Uniting Church President Stuart McMillan has signed a historic partnership agreement with the Methodist Church in Fiji at their annual conference in Suva, Fiji.
The Methodist Church is the largest Christian denomination in Fiji, representing more than 36 per cent of the total population. The agreement affirms the two churches’ shared Methodist heritage and expresses their commitment to work together in life and mission.
“Our past relationship together forms the foundation of the new journey that we are being called by God to take together,” Mr McMillan said to the conference delegates.
“As our two churches grew, we built a relationship that was founded in Christ. We rejoice with the Methodist Church in Fiji on the signing of this historic agreement.”
Mr McMillan said the two churches have much to learn from one another. In the past, the Methodist Church in Fiji looked to the Uniting Church in Australia as their “mother and father”, but Mr McMillan said the new agreement recognises the two churches as “brothers and sisters” in Christ.
“We belong to each other, we are called to be one in love, in order that the great love of God may be known and experienced by the world,” he said.
“We are called to unity in Christ and we journey as pilgrims assured of God’s love and presence, with and within us in the Holy Spirit.”
The agreement was signed by Mr McMillan and Methodist Church in Fiji President Rev Dr Tevita Banivanua.
“We are hopeful in our relationship, with this agreement, we can truly understand our way forward together,” Dr Banivanua said.
The Methodist Church in Fiji has strong historical ties with the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress that stretch back to when Fijian missionaries first travelled to Arnhem Land and Cape York. This connection with First Peoples is acknowledged in the new agreement.
UnitingWorld will facilitate an exchange program for groups and ministers to visit the Methodist Church in Fiji.