A letter to the editor of the Fiji Times today is pertinent - that the Methodist Church in Fiji does need to be modernised and reorganise somewhat to be stewards of the finances. Decentralization would work better than too much emphasis on Suva headquarters. And make use of the well-educated men and women of middle years instead of the elderly. Okay, old people may have wisdom - at times - but these days the church does need IT literate people to modernise many areas of concern, the use of emails, blogs, websites, also focus on youth instead of he same old, same old.... such as four part harmony in choir music, men talking loud in long sermons. On the other hand they do accept women as leaders - the rare kind as a talatala like wonderful Meraia, and Deaconesses. I did read that eight positions are being made redundant because of finances, secretaries I think. Still not sure if they've got permission for the Conference for August, police not making it clear as yet. But they need more than three days - because reports from the schools and institutions etc. need to be looked at. Citizenship issues and human rights I guess are not on the agenda.
I commend the Methodist Church Assistant Secretary General Reverend Nawadra for the austerity measures and structural reforms proposed for the Methodist Church to cut cost as published in the Fiji Times (FT 4/7).
The Methodist Church has become too large a bureaucracy and a burden to members to sustain financially.
The initiative proposed is not only timely but necessary to modernize the church structure to a leaner, more efficient and cost effective institution in terms of the delivery of its core spiritual and developmental functions.
Such social development interventions by the church, which it has been doing over the years, could do much more to assist Government fight against reducing social problems and poverty which is now becoming the most serious problem with 45% of the people in Fiji living in poverty; the majorities are rural iTaukei and are members of the Methodist Church.
I hope that the budget cut from $3.47 million to $2.9 million is only the beginning of such review by the church and should also include the cost of running the Divisional Circuits (Wasewase), the District Circuits (Tabacakacaka) and the village circuits (Koro-Vakatawa) and their efficacy.
The $2.9 million is an understatement of the cost of operations of the Methodist Church because this is only for headquarters operations but the majority of the costs incurred by members are at the above levels.
Again I applaud Reverend Nawadra's vision and look forward to see a modern and progressive Methodist Church with a new sense of direction; a church that is lean, cost effective and to becoming self financing and truthful to its primary core function to promote the spiritual development of members and not the operations of the church institution.