Pacific Islanders at GC 2019: Something to Celebrate
Special Called General Conference 2019 has come and gone. The delegates voted and General Conference has spoken for The United Methodist Church. And yet, it remains to be seen whether The United Methodist Church has found a way forward or remains stuck in the same impasses it’s been in for over 40 years now.
Like the rest of the denomination, Pacific Islanders are divided and find themselves on both sides of the impasse. However, there is one thing that we can all agree on: this General Conference session had the most seated Pacific Islander delegates ever. Four of the 864 delegates to the special called session of the General Conference are Pacific Islanders. This is a 100 percent increase from General Conference 2016 when there were only two Pacific Islanders on the floor.
However, there is one thing that we can all agree on: this General Conference session had the most seated Pacific Islander delegates ever.
Here are the Pacific Islander delegates to the 2019 special called session of General Conference:
Mele Maka: Lay delegate from California-Pacific Annual Conference – Mele has been a leader on all levels of the denomination. Currently she is a district lay leader, and is a member of the United Methodist Standing Committee on Central Conference Matter. Mele was also a delegate to the 2008, 2012, and 2016 General Conferences.
Havea Hikule`o “Harvey” Tukutau: Lay delegate from Rocky Mountain Annual Conference – Harvey was the youngest delegate at the 2016 General Conference when he was 18 years old. Three years later, he is still one of the youngest delegates to the special called session. Harvey is the son of Rev. Sione Tukutau and Pastor Olympia Tukutau, who are both serving in ministry in the Mountain Sky Annual Conference. In 2016, Harvey and his father, Rev. Sione, shared the rare honor of both being on the plenary floor as a pair of father-son delegates, as Sione was a reserve clergy delegate.
Mele Faiva Blagojevich: Llay delegate from the California-Pacific Annual Conference – Mele Faiva has held numerous leadership positions within the connection, including a term as United Methodist Women conference president. She is currently on the board of directors of the General Board of Global Ministries. She served as reserve delegate to General Conference in 2016.
Rev. Siosifa Hingano: Clergy delegate from the California-Nevada Annual Conference – Sifa has been involved in many committees, including serving as a co-chair for the Conference Order of Elders, chair of the Ethnic Committee, and a board member of the General Commission on Religion and Race. He is the pastor of Laurel UMC in Oakland, CA. He served as delegate reserve delegate to the General Conference in 2016.