Sunday, September 02, 2012

Ordination today

from w
It is good news that a large number of men and women today were ordained as ministers in the Methodist Church in Fiji including three from Indian cultural backgrounds and the list also including several women. Its a good sign for the future. From conversations with people recently it is clear that some of the churches are active and inclusive and joining in creative training programs such as in Nadi about one hundred people have taken part in the Emmaus Walk program. And good stories are coming out from Sigatoka and the Prem Methodist Church.  It's a pity that the head office doesn't yet have a website to immediately give us names and locations for the ordinands today. Well, perhaps in three months they'll go on-line with up to date news for us who are distant from the action.

 Passing on the baton- a lot of men have retired, after reaching seventy. Isa, these guys I knew as twenty-year olds when they were studying in Davuilevu. They're just a little bit younger than Peceli!

 In Fiji the candidates work in parishes before ordination unlike the Uniting Church in Australia where exit students may be ordained when they commence work in their first appointment, such as Rev Ikani Vaitohi, a Tongan, who is our minister at East Geelong Uniting Church where we are indeed blessed by his leadership and lovely family..

There a good interview on ABC radio Australia with Rev James Bhagwan about the process of ordination..

Though there already re some Fiji women as Methodist ministers such as the Rev Meraia, it is still hard to go against the patriachal structures and perceptions in Fiji.  Here's a story though about a courageous woman - from Monday's media:

6-year sacrifice pays

Torika Tokalau
Monday, September 03, 2012
FIJI needs more women to be church ministers.
Those were the words of newly-ordained Methodist Church minister Milika Sokidi.
Ms Sokidi, 31, who hails from Naitasiri, was one of seven women who were ordained with 18 other male ministers at the Centenary Church in Suva yesterday.
"It is not an easy calling, especially when you are a female but the heart of a woman is special," Ms Sokidi said.
"There is a difference with the way a man and a woman leads and I believe we need that special touch, the care and service of a woman in the church," she said.
Ms Sokidi completed three years of training at the Young Peoples Department in Davuilevu and three years as a lay preacher at the Nawaqavesi Circuit of the Ra Division to fulfil the criteria of ordination. After ordination, she returns to Nawaqavesi Circuit to lead a 179-member congregation.
"It was hard to change their mind-set at first. A woman is hardly seen as a minister in church and it was a huge challenge to change the way they looked at me," Ms Sokidi said.
"I did everything a man did. When they went to the plantation with cane knives to plant, I did the same thing. When men planned and led services, I did the same thing," she said.
"It has taken me years but they are realising that my calling is this. I am meant to be a minister and I will proudly lead my congregation and other lost souls out there into the kingdom of God."
Ms Sokidi encouraged young women who felt the calling of God in their lives to stay focused and listen to the Holy Spirit.
"It's taken me six years of hard work, sacrifice, patience and endurance to get to where I am and I couldn't have done it without God, my family and all those who have helped me in my journey.
"Stay focused and you will achieve what calling God has for you — that has been my motivation and I can't wait to go back to Ra," she said.

from Fiji Village yesterday afternoon:

6 women ordained into Methodist Church
Publish date/time: 02/09/2012 [17:07]
Reverend James Bhagwan and two other Indo Fijians were amongst the 27 Methodist Church ministers ordained at Centenary Church in Suva today.

These ministers have completed their six year services within the church.

Church President Reverend Ame Tugaue declared and blessed the ministers and deaconesses to set themselves to be examples to the people in the church, in work, in deeds, in love, and in faith in holiness.

Out of the 27 ministers six are women ministers and two deaconesses.

Meanwhile, the service today was to farewell the conference members and seventeen retired ministers who have reached 70 years.

This includes former church president Rev Tomasi Kanailagi, Rev Laisiasa Ratabacaca, Rev Ilaitia Sevati Tuwere and Rev Manasa Lasaro.

More than one thousand people witnessed the service.

Story by: Watisoni Butabua

And also:


Andrew Thornley said...

Dear Peceli and Wendy - That's a wonderful story about the ordination of Rev Sokidi and her words testify to a woman of great heart who will be a true blessing to the Methodist Church in Fiji.
Even though Rev Dr Tuwere is 70 and officially retired from the ministry in Fiji, he is still very much a spiritual leader of the Fijian community in Auckland and helped me considerably with precious commentaries on the John Hunt New Testament.
With Rev Dr Epineri's move to Epworth House - a position I believe he felt a strong call to some years ago, Davuilevu will need to find a new leader and let us hope that they choose one of a number of talented younger educators in the Fiji.
Rev James Bhagwan, once he completes his Masters Degree in Korea, will be of great value in many areas of ministry not the least being the long overdue establishment of a church website -as you have mentioned.
Two younger ministers currently in Doctoral training are Rev Jolame Lasawa (from the same village as Dr Tuwere) who is doing a Church History Degree at USP (his subject a history of the independent Fiji Methodist Church since 1964) and Rev Mereaia Votomosi who is studying at the United Theological College (part of CSU School of Theology). She is a Biblical Studies student with an excellent knowledge of Greek.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

I know Mereaia and she is a woman of deep spiritual commitment. We only catch up with her periodically. She was a child of 12 when Peceli started a Sunday School for Indian children in her Dad's house in Rakiraki and we were delighted when years later we met her again as a talatala in Labasa. Jolame's thesis should be interesting as much as happened since 1964, the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful. Lots of contradictions.