Thursday, July 30, 2009
After weeks of standoffs the Methodist Church in Fiji has given in and will take a delegation to Rewa to announce that the Conference will not take place. Many people will be disappointed about the huge choir competition being off. Last year I enjoyed watching some of the choirs and especially appreciated one group of singers which included handicapped people. Singing in harmony together - like the Choir of Hard Knocks - raise the spirits indeed.
Do people get their money back on the cancellation of ferry tickets, plane tickets, bookings? Of course the fund-raising can continue as the generous supporters will still donate to help with next year's budget. Nadi Methodists have raised $200,000 as their gift. And people can still watch and pray.
Publish date/time: 31/07/2009 [17:08] from Fiji Village website
The Methodist Church Standing Committee has just finished its meeting at Epworth House in Suva, and decided that the Annual Church Conference will not be held this year. Church Assistant General Secretary Reverend Tevita Nawadra said a delegation of church ministers who are members of the standing committee are expected to go to Rewa tomorrow. Reverend Nawadra said the committee members will make a traditional presentation to Burebasaga high chief Ro Teimumu Kepa to inform her that the annual conference is officially cancelled.
The delegation will be led by former Methodist Church President and head of the Nadi Church Circuit Reverend Laisiasa Ratabacaca.
Ratabacaca also chaired today's Standing Committee meeting. Today's Standing Committee meeting took place minus the senior church executives who were last week charged for allegedly breaching the Public Emergency Regulation.
Reverend Tevita Nawadra said earlier today that they had a meeting with the Prime Minister and members of the Military Council this week, where they assured them that the standing committee will discuss the options to replace the format of the Church conference. The permit was granted based on these discussions. Reverend Nawadra said during their discussions with Bainimarama and the Military Council, they have also assured them of their support in the government's efforts to take the country forward.
(added Saturday) The Fiji Times adds some explanations of how the church will be able to manage some of the business in the coming months.
By TIMOCI VULA
Saturday, August 01, 2009
THE Methodist Church has decided not to go ahead with its annual conference this year. This was confirmed to the Fiji Times yesterday by church assistant general secretary Reverend Tevita Banivanua. This is the second time the annual conference has been put on hold, the first following the coup in 1987.
Former church president Reverend Laisiasa Ratabacaca will lead a seven-member standing committee delegation to officially inform the vanua of Rewa, which was to have hosted the conference.
Mr Banivanua said the church will now expand the current 32-member standing committee to include all heads of the 53 divisions to discuss issues usually tabled at the annual conference. "We have only two legal frameworks that approve decisions for the church - the standing committee and the annual conference. Since there will be no conference, we have no choice but to expand the standing committee," he said.
The expanded standing committee will meet according to the scheduled dates of the conference this month. "The choir competition and soli will be held in various divisions," Mr Banivanua said. He said the decision to cancel the conference stemmed from directives from the State and the fact that church ministers were being arrested for breaching the public emergency regulation.
"It even went to the extent where the voice of the church was prohibited from being highlighted in the newspapers and airwaves, for instance our radio programme Raici Jisu Matua that airs every Sunday on Radio Fiji One," he said. "This is why the church decided to hold back on this year's conference."
Church executives met State officials on Tuesday in a "cordial meeting" which agreed to reintroduce the church's Sunday radio programme.
Without the conference, Mr Banivanua, said the church's coffers would suffer. He said the church collects about $800,000 at its annual conference. "That will be revised downwards significantly and the onus will on the members for their support," Mr Banivanua said. "We will also be doing some tightening of our budget for the programmes funded by the church." He said members from the US and Australia, invited to open and close the conference, would still come to participate in the choir competition and offer their soli. "We live by faith and believe God will find other ways to achieve what we want to achieve," Mr Banivanua said.