New leaders, new beginning, positive future for Fiji churches
On October 27, 2013 I was inducted as the new pastor of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Suva, Fiji Islands. The church comprises mostly of South Pacific islanders who are in Fiji for tertiary level education, a few Koreans, Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians, and of course the local i-Taukei (Fijians).
On October 27, 2013 I was inducted as the new pastor of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Suva, Fiji Islands. The church comprises mostly of South Pacific islanders who are in Fiji for tertiary level education, a few Koreans, Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians, and of course the local i-Taukei (Fijians). A lot has been going on and most regional students have returned to their home countries.
As pastor of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church I am also the moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Fiji. Being the moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Fiji, I am also the official representative of the church into the Fiji Council of Churches, and the Pacific Conference of Churches.
Last month a branch of the Fiji Council of Churches (ECREA – Ecumenical Centre for Research, Education, and Advocacy) facilitated an ecumenical workshop. Many church leaders from different denominations attended the workshop. Leaders from the Methodist Church, The Roman Catholic, Pentecostals, Assembly of Gods, Mormons, Seventh Day Adventist, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Baptists, Church of God, Church of Nazarene etc. came together to draw a framework that will eventuate into a legal document.
Other issues that were discussed during the workshop were the need for church leaders to make a strong commitment to the ecumenical movement in Fiji. It was identified that doctrinal differences is the main barrier that bars churches from accepting one another. Various representatives from different churches presented the fundamental theological doctrines of their churches for understanding and respect purposes from other churches. At the end of the three days symposium the churches agreed to disagree on certain issues, but coming together as one body of Christ is imperative for the sake of Christ body and nation of Fiji.
I also joined the Fiji Council of Churches as representative of the Presbyterian Church. The Fiji Council of Churches was established in the 1960’s to respond to the needs of the Christian churches in Fiji. Since then the council was predominantly operating under the leadership of the Methodist Church of Fiji (Fiji’s largest Christian denomination). In 2006, due to the Methodist Church’s involvement in politics, the military government halts every operational networking of both the Methodist Church and the Fiji Council of Churches. This year, after a lapse of almost 6 years, the Fiji Council of Churches was revitalized and is still in the process of getting back into full operation. The council met and it was agreed that the council must continue to have a prophetic voice in the political affairs of the nation, but it will not involve or mingle in the political affairs of the state. Everyone who is in the council, with the exception of one, is new. We agree to change the FCC constitution and make provisions for newly emerge churches to join, and also allow rooms for interfaith dialogue in the future.
Fiji as a nation still have some tough days ahead, but the church has taken the initiative of bringing the citizens of Fiji together irrespective of the race, religion, and language, and colour.
Please continue to pray for Fiji.