council agreed a statement in support of the people and churches of West Papua. Difficulties and challenges facing the younger generations were often referred to in the discussion and this will form the basis of our next meeting in 2019.
In his written greeting to MCCP, Revd Dr Ivan Abrahams, General Secretary of the World Methodist Council, said ‘God has brought you together in Tonga at this time in history to pray, reflect and celebrate. As you do so, it is my prayer that you will feel the gentle breeze of God’s Spirit. As you march toward tomorrow’s world, we pray that you will move forward with unmatched boldness and commitment, drawing new energy from the same transcendent God who cared for and guided your forebears.’ These prayers were indeed answered in our meeting.
The DNA of John Wesley survives strongly in Pacific church life and continues to have much to offer, both in the region and beyond. We heard contributions from the World Methodist Council and the Methodist Church in Britain and remain committed to ensuring that all our worldwide partners hear the small voice of the Pacific, which rises from a powerful faith.
Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga
Methodist Church of Fiji and Rotuma
Methodist Church New Zealand
Methodist Church Samoa
United Church Solomon Islands
Uniting Church of Australia
Methodist Church Britain