12th Assembly 2009

Time for action, not more talk

“It is no use going overseas to attend meetings on climate change. I’m sure the voice of Tuvalu has been heard all over the world. We don’t need to campaign further. What we need now is for something to be done.”

july 18_am_overseas visitors tausi_ma 6The Rev. Kitiona Tausi, General Secretary of the Ekalesia Kelisiano Tuvalu Congregational Church, is attending the 12th Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia. He hopes to renew the partnership with the Australian church.

While the Ekalesia Kelisiano Tuvalu Congregational Church is small compared with other Pacific islander churches it is by far the most popular church in Tuvalu. Ninety-five per cent of Tuvalu’s 10,000 people are members.

The tiny island has attracted attention due to serious concern about the impact of climate change.

“Tuvalu is a very small country,” said Mr Tausi. “It only has 26 square kilometers. Yes, we may be greatly affected by the impact of climate change but we don’t have any records.
“The world is getting warmer and we have to do something about that. Some scientists disagree but we may be affected because we are low lying. So it is now time for action.”

Sustainability, Mr Tausi said, is the focus for both the people of his island and for the church. “We are making plans how we can address this problem. We have the resources and unexplored potential and the church is now working on that.

“For example, there are agricultural products like papaya,” he said. “We understand there is great demand for this product overseas. We can grow them well in Tuvalu, because we are tropical. As long as we can find some acres and process them and export them I’m sure we will be the wealthiest country in the world considering our small population.”

A partnership between the Ekalesia Kelisiano Tuvalu Congregational Church and the Uniting Church in Australia was established in the late 1970s but over the years has lost momentum. That is until Mr Tausi wrote to the Uniting Church extending an invitation in the hope of boosting the partnership.

The Rev. James Haire, ex-President of the Australian church, responded with a visit.

“That revived the partnership,” said Mr Tausi. “I then paid a visit to the Uniting Church office last year and we managed to strengthen what we re-established. We are now working on projects together.”