Unexpected joy, as a new Fijian Congregation is planted at Vermont

By Rev Sue Ellis

Posted in News

On Sunday 20th November 2022 the Vermont Uniting Church became the Vermont Uniting Church Fijian Congregation in a transitional church plant.  The ageing and predominately Anglo congregation at Vermont recognised their capacity to continue had diminished. At the same time, a strong relationship had developed between them and members of the Fijian community, from strong ties to Fiji established by the late Rev Allan Hatcher and his wife Margaret. 

Led by the Holy Spirit, the congregation determined they would transition the church property and spiritual life to their Fijian members. In a moving service led by Rev David Ingleton, the Chairperson of the Vermont UC, Mr Ian Megaw shared the decision and invited the Chairperson of the Fijian community Rt. Isoa Tikoca to receive the key to the church. The new Fijian leaders joined the outgoing Vermont leaders for a prayer. The Moderator, Mr Bronte Wilson and Chairperson of the Presbytery of South Australia, Rev Peter McDonald both brought greetings, and a memorial plaque to Rev Allan and Mrs Margaret Hatcher was unveiled.

The whole community were then invited to a Fijian feast in the magnificently decorated church hall, where a further memorial plaque to the late Siti Rogumuri was unveiled next to a new defibrillator, by Siti’s daughter. Siti served the Uniting Church Synod as Covenanting and International Mission officer until his early death in 2019.  Leaders from the PNG and Tongan faith communities gave their well wishes and spoke of the generosity of the Vermont congregation in enabling the Fijian church to have a permanent spiritual home for their worship and evangelism.


Photo Top: Mr Ian Megaw, past- Chairperson of the Vermont Uniting Church with Rev David Ingleton and the new and old members of the now Vermont Uniting Church Fijian Congregation.
(Photos from Sue Ellis)


Photo Below: The Head table of the Fijian feast following the service - Rev Dr Paul Goh, Rev David Ingleton, Rev Peter McDonald ( Chairperson, PoSSA) Mr Samuela ( Jono)  Lotu ( National Chairperson of Australian Fijians from Darwin), Moderator Bronte Wilson,  Robert & Ian Hatcher, sons of Methodist missionaries Allan & Margaret Hatcher

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