Cover image of a COVID-19 wellbeing statemtent, showing a plant growing on a sandy beach in the Pacific islands

Image: Pacific Theological College

The statement begins by acknowledging that governments and churches worldwide have been advocating for vaccination in order to get back to a senes of normalcy.

While this statement fully supports vaccination, a single-vaccine approachalone is limited and needs rethinking,” the text reads. The evolving nature of the virus needs evolving and multidimensional solutions.”

The statement notes that the vaccineseffectiveness against infection is declining despite promises of strong protection against hospitalisation.

Therefore, science alone, with all its benefits, does not suffice during health crises,” the statement reads. It is not enough to depend solely on medical practitioners and state healthcare facilities, and it is extremely unhelpful to work against them.”

The statement emphasizes that today, more than ever, it is crucial for Pasifika communities to revisit what is meant by health. This statement also broadly addresses some theological questions and mis/disinformation in relation to the pandemic,” reads the text. This statement serves to assist Pasifika and worldwide churches, partners, faith-based organisations, and grassroots communities with a broader multidimensional approach to health, framed within the biblical, theological, and cultural principles of wellbeing.”

Wellbeing, the statement continues, is best understood when it is approached from a whole of life perspective that is consistent with the holistic embrace of life. In the Hebrew bible, health and wellbeing are presented as shalom,” reads the text. The Pacific churches since the 1960s have been at the forefront of confronting the modern Empires and addressing destructive political, economic, and social systems that deeply impact on the wellbeing of Pacific neighbours.”

The statement cites examples such as nuclear testing in French Polynesia; the climate crisis; violation of the rights of the first peoples of West Papua, New Caledonia, Tahiti, Guam and others; the issues of self-determination and militarisation; and land and deep-sea mining. All these issues have harmful consequences on the wellbeing of the people, land, ocean, and communities,” reads the statement. Life is multidimensional and an integration of inextricable relationships.”

The health of the whole depends on the health of individual parts, the statement notes.Wellbeing cannot be adequately measured or addressed one-dimensionally,” the text reads.

Full text: A COVID-19 Wellbeing Statement: Rethinking Health from a Theological and Pasifika Cultural Perspective.

Pacific Theological College