To be a witness: Indonesian National Conference

The Indonesian congregations of the Uniting Church, with different ethnicities and backgrounds, gathered here in Perth for the 14th Indonesian National Conference.

GKI Perth Uniting Church (Indonesian) in Mosman Park, the only Indonesian speaking congregation within the Uniting Church WA, was given the privilege to host this important biennual  conference. It ran from 5 to 7 May, attended by eight Indonesian speaking congregations from multiple Australian states. We all came to share stories and brought messages from our home congregations.

The theme of this year’s conference was ‘To be a witness.’

“Have we become a witness of Christ in our family, in our church, and in our community?”

That is the message that was given by Rev Thresi Mauboy, the Moderator of the Uniting Church NT, in the evening devotion on the first day of the conference.

Bosta Pratama, an elder of GKI Perth Uniting Church (Indonesian) said at the conference that to be a witness of Christ, first we need to identify diversity is not a problem, but something to celebrate. Realising this, we will then be able to pursue unity despite our differences and pass this lesson to the next generation to come.

Rev Steve Francis, Moderator of the Uniting Church WA, encouraged those who talk very little to speak up and those who speak too much to listen more.

Rev Dr Emanuel Audisho, Multicultural Ministry Co-ordinator for the Uniting Church WA, shared some of the Uniting Church Multicultural Commission programs. Rev Dr Apwee Ting, National Director of Multicultural and Cross Cultural Ministry for the Uniting Church in Australia, delivered a message on behalf of the Uniting Church president, Stuart McMillan, and also reflected on  how diverse the Uniting Church in Australia has become, since its declaration as a multicultural church.

Rev Jotje Karuh, General Secretary of the GKI West Java Synod shared some of his experiences, showing that we can be a witness wherever we are.

Rev Ajub Jahja from St Andrew’s Gardiner Uniting Church in Melbourne was elected as the new Chairperson for 2019’s Indonesian National Conference. This means in the next two years, we will meet again in Melbourne, Victoria.

At the end of the conference, we took part in a discussion on how to improve the effectiveness of this meeting in the future. We decided to form a steering  committee with members representing different synods. Having this committee, we hope that future conferences will be more organised and effective.

Alvin Gunawan

Top image: Rev Dr Apwee Ting, National Director of Multicultural and Cross Cultural Ministry for the Uniting Church in Australia, preaching at the recent Indonesian National Conference.

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