With joy and celebration, Rev Karama Ioapo was admitted as a Uniting Church Minister of the Word at a service on Sunday 16 July, at Trinity North Uniting Church, Greenwood Worship Centre.
Karama was ordained in the Samoan Methodist Church in 2008. He served as a Youth Co-ordinator in Queensland, and then in parish ministry in New Zealand. In 2014, he completed a Masters of Arts in Theology and Transformative Practice in Birmingham, UK.
For the past year he has been serving as a Supply Minister at Trinity North Uniting Church.
Rev Brian Thorpe, also serving at Trinity North Uniting Church, preached during the service on Romans 8: 1-11.
Brian reflected on Paul’s letter to the Romans, and what Paul might say to us now, in our current society.
“Paul discovered/learnt that despite the best intent of the Law; the Law which he had known for much of his life, had become corrupted,” Brian said. “As such Paul argues that this law could not be effective in dealing with a deep human condition of brokenness, and separation from God (sin); the result of which produces guilt.
“When he wrote to Rome, Paul said to the church that there is another way; a way different to that of being bound in guilt and fear. This different way which is a way which opens up a whole new way of life/living. This is the way in which God has taken the initiative in Jesus to show the heart of God – which is love.
“This radically different way is not about trying harder to obey laws. This is the way which freely offers us transforming, life-changing love; the love liberates us from sin and its power which consists of guilt and fear.
“I’d hazard a guess that each of us have met and know people whose very life is testament to what Paul wrote about to the Romans so long ago, and whose words speak into our experience. For me, and for many in Trinity North Uniting Church, we have come to know and love one such person – Karama Ioapo.”
Rev Steve Francis, Moderator of the Uniting Church WA, read Karama’s Narration of Steps, explaining he had completed courses about cross-cultural relationships, Uniting Church studies, covenanting, Australian history and culture, Code of Ethics and Safe Church, to fulfill requirements of the Uniting Church for Ministers seeking admission.
“Karama’s personal faith in Jesus Christ, his experience of the love of God, his constant dependence on the spirit of the Lord and the support of his family and friends have sustained him, and he prays this will continue as he serves within the Uniting Church as a Minister of the Word as he leads the people of God in caring service, equipping them for their ministries, and enabling them to discern the spirits of injustice and oppression,” Steve said.
Karama thanked a number of people who had been with him on this journey, including Trinity North Uniting Church, Bob Hunt and the Trinity North Church Council, Rev Brian Thorpe, Rev Isobelle Shortreed, Rev Pearl McGill, his parents and extended family overseas and his wife Yvette and their five children.
“I wish to express my gratitude and sincere thanks to the Uniting Church in Australia, for this opportunity that I can now officially be used as a servant to serve the church to the best of my ability, with the guidance of the Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ,” he said.
“Working towards being admitted into the Uniting Church for a year and half makes me thankful to God, and so I quote Psalm 103:1: ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!'”