The ten Training in Mission (TIM) participants left Fiji on 8 September to continue the programme in Kiribati until 23 September. The Kiribati leg of the Programme is hosted by one of the CWM’s member-churches, Kiribati Uniting Church (KUC).
Kiribati is one of the Pacific island countries that is living with the blunt reality of the effects of the climate change because of rising sea levels, floods and drought. Some scientists believe that Kiribati’s chain of thirty-three atolls and islands, which stand just metres above sea level, could be uninhabitable as early as 2030 and some of may be submerged under the sea and disappear within this century.
The TIM participants’ two weeks’ exposure in Kiribati, will bring them closer to the reality of climate change as they live with the people from the atoll communities of Betio and Abaiang where they will witness firsthand how climate change affects the lives of the Kiribati people.
Kiribati Uniting Church which represents approximately one-third of the population of Kiribati grapples with the issue of climate change. The participants will be exposed to the missional role of the church in dealing with and mitigating the impact of climate change.
During this time, the participants will also engage with various government agencies and ministries such as the Ministry of Environment, Land and Agricultural, Ministry of Health and Ministry of Women, Youth and Social Affairs to learn more on how the Kiribati’s government is responding to the issue of climate change and other inter-connected but equally pressing issues such as gender violence.
The participants will also participate in the Kiribati Uniting Church’s General Assembly. They will then return to Fiji on 23 September for wrap-up and evaluation sessions for two weeks before moving to New Zealand on the 7 October for the final leg of the Programme.