from Peceli, Vinaka vakalevu. They have performed the correct protocol in going to Lomanikoro, Rewa, to the Roko Tui Dreketi and the vanua of Rewa. The church is privileged to have back-up men like Rev Laisiasa and Rev Tevita to lead this group and to have the right approach. We hope and pray that good arrangements can be made for the future. The cancellation of the Methodist Conference was like a tsunami but we don't want anyone hurt.
From the Fiji Times: God's willBy TIMOCI VULA
Sunday, August 02, 2009
Members of the Methodist Church delegation led by former president Reverend Laisiasa Ratabacaca, third from left, ride across the Rewa River to Lomanikoro Village yesterday.
IN a solemn pilgrimage across the Rewa River, senior Methodist ministers made a traditional approach to the chiefly host of their 2009 annual conference to announce its cancellation yesterday.
Led by former church president Reverend Laisiasa Ratabacaca, the 11-man delegation made a presentation for Rewa to accept the church's decision made on Friday.
"It was a difficult task for the church to convey this message to the vanua of Rewa and it was also difficult for the Marama Roko Tui Dreketi (Ro Teimumu Kepa) to accept," church assistant general secretary Reverend Tevita Banivanua told the Fiji Times.
"But we're strengthened by God's word when He said: 'For when I am weak, then I am strong' (2 Corinthians 12:10)."
He said there were two ways to deal with the State's decision not to allow the conference - to be confrontational, which the church did not want to be seen as, or be humble.
"That is God's will," he said.
"The challenge is huge. When it is God's will, he will surely open many other doors in the future."
Mr Banivanua said the delegation informed Ro Teimumu of the decision and highlighted reasons such as the recent arrest of clergymen, including hers. "We kindly informed her that the church was mindful of what the consequences could be for the whole of Fiji if this meeting was to go ahead."
Mr Banivanua said the cancellation of the conference was not a loss for the church. Its humble approach, he said, meant victory because "God will triumph at the end of the day".
He said the vanua Rewa had accepted this decision since it only awaited the voice of the church.
"We thank the vanua of Rewa for their initiative to approach the church to host the conference, which was confirmed in 2006, 2007 and again in 2008.
"Their forefathers had not fully adored Christianity and this was their opportunity, this was their time, which was why they approached the church."
"But there is always hope for another time provided by God," he said.
Ro Teimumu is currently bound by strict bail conditions, which means she would not be able to call for any meetings to inform her people of this decision.
Mr Banivanua will make a formal announcement to all members through the church's Sunday programme Raici Jisu Matua on Radio Fiji One today.
He will officially inform church president Reverend Ame Tugaue and general secretary Reverend Tuikilakila Waqairatu (of the meeting with Ro Teimumu) tomorrow, after which immediate arrangements for its standing committee meeting would follow.
The 32-member standing committee will be expanded to include heads of the church's 53 divisions who will discuss issues of the church this month on the scheduled date of the annual conference.