Nauru partners with the Far North Coast Presbytery

Nauru partners with the Far North Coast Presbytery

In 2011 the Far North Coast Presbytery (Tweed to Grafton) decided to invite the Nauru Congregational Church into partnership. This invitation was accepted and a number of initiatives have been planned and begun. The purpose of the partnership is to support the work of the Nauru Congregational Church so as to enhance its mission activity. A substantial sum of money has been set aside in the Presbytery budget to fund the partnership. 

For 60-odd years in the early 20th centuryNauru was “raped and pillaged” as a colony ofAustralia, New Zealand andBritain whose colonial policies regarded the phosphate resources as the property of the colonisers. After independence in 1968Nauru entered into a period of accelerating prosperity (as a result of controlling their phosphate sales) which culminated in the Republic being per capita the richest in the world by the early 1980s.

Today, Nauru is essentially a bankrupt society and its people live in a state of relative poverty with all of the associated economic, health and social challenges that poverty brings. The nation survives on overseas aid, dwindling sales of its ever-diminishing phosphate resources, licensing of Asian fishing interests in its national waters and small returns from what is left of its overseas investments. 

The largest spiritual group on Nauru is the Nauru Congregational Church representing about 35 per cent of the population. But financial constraints mean the church is able to pay the ordained minister any stipend or allowances nor is it able to carry out essential property repairs or provide for ongoing administration. The Rev. Roger Mwareow survives by having full time employment in the islands TAFE system as well as carrying out his church leadership role. 

As of January 2012 the following initiatives have begun: 

  • One Presbytery member (at her own suggestion) is making a regular monthly contribution to the NCC to enable the church to have its own internet account and to carry out urgent minor repairs to church property. 
  • The NCC youth choir leader arrives in Australia on  January 18 to spend six months as a guest boarding master/musician-in-residence at Kinross Wolaroi School in Orange (See separate article). 
  • The NCC minister has been provided with business cards. 
  • NCC has been provided with toner supplies for its fax/copier/scanner. 
  • Baptismal Certificates for the NCC are being designed and printed. 

To get product to the island, the FNCP relies on the good will of airline staff who deliver packages free of charge. To get money to the island they work through a local Nauruan business which has its banking activity inAustralia.  

Readers interested in knowing more about the partnership are invited to communicate with Bruce Robinson, Treasurer, Far North Coast Presbytery, on 0266224917 or email brobin2@bigpond.com.

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