2022 Fall Appeal: Working Together!
“Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is a progress, working together is a success!” – Young Academic at the Pacific Theological College in Fiji
This past August, Global Ministries held its very first Mission Dash 5K to bring attention to the devastating effects of climate change around the globe. During the Mission Dash, Global Ministries highlighted the vital steps that international partners are taking to address the effects of climate change in their countries. Individuals, church groups and regional/conference ministries across the United States and Canada showed their solidarity with Global Ministries’ partners by walking in their own communities and raising funds.
It has been inspiring to witness the enthusiasm of individuals and groups who encouraged their friends and neighbors to rally around brothers and sisters across the globe making a difference in their everyday lives. Funds raised through the Mission Dash support climate justice work such as tree planting in Zambia, solar panel installation in Lebanon, rainwater harvesting systems in Puerto Rico, and preparing communities for climate resilience in Bangladesh to name a few.
During the 11th Assembly of the World Council of Churches in September, the North American delegates named climate justice as one of the top three crises affecting this generation. Organizations worldwide are creating programs and events such as Mission Dash to combat the negative effects of climate change, yet there is still a tremendous amount of work to be done. As a continuation of this environmental work, next summer Global Ministries is launching the Pacific Basin Initiative to focus on the hope and challenges facing communities in Japan, Korea, the Marshall Islands, Fiji, and the Philippines. This region is particularly exposed to rising sea levels, floods and landslides, and the people are obligated to search for solutions. One partner in the region, Pacific Theological College in Fiji, has launched the Young Narrative Storytelling Project. Through the project, young people are encouraged to “tell a different story” and to use their voices to advocate for positive change in their community. Sitella, a young woman participating in the project, persistently fights the river that continually invades her village. On heavy rainfall days, it seems impossible to control the raging waters, which paradoxically provide sources of nourishment, such as crabs and fish but also devastation in the village.
While her people within the Rewa Delta province of Fiji are familiar with the ways of the river and have survived on her offerings of crabs and fish, the tides seem increasingly higher. The river has taken out large chunks of the riverbanks. Some homes teeter at the edge. When Sitella returned home from the program at the Pacific Theological College, she re-ignited hope in changing their story.
With the support of other young people in the village, they piled sandbags high on the riverbanks and planted grass to stop soil erosion. She is negotiating longer-term measures to stabilize the riverbank and protect her village and people. Although the effects of climate change are widespread and devastating, people like Sitella give us hope.
Despite her tenacity and desire to make a positive change, she cannot do this work on her own. Just as Sitella rallied people in her village, and Mission Dash participants rallied their friends to walk for change, we also have an opportunity to be present with sisters and brothers around the world caring for God’s creation. The time is now.
In the spirit of the young student at the Pacific Theological College, will you join us in coming together, keeping together, and working together with international partners for climate justice and all priorities of communities around the world today?
Reverend LaMarco Cable
President, Division of Overseas Ministries
Co-Executive, Global Ministries