FIJI NEWS

CHURCH – Retired clerics free to choose: Bhagwan

ANA SOVARAKI suva The Methodist Church in Fiji has clarified it has no say on retired church ministers who wished to participate in political rallies and elections campaigns. Secretary for
05 Aug 2014 08:22

Reverend Manasa Lasaro (left), and SODELPA leader Ro Teimumu Kepa. Photo: Paulini Ratulailai

ANA SOVARAKI
suva

The Methodist Church in Fiji has clarified it has no say on retired church ministers who wished to participate in political rallies and elections campaigns.
Secretary for communications for the church, Reverend James Bhagwan said the church’s stand was those holding official appointments in the church must resign if they wished to go into active politics.
“Once church ministers retire they become something known as supernumerary meaning they no longer have any official appointments in the church,” Reverend Bhagwan said.
General Secretary of the church, Reverend Tevita Banivanua had earlier stated that the church should distance itself from politics and focus on its pastoral responsibilities.
He said this had always been embedded in the church’s code of conduct but there were those in the past that had used their position and had politicised the church.
Reverend Banivanua had also clarified church halls were allowed to be hired for public events but discouraged the church from getting politically involved in events held in their facilities.
Former church leader and retired minister Reverend Manasa Lasaro was present at a Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) campaign at the Nawanawa Methodist Church in Nasinu Last Saturday.
Fiji Sun visited Reverend Lasaro’s home twice in attempt to interview the former church president but was informed by his wife that he would not make any comments.
The former general secretary of the church was amongst a number of church ministers who were part of the Nationalist Movement prior to the 1987 coup.
Reverend Lasaro was also a key figure in organizing nationwide protests during December 1998 over the relaxation of the Sunday Observance Decree.
In 1995, he had also organized marches throughout Fiji, after the government of Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka announced plans to annul the Sunday ban on secular activities.
Manasa Lasaro continues to have influence within the Methodist church.

Feedback: ana.sovaraki@fijisun.com.fj




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