Two Seventh-day Adventist pastors were part of Micah Australia’s women’s delegation that met with Australian political leaders in Canberra on September 7, 2022, to highlight the needs of the world’s most vulnerable people.
Sylvia Mendez, Women’s Ministries liaison for the Australian Union Conference and a church pastor in Melbourne, and 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 organizations 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,” Mendez said. “We each can do our bit to bring change.”
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 $AU150 million (about US$103 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,” Mendez added.
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,” Stiles said. “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,” Mendez reported. “The conversations were encouraging and uplifting.”
Stiles also admitted that her meetings with parliamentarians helped to humanize her perception of politicians. Among other interactions, she was invited to pray for a senior government minister. “There is a real person behind the title and role and party affiliation,” she said.