God’s creative vision: a welcome celebration for the Perth Samoan Uniting Church

The Perth Samoan Uniting Church was celebrated and welcomed as a new Uniting Church WA congregation on Friday night, 14 October at Advent Park Maida Vale. It was agreed during a special meeting of the Presbytery at the Annual Meeting of the Synod that the congregation would be received into the Presbytery.

The celebration coincided with the Uniting Church Samoan National Leaders’ Conference, which was held over the weekend in Perth.

To a packed house, including guests from the national and local Samoan community, as well as other churches in Perth, performances from the congregation’s youth choir helped to create an upbeat atmosphere, full of joy.

Rev Steve Francis, moderator of the Uniting Church WA welcomed the Perth Samoan Uniting Church into the flock.

“One of the great gifts of the Uniting Church is that we are a multicultural church,” he said. “And we are celebrating that tonight.”

Rev Dr Apwee Ting, national director for Multicultural and Cross-cultural Ministry in the Uniting Church in Australia, preached on the word of God, using the reading from Isaiah 19:19-25.

23 In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. 24 In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth. (Isaiah 19:23-24)

“God actively restored Egypt and Assyria and Israel,” Apwee said. “In God’s eyes, each kingdom or civilisation or culture is part of God’s creative vision.”

“Through the reading it is very clear that when the three civilisations come together they will bring peace for all the Earth.”

Apwee continued, adding that living as part of a multicultural church encourages its members to live faithfully in the body of Christ.

“For some people, living in a multicultural church is quite challenging. But for us, living in a multicultural church is a gift from God that needs to be celebrated,” he said.

“God has taught me that cross-cultural ministry is the fulfillment of God’s mission in the world.

“We need each other’s stories to form one story. Tonight we are celebrating together as a multicultural church, so each of us brings our own story to form a story of God.”

Viliamu Saunoa (William) from the Perth Samoan Uniting Church said that the congregation is overjoyed to be welcomed into the Uniting Church WA.

“Today is a happy day for us,” he said. “We are very very happy.”

The Perth Samoan Uniting Church have been worshipping at Forrestfield Uniting Church since 2012.

For more info visit https://revivemagazine.org.au/2016/10/10/welcome-to-the-perth-samoan-uniting-church or contact Hanamoa Vaitogi at wilsonvaitogi@gmail.com.

Heather Dowling

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