Adventist pastors ask for government action on hunger crisis

Pastor Moe Stiles (second from left) was part of a group of Christian women leaders who met with Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Penny Wong (third from right).

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Two Adventist pastors were part of Micah Australia’s women’s delegation that met with Australian political leaders in Canberra on September 7 to highlight the needs of the world’s most vulnerable people. Pastor Sylvia Mendez—Women’s Ministries liaison for the Australian Union Conference and a church pastor in Melbourne—and Pastor Moe Stiles—a chaplain and pastor in Melbourne—participated in meetings at Parliament House representing the Adventist Church and the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), one of 18 Christian organisations that make up the Micah Australia coalition.

“It was a privilege to be able to bring the voice of those who couldn’t speak for themselves to Parliament,” says Pastor Mendez. “We each can do our bit to bring change.”

Pastors Sylvia Mendez and Moe Stiles at Parliament House in Canberra as part of Micah Australia’s Women Leaders Network.

The 36 Christian women leaders spoke with 45 members of parliament and senators in support of Micah Australia’s current campaign highlighting the urgent needs of an estimated 50 million people around the world who “are on the brink of famine as a result of the convergence of conflict, COVID-19 and climate change.” They called on the Australian government to provide additional emergency aid of $A150 million in next month’s budget to help the most-affected nations, including Somalia, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan.

“As women leaders, we also pointed to the fact that it is often women and children who are the face of suffering and poverty—and it is those who are already vulnerable who are hit hardest,” adds Pastor Mendez.

Both pastors expressed their appreciation of the opportunity to speak up on an important issue, as well as to interact with politicians and other Christian leaders. 

“There is power in the collective voice,” says Pastor Stiles. “It was wonderful to the see the church—regardless of the brand we represent—show up and stomp the halls of parliament, advocating and amplifying the voices of those in vulnerable situations.”

“It was a great opportunity to represent our church and to share space with an amazing bunch of women leaders,” reports Pastor Mendez. “The conversations were encouraging and uplifting.”

Pastor Stiles also admits that her meetings with parliamentarians helped to humanise her perception of politicians, including being invited to pray for a senior government minister. “There is a real person behind the title and role and party affiliation,” she says. 

To learn more about Micah Australia’s “Help Fight Famine” campaign, and to take action and add your voice, visit www.fightfamine.com.au.

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