Church Split on Adultery Claims

  A  war of words erupted yesterday in the Bose ko Viti (annual conference) over adultery claims against Methodist Church ministers. Two motions introduced, seeking longer, harsher punishment, for offending
17 Aug 2016 11:39
Church Split on Adultery Claims
Methodist Church In Fiji


A  war of words erupted yesterday in the Bose ko Viti (annual conference) over adultery claims against Methodist Church ministers.

Two motions introduced, seeking longer, harsher punishment, for offending ministers, were defeated by a show of hands.

They were scoffed at by some delegates who felt the conference was the wrong forum to discuss it. They suggested they should be dealt with by the respective circuits.

One motion proposed lengthening the suspension period from five years to 10 years.

The second motion called for stripping the ministers found  guilty of their pastoral duties and responsibilities.

The current law of the church stated that any minister caught in act would be suspended for five years.

Speaking on the motion, the mover, Makoi Methodist Circuit minister, Reverend Semesa Sereicokocoko, said in iTaukei: “

Dua na leqa levu ni cakacaka vakai talatala sa i koya qo na yalewa. (One of the problems facing ministers in their work is women).”

Reverend Sereicokocoko said he knew of a church minister who allegedly fathered a child with another woman outside of marriage but he had died.

He said that no sin could be hidden from the eyes of God because it would eventually be exposed.

Reverend Sereicokocoko also claimed that a minister currently serving on one island had the same problem.

He then raised questions as to why the church appeared to be still condoning such serious breach of church rules and standards.

“I am pleading with the President of the Methodist Church to please look into this issue,” Reverend Sereicokocoko said.

Reverend Sereicokocoko said for two years he praised the number of women ordained as ministers during an ordination service.

He had then suggested that the church recruit more women ministers because he believed that men were more prone to sin.

However, Reverend Sereicokocoko said he was mistaken when he found out later that one of those women ordained was six months pregnant.

He also alleged that some students training to become ordained ministers at Davuilevu Theological College had been bringing in girls into their rooms.

“A taxi driver one day told me he has been feeling guilty because he knew one of the trainees at the theological college who brought a girl to his room at around 10pm and he had to pick her again at 3 in the morning,” Reverend Sereicokocoko said.

When objections were raised, he said if the debate continued he might have no choice but to start revealing the names of ministers that he knew were allegedly involved.

“I still don’t why the church is still condoning a minister who was caught in adultery and giving him posts when they know very well that woman is his problem,” Reverend Sereicokocoko said.

He said that the church needed to come out clean and stop sweeping such issues under the mat.

Reverend Sereicokocoko further argued that suspending offenders for five years was not enough and even if they were stripped off their status, it would not affect the church at all.

He further mentioned that a woman who allegedly owned up of having an affair with one of the ministers, mentioned in a letter written to the church that their spot for making love was at the theological college dormitory.

Davuilevu Theological College principal, Reverend Anil Reuben, defended the college against the allegations. He said it was inappropriate to raise such issues in the meeting.

Reverend Reuben said that the issues about some students bringing girls to their rooms had not been brought to his attention.

He said the rules of the college were strict and it didn’t condone such things.

Nausori Methodist Circuit minister, Reverend Jone Matanatabu opposed the motion to suspend the ministers for 10 years. He said it was a ‘demeaning’ way of punishing the ministers.

“Please let’s forgive them and let’s move forward, this is something that happened in the past. To bring it up again will only take us back as a church,” Reverend Matanatabu said.

“To suspend them for ten years is too much to handle even. Yes I know adultery is a serious issue but let’s forgive them because in the eyes of God we are all sinners and none of us sitting in this meeting is perfect,” he said.

Reverend Matanatabu said it was like sending them to jail.

“Let’s remember the story of the woman who was caught committing adultery in the Bible and how Jesus spoke to people who criticised her,” he said.

Reverend Matanatabu urged ministers at the meeting to look at the issue from a spiritual perspective.

“It is only through love, compassion and reconciliation that will enable us to forgive them,” he said.

In his closing statement, Reverend Sereicokocoko said it was true that we were all sinners but the issue discussed was the ministers who were committing the sin.

He said they were men of God who had made a vow in front of God and the church that they would keep the sacredness of the church.

Reverend Sereicokocoko said these ministers should be keeping the sacredness of a family and the role bestowed upon them.

“Five years suspension is not enough and I am urging the elders of the church to review this to ten years, the problem here is their lust for women.

“If we suspend them, our work will not be affected and this is a problem that has been happening in the past, it’s about time we talk about it and bring it out into the light and maintain God’s cleanliness and sacredness,” he said.

Edited by Naisa Koroi














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