Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A welcome and farewell church service

Methodist Church president Reverend Ame Tugaue, left, and general secretary Reverend Tuikilakila Waqairatu at last night's church service. Picture: ATU RASEA

from w
It's rather unique, but that's Fiji of course. Last night the Methodist folk in Suva had an interesting evening - a welcome to delegates and a farewell to delegates at the conference that wasn't a conference. And two of the clergy with 'difficulties' were there.
from Fiji Times today:
Padres stay

Timoci Vula And Mary Rauto
Wednesday, August 24, 2011

THE Methodist Church decided to keep its leadership - including president Reverend Ame Tugaue and general secretary Reverend Tuikilakila Waqairatu - for another three years. After accepting the State's cancellation of the permit for the three-day conference that was scheduled to begin in Suva yesterday, the church was allowed to induct 11 executives in a special service last night. Church acting general secretary Reverend Tevita Banivanua said the church was thankful for permission to have last night's service.

Republic of Fiji Military Forces Land Force Commander Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga, at a press briefing yesterday, revealed why the conference was cancelled following a meeting with Mr Waqairatu, Mr Banivanua and Reverend Apete Toko at the Queen Elizabeth Barracks on Monday night.

He said former church president, Reverend Josateki Koroi, was also personally approached but "said he was not ready to attend that meeting". "We had a lot of give and take, and take all sides of the meeting to make sure no political agenda was brought to the meeting," Col Tikoitoga said.

He said the meeting would allow for a platform to negotiate on the conference proper with a fair range of senior reverends, and also address the continued involvement of Mr Waqairatu and Mr Tugaue.

Col Tikoitoga said the two must step down because they faced charges for breaching the Public Emergency Regulation (PER).

He said the church executives disagreed with that and maintained a person remained innocent until proven guilty.

"Reverend Ame Tugaue was willing to step down but Reverend Tuikilakila Waqairatu refused.

"We ended the meeting with no clear direction so we cancelled the meeting altogether," Col Tikoitoga said.

"We do sympathise with them (followers) deeply but we have to do this for the sake of the people in Fiji.

"The general public must be made aware that the Government has the right to issue or withdraw a permit. We thought it was the right thing to do.

"I must also say that politics is still very rife in the Methodist Church, some politicians at the helm of the church still haven't recognised the Government or the Prime Minister.

"Some reverends are working very hard to bridge this gap," Col Tikoitoga said, adding it was the politically-motivated few in the hierarchy of the church that were "disrupting the forward movement of the church."

Unless that changed, he said there would be no "forward movement".

Col Tikoitoga said given that it was a church, it was the morality of the position that should have counted more.

"That's where we were coming from, you can't have an accused person leading the conference," he said.

He said Government had "exhausted all its avenues" and now the onus was on the church to decide on its next move.

Suva Circuit Minister Reverend Sakaraia Koli, in his message at the church service last night, apologised to the 1000 delegate members if they were disappointed that things did not turn out as planned.

He thanked them for coming and told them to thank God for whatever difficult situations they faced.
And on another issue, there's a need for a forgiveness process to take place in regard to something that happened many years ago when there was a kind of coup within the church and much unpleasantness towards Rev Josateki Koroi, who is now aged eighty and standing firm and preaching strongly. One of his sermons is quoted in a blog by Discombulated Bubu. Always an individual thinker, Jo.

Church vows to clean up
Mary Rauto
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
ONE religious denomination has taken it upon themselves to clean their house.
Methodist Church assistant secretary Reverend Tevita Nawadra said since the overthrow of former church president Reverend Josateki Koroi in 1989, there had never been a reconciliation.
"The Methodist Church has been troubled by what happened in its history in 1989 there was a church coup, where the president was removed from office," he said.
"From then on we have been trying to go through reconciliation.
"We feel that what is happening now in the church might be a good time to look at what is wrong because we have not cleansed ourselves properly from our past sins.
"That is needed to be done."
Mr Nawadra said while some of the ministers involved have passed on, Mr Koroi and Reverend Manasa Lasaro were still around.
"It would be a good thing to see them come to a reconciliation relationship before they go on ahead or we might go first," he said.
"That's our hope that we will try to do that.
"The plan of that is not with us right now but we will talk about that later on."


Anonymous said...

What is the military regime talking about.Have they gone bersek and its evident now they are feeling insecure and scared of the church and its talatala .What on earth are they talking about by stoping the meeting for the betterment of the people of Fiji.Huh! bunch of liars and tupid idiots.What happen to Neumi Leweni he cant handle the pressure and passed it on to another hypocrite and non beleiver Tikoitoga.YOU GUYS FRANK AND CRONNIES THE WRATH OF GOD IS COMING YOUR WAY NOW.

Anonymous said...

By not allowing the Conference to go ahead and therefore an election of offices, the same people retain their positions. If the Conference went ahead, different and perhaps younger men and women may have been elected.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Now a real over-reaction as reported in Fiji Village.
All Methodist church meetings banned-Police
Publish date/time: 26/08/2011 [08:01]

All official Methodist Church meetings in the country have been banned.

That is the Government directive relayed to all the Chief Stewards that gathered at Epworth Hall yesterday.

Police Director Operations SSP Rusiate Tudravu said more than 50 stewards wanted to find a solution to the differences that have transpired between the Church and the Government due to the cancellation of the Conference.

He added that the Government has assured them that a solution will be found in due course, however, they have been told to relay to their congregation that all meetings within the Church will now be banned and that no Church Minister will be allowed to leave the country.

Story by: William Waqavakatoga and Selina Navuso

Andrew Thornley said...

A police permit to hold a choir practice? That's a bit off key!

Anonymous said...

The Uniting church in Australia has responded with a piece in Uniting World, and the ABC Radio with an interview entitled 'Australia's Uniting Church may re-think attitude towards Fiji.'