PNG’s seven mainline churches, the government, the private sector and civil society held their biannual Church Partnership Program (CPP) Forum in Goroka, Eastern Highlands, to promote gutpela sindaun (harmonious living) both as a model and pre-condition to supporting PNG’s development agenda.
Held from 29 to the 30 October, the two-day forum, hosted by the Salvation Army and supported by the PNG-Australia partnership, examined ways in which Church-State collaboration could be strengthened and improved under the theme of ‘Enhancing Partnerships, Crafting the Way Forward’.
(L-R) Territorial Commander of the Salvation Army PNG and Solomon Islands Colonel Kelvin Alley, Australian High Commission First Secretary Governance Amanda Young, Australian High Commission Minister Counsellor Andrew Egan, Governor of Eastern Highlands Province Honourable Peter Numu, Mrs Rosheila Dagina-Numu and Catholic Bishops Conference PNG and Solomon Islands President Bishop Rochus Tatamai.
Since independence, churches have been at the forefront of PNG’s development by delivering essential services to the rural majority - roughly 85 per cent of the population.
In recognition of their outreach and influence, CPP was established in 2004 as part of the PNG-Australia partnership.
Now in its third phase, CPP continues to provide life changing opportunities to the most vulnerable that would have otherwise missed out. It is estimated that 45 per cent of the nation’s health service and almost 51 per cent of the nation’s schools are provided by churches.
The gutpela sindaun model has also seen churches contribute to ending tribal fighting through peace building initiatives. A recent gun exchange ceremony in Enga Province led by the Salvation Army saw guns exchanged for bibles, symbolising a new commitment to community harmony.
Australian High Commission Minister Counsellor Andrew Egan officially opened the forum and acknowledged the success of the CPP in PNG.
“Today we acknowledge the unique work that churches are undertaking across Papua New Guinea to impart and uphold important values that can keep the social fabric of a community strong and resilient.
Through your valued activities, a young girl gets an education, communities receive urgent medical treatment and a person with a disability can access support,”
said Mr Egan.
During the forum, the Salvation Army Restorative Justice Program was presented as a model, not only for ministering to remote communities, but in brokering practical peace accords between warring tribes and broken communities.
Over 60 members from the seven mainline churches from both PNG and Australia attend the 28th CPP Forum in Goroka on the theme “Enhancing Partnership, crafting the way forward”.
About the CPP
The CPP includes seven mainline churches in PNG: Anglican, Catholic, Seventh Day Adventist, Salvation Army, Baptist, Evangelical Lutheran and United Churches. These churches represent about 70% of the 95% of Papua New Guineans who identify as Christian.
Since 2004, CPP has supported churches to improve their organisational capacity and to improve delivery of basic health and education services across the country, with a focus on five key areas – gender equality and social inclusion, peace and prosperity, disaster risk reduction, education and health.
For further information, including access to related materials, please contact the Australian High Commission media team: +675 7090 0276