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By Bruce Mullan

Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma Conference

September 6th, 2012

Last week I attended the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma Conference (Bose Ko Viti). 

The Conference was held in the Centenary Church on 29th to 31st August 2012.  This was the first time the church has been allowed by the Interim Government to hold the conference since 2008. 

Approval for the Conference was issued with eight conditions that had to be observed prior and throughout the meeting.  The church was required to acknowledge these conditions and were told that “serious actions will be instituted if [the restrictions were] violated or contravened”.  The conditions for the conference to be stringently observed were:

  • the meeting should not coincide with the Hibiscus Festival which will be held from August 17-25:
  • the meeting is to be held for three days only;
  • the meeting is to be conducted on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday respectively;
  • the meeting is to be held from 8am to 8pm;
  • the meeting is to be confined to the Centenary Church premises;
  • the church matters only are to be discussed;
  • no political issues are to be discussed; and
  • no request of extension of time frame can be made during the meeting proper.

The permit also stated that no other activities are to be entertained such as the choir competition, erecting of stalls/bazaar or any form.

Prior to each session of the Conference General Secretary Rev Tuikilakila Waqairatu reminded people of the condition that no political issues were to be discussed.

Following elections, Rev Tuikilakila Waqairatu will be the new President of the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma.  Rev Tevita Nawadra was overwhelmingly appointed as the new General Secretary and current Davuilevu Theological College Principal Rev Dr Epineri Vakadewavosa will be Deputy General Secretary.  Former Suva Mayor Ratu Peni Volavola was elected as Assistant President.  The elected office holders will take up their appointments on 1 January 2013.

Rev Tuikilakila said the church would need to work positively with the government in the formulation of the new constitution and preparations towards the general election in 2014.  He said although the government had closed the doors from communicating with the church, he would look at other avenues to revisit leaders, to maintain relationships and continue positively forward.  He was also reported as having said that the Methodist Church will be working on strengthening its interfaith relationships.

Following the Conference on Sunday 2nd September an ordination service was held in the Centenary Church Suva for Misisters and Deaconesses.  Two deaconesses were ordained and 26 as Talatalas (ministers).  Seven of the 26 were women.

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