Milton Ulladulla Uniting Church is proud to announce it has welcomed a new reverend to the area.
Reverend Simaima Tuiono was inducted into the local congregation at a service, held at the Ulladulla Uniting Church, on Saturday, January 18.
More than 80 people including representatives from the Anglican Church, Baptist Church, Illawarra Presbytery, council, Milton-Ulladulla congregation and Ms Tuiono's family were there to share in the start of her journey in the district.
During the ceremony Ms Tuiono and her family surprised the congregation with a song sung in Tongan. Also, Ms Tuiono said it was the first time she had heard the Welcome to Country, performed by Phil Butler, in an Aboriginal language.
It is also Ms Tuiono's first placement since she was ordained. She was supposed to arrive on New Year's Day, but Milton Ulladulla Uniting Church chairperson Fay Kastelein requested she delay her start due to the bushfires.
Ms Tuiono hails from Tonga, but was living in Sydney. She has moved to the district with her daughter and son. They leave a lot of family behind in the city, but are enjoying the hospitality of the area after the "big change".
"I love the area, not just the environment, but the people," she said.
"We've been sitting on our deck and people wave to us. People are friendly."
Upon seeing Ulladulla Harbour for the first time, Ms Tuiono said it reminded her of her home island, Vava'u, in Tonga.
"It's exactly like the harbour there. Except the fishing boats [in Ulladulla], they would be used to take you to the main island."
Reverend Tuiono held her first service in Ulladulla on Sunday. She is now keen to continue her mission work in the community welcoming bushfire-affected victims to come and talk if needed.
"That's what I'm here for," she said.
Milton Ulladulla Uniting Church will host the official opening of its church and outreach centre extensions on Saturday, February 15 at 2pm.