If I can be a Ms Bossy-boots I would like to commend the Indian Division of the Fiji Methodist Church for getting their act together and do not feel the need for another Division meeting. All the Divisions already met earlier in the year anyway. Also the Indian Division people had finalised their soli (offering) already.
It must be remembered that there are different ways of financing the work of any church. Some use envelopes, weekly offerings, some have occasional fetes and activities which include donations, but another way which is the traditional Fijian way which is to give the donation by groups, not individuals, as part of a ceremonial occasion which includes choirs or meke groups. This is called a Solevu. The Fiji Methodist Church has for many years used this method during the annual conference which includes choirs, a fete, mekes, perhaps the laying of a memorial stone, an ordination ceremony, etc. It is a respectful celebration of being part of a group which is part of the wider Methodist community at the national level. The Fiji newspaper articles that keep on referring to 'fund-raising' do not explain these other aspects of the conference. To divide up the different aspects of the annual conference is to diminish its ongoing valued tradition.
The Annual Conference with representatives from clergy and lay people has certainly ordered to be cancelled, and the alternative suggested meetings will be quite inadequate. Instead of the annual meet being a time of catching up with friends plus singing plus soli plus prayer and discussions, it just won't work the way proposed. Will there be many people coming from USA and Australia and who will they sing to? How will their soli be given without the respectful ceremonies?
I am tired of the press releases that just talk about 'fund-raising' because that is an inadequate description of what occurs during the annual conference. Also it's obvious that the bias in some newspapers does not tell it all.
From Fiji Times today:
Methodist division won't fundraise
By UNAISI RATUBALAVU
Monday, August 17, 2009
The Indian Division of the Methodist Church will not have any fundraising or divisional meetings, says its superintendent Reverend William Lucas. He said they had already had their divisional meeting in May, and were also up to date with their levy to the church's headquarters.
"As you know, in May all the divisions held their meetings, and we had ours at Dilkusha and all our proposals and motions are at the church's headquarters," Mr Lucas said. "We don't need to fundraise as well because the church has managed to collect $27,000 from the $10 levy per head for this year's levy. This levy is given to the church's headquarters at Epworth House to help run its day-to-day activities..
Meanwhile, the Suva Division is expected to have it's (its) fundraising drive at Furnival Park in Toorak next Friday. Other divisions are yet to finalise their program. The government has given the green light to the church until October to hold it's (its) divisional meetings.
(Later: now the Solevu (traditional collection) will not be permitted!
One National News (Fiji TV)
Solevu cancelled 17 Aug 2009 04:23:30
The Solevu or gathering to collect funds that was to take place at different Methodist Church circuits is now cancelled. The decision was made by Government today after it says it discovered that the Church was planning to do other things that would have breached the condition of their permit. The Methodist Church has been informed of the decision. The Government says it will NOT entertain any more requests from the Church for any meetings or gatherings.
New Methodists granted permit for crusade
Publish date/time: 18/08/2009 [12:40]
The New Methodist Church has been granted a permit to hold its crusade in Suva next week. Head of the New Methodist Church Pastor Atu Vulaono confirmed that the permit to hold the crusade has been granted and they are looking forward to their program.
He said more than 20,000 church members are expected to be in Suva next week for the crusade.