Today there will be a Memorial Service at Centenary Methodist Church, Suva to give thanks for the life of the late Rev Inoke Nabulivou who died recently in Perth and his funeral was held also in Perth. Rev Paula Tekei here writes a tribute to the life of Rev Inoke.
So long talatala
Inoke Nabulivou was born in Levuka, Yale, Kadavu on November 21, 1934, where Semesa, his loving father, was exercising a lay pastoral ministry. Although he was a registered member of Dravuwalu Village, he grew up and spent most of his adolescent years at Nacomoto Village where his beloved mother came from. At Richmond School, Vunisea, Kadavu, he received his primary education and from there he was identified as a very bright and capable student.
In 1947 however, Nabulivou became a confirmed member (Siga Dina) of the Methodist Church. Subsequently in 1953, he was admitted as a lay preacher and after three years (1955), became a lay pastor (vakatawa).
He personally went through this spiritual discernment process with humility, dedication, sacrifice and deep devotion. He be-lieved that he heard God’s calling in his life and he nurtured a divine goal which he ultimately achieved in 1956, when he became a candidate to the Christian Ministry of the Methodist Mission in Fiji.
In 1958, however, the course was introduced at Davuilevu Methodist Theological College in which Alan R. Tappet, M.A. (later) Phd., FLC., was the Principal.
Inoke Nabulivou and his good friend Panapasa Vakatutusa, of Fulaga Island, Lau, were meritoriously selected to come to study at Wesley College, Adelaide, Aust-ralia. Both of them successfully completed their course and became the first students of the Davuilevu College to have passed the LTh Examination.
One year before the Methodist Church in Fiji became a separate conference, Inoke Nabulivou positively affirmed his divine calling and was finally ordained as a Christian Church Minister with the Methodist Church mission in Fiji on July 18, 1963. In the course of his Christian ministry, Rev. Inoke Nabulivou was confidently entrusted by the church with various substantive responsibilities e.g. Circuit minister, Bible School Principal, Administrator, Christian Edu-cator, Literature Co-rdinator, Curriculum Development Officer and Leader. From 1980-1983, furthermore, he became the Chief Pastor (Qase Levu) of the Methodist Church in Fiji. During his exemplary leadership as the Chief Pastor of the Church he positively displayed in all circumstances the substance of the purpose of the church mission, the importance of the people and the sovereignty of God. In his capacity as the President, he was able to participate distinctively in ecumenical movements of the universal church. However, in 1985 after being the Secretary of the Church for almost two years, he emigrated to Perth where he exercised a pastoral ministry.
Because of his love of ethnic Fijian congregation, he applied to work for the Fiji Parish in Sydney for 4 years (1994-1998). When his term expired from the Fiji Parish, he became the Minister for the Sydney Presbytery for two years.
Rev. Nabulivou was the first honorary President of the Ethnic Fijian Conference of the Uniting Church in Australia. He was not only a lifetime devoted minister of the church, but also a wonderful father. He married Lillian Pearson of Perth, Australia, and they had three children (now all adults) Noelene, Anne, Steven and grandchildren.
I remember Rev. Nabulivou as a very magnificent gentleman by any standard. An unsung peace maker and reconciler for the Kingdom and was well-liked by many people for the simplicity of his sermon and teaching. A man who well understood the church and took advantage of the Fijian and Western ethos and diplomatically and tactfully weaved them in his ministry for the sole advancement of God’s Kingdom.
Rev. Nabulivou profoundly understood and effectively practised the theology of a multicultural church and throughout his life and ministry strongly opposed the practice of bigotry, male chauvinism, racism, discrimination, the exploitation of the voicele-ss, the poor and the peddling of the Gospel to innocent followers. He was always positive, approachable, honest, credible, trustworthy and spiritual in his leadership and consciously maintained a clear demarcation between the traditional system and the church.
Rev. Nabulivou was deeply convinced that for the church leadership to heavily rely on the political and traditional power structures for its mission and service is an act of denial of God’s power and sovereignty. Unfo-rtunately, Christian churches have lost a genuine and faithful pastor, preacher, educator, counsellor, evangelist and a church leader in all its true sense. Obviously, his loving wife, children and grandchildren will miss him tremendously. Inevitably, Rev. Inoke Nabu-livou, the true Ambassador of God's Kingdom has humbly and peacefully responded to the ultimate Divine call “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things…. Come and share your master’s happiness” (Matt.25:21)