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Vatanitawake Speaks out against Church Practices

The oldest retired minister of the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma has spoken out on some of the practices of the Church. Eighty-six year old, Reverend Pauliasi Vatanitawake said
22 Aug 2016 09:06
Vatanitawake Speaks out against Church Practices
Reverend Pauliasi Vatanitawake, 86, at the Bose Ko Viti in Suva. Photo: Paulini Ratulailai

The oldest retired minister of the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma has spoken out on some of the practices of the Church.

Eighty-six year old, Reverend Pauliasi Vatanitawake said the church should not condone practices that would affect the role of the church.

However, he also commended church ministers for airing out their views during the one week Bose Ko Viti (annual general meeting) in Centenary Church last week.

He said some of the issues raised during the Bose Ko Viti didn’t happen during his time as a minister of the Methodist church.

Reverend Vatanitawake said the problem with ministers of the Church nowadays was the over consumption of kava.

“The time that should be spent on prayer and fasting is spent on drinking kava. Every church minister within the church should spend more time in prayer and fasting.

“I think the church should prohibit its ministers from drinking kava in its entire programme,” he said.

Reverend Vatanitawake said during his time consumption of kava was not common in the Methodist church’s programme.

“I have served within the church for more than 60 years and if I am invited to an event where kava drinking is involved, I will only have two bowls.

“That is the reason why I am still alive at the age of 86 and maybe it is kava consumption that has led to the death of many church ministers today,” he said.

Reverend Vatanitawake said that spiritual and physical health should go together.

He said prayer and fasting should be a common practice within the Church; every church minister should begin and end their day with Lord.

Reverend Vatanitawake also opposed the decision by the Church to discuss the cremation of bodies of Methodist church members, instead of burial.

The motion was brought up by Fiji Corrections Service chaplain, Reverend Josefa Tikonaitabua.

“Never in my lifetime during my years as church minister have I heard such motion to be brought up in the Bose Ko Viti.

“I don’t support this idea and even if God calls me tomorrow, I will stand by my decision, cremation is against our Christian values and I don’t know who came up with this idea,” he said.

Reverend Vatanitawake said the Bose Ko Viti was not the platform to discuss such issues.

“I am asking the President of the Methodist Church to please reconsider any decision they will make with this issue,” he said.

Reverend Vatanitawake labeled some motions brought before the Bose Ko Viti as ‘childish’ and had left him speechless.

He thanked the church for conducting the meeting for a week rather than two weeks like in the previous years and some of the decisions made by the church President.

Reverend Vatanitawake said he used to ride horses as a mode of transport when he was minister for the church.

“Now they have cars and good houses but before we used walk miles from one village to another spreading the Gospel, I did this when I serving villages within the highlands of Viti Levu.

“We used to receive our stipend at the end of three months, it would be $10, but we never complained and carried on our work with humility,” he said.

Several calls were made to the Church’s secretary for communication, Reverend James Bhagwan, but his mobile phone was switched off.

Edited by Maraia Vula

Feedback:  arieta.vakasukawaqa@fijisun.com.fj

 

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