“These women of colour will flip the script on leadership. Today is a moment in the Uniting Church. It’s about taking a bigger role in leadership for Siosiana and Milise, who step up into their roles within Pulse and the UME team.” – Rev. Charissa Suli
It was a great honour and blessing for both Joyce and I to be affirmed in our calling at PULSE. Our commissioning service was a great occasion for us, for our communities and for the wider Uniting Church. History was made by commissioning two Pasifika women as Pastors in our Synod roles. This was confirmed by Charissa’s research as she was preparing for her sermon for the commissioning.
“We know of migrant men and women being ordained or become Pastors in local congregations but I haven’t come across young Pacific women Pastors in a Synod role. Extremely proud and humbled to have preached at the commissioning of Joyce Tangi and Milise Foiakau from the Pulse team! May your ministry continue to reflect Gods law to love God , love neighbour, love self.”Rev. Charissa Suli
We acknowledge that so many have paved the way for us to be where we are today, in these roles where we hear God calling us. There have been many women and other leaders that have had us on their shoulders, our communities and families have helped form us, and God has been ever present with us through our journey and ministry.
We deeply appreciate all those who joined physically and online for this important celebration, and understand that with the limitation of COVID, not everyone was able to be there. A typical Pasifika gathering, usually followed by a mad feast and more community celebration was compromised.
As we get back to work, we know the responsibility we now have. Even though we continue to do the work we have been prior to being commissioned as Pastors, we understand that we are now paving new ways for those that come after us. We continue to work with dignity, respect, love, and compassion, setting an example for those who come after us. We do not take this lightly and hope that other young leaders not only get the recognition they deserve for their work in the church, but also that they are affirmed and given the space to continue to grow and transform the church.
We are reminded of the greatest Commandment:
“Mo lomani Jiova na nomu Kalou ena yalomu taucoko, ena lomamu taucoko, kei na nomu vakasama taucoko. Mo lomana na kai nomu me vaka nomu lomani iko.”
‘Ke ke ʻofa kia Sihova ko ho ʻOtua ʻaki ho laumālie kotoa, mo hoʻo moʻui kotoa, mo ho loto kotoa. Oku tatau mo ia, Ke ke ʻofa ki ho kaungāʻapi ʻo hangē pe ko koe.’
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. Love your neighbour as yourself.”
Ofa Foiakau is the Field Officer (Central/West), and responsible for youth/high school ministry as a part of the PULSE team.