Watch Robert's presentation of his time in Fiji (This can be downloaded for use in virtual Sunday School or worship.)
Name: Robert (RJ) Howard
Serving with: Pacific Council of Churches
How would you describe the mission of our partner in _ Fiji _____? The Pacific Council of Churches is an
organization that works through several facets to promote self determination, resilience, and
empowerment to both individuals and communities in the Pacific Islands with focuses on climate
change, child protection, cultural retention, and decolonization. PCC works in a wider scope, but
currently has 30 affiliated churches https://pacificconferenceofchurches.org/
How do you fit into their mission? My role is to work with the Stewardship team in areas relation to
Ocean Advocacy to help make information more accessible and allow for deeper focus in specific areas
within the Stewardship team
What led you to engage in this calling? I stumbled into this by chance as I was looking for a way to use
my studies actively while finishing up other Ministry related activities, and after hearing that there may
be applicability through Global Ministries I followed along until I ended up in Fiji.
Is there a passage of scripture that carries special meaning in your daily work? Jeremiah 29:11 - For I
know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to
give you hope and a future.
What are some of the challenges facing the people of _ Fiji ____, our partner, or yourself? Currently one
of the greatest challenges is the economic pressure stemming from a lack of tourism activity due to
Covid-19. There are many business venues and jobs that have disappeared as tourism is a major
economic driver in Fiji. The Pacific Council of Churches shares similar concerns as they have shifted some
focus to increasing community resilience by assisting with food security.
What is a lesson you have learned from our partner that you feel should be shared with churches in the
U.S.? I do not want to come across as lecturing anyone, but after my interactions with PCC I would
simply suggest that U.S. churches get more personally involved with projects that they support as well as
take local actions. Many church efforts start and end with providing funding to others which has more of
a one and done flavor rather than a continuing process.
Which books have influenced your understanding of your country, work, or theology (choose 3-6):
Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril - Edited by Kathleen Moore & Michael Nelson
The World Without Us - By Alan Weisman
(optional) Is there a piece of traditional art that you can send us a photo of and/or explain?
I had the chance to visit the Cathedral of St. Francis, also known as the Church of the Black Christ, in
which Fijian figures and culture are melded with that of the Christ as can be seen in the large central
mural. There are 2 other smaller murals in the side wings that depict related images.