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Rev. Vakadewavosa Overcomes Church Constitutional Challenge On Age, Elected President Of Methodist Church in Fiji

Reverend Epineri Vakadewavosa overcame a constitutional challenge before he was re-elected as president of the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma yesterday. Some delegates to the church’s annual conference (Bose
20 Aug 2019 12:27
Rev. Vakadewavosa Overcomes Church Constitutional Challenge On Age, Elected President Of Methodist Church in Fiji
Methodist Church of Fiji and Rotuma President Rev. Dr. Epineri Vakadewavosa while presenting their financial report during the annual conference at Centenary Church on August 19, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Reverend Epineri Vakadewavosa overcame a constitutional challenge before he was re-elected as president of the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma yesterday.

Some delegates to the church’s annual conference (Bose ko Viti) at the Centenary Church in Suva questioned Reverend Vakadewavosa’s candidacy because he was over 70 years old. The lead minister (Talatala Qase) in the Rakiraki Division, Reverend Kitione Rokomalakalou, said he had questioned Reverend Vakadewavosa’s election and said it was not in line with the constitution.

The church’s constitution says all ministers (talatala) are to be reviewed at 65. When they turn 70, they are to retire.

But church lawyer Saimoni Valenitabua said the constitution was silent on the election of a minister over 70 years of age as church president.

The ministers went into a closed-door meeting in the afternoon to discuss whether the Reverend Vakadewavosa was eligible for election. They eventually agreed that he could stand and his name was one of the 339 ministers listed as candidates.

For church ministers to be eligible for the president’s post, they should have completed 10 years of service after ordination at the time of election to office. Their names automatically go into the ballot.

Mr Valenitabua said Reverend Vakadewavosa’s election was constitutional.

Reverend Vakadewavosa said after his election yesterday, said he was grateful to all the church ministers in all divisions for the faith they had in him.

He won just in the first count. If it was close there would have been a second count.

Reverend Vakadewavosa said he would continue in the same direction that he took when he was elected for the first time last year.

Debt-free

For the first time in its history, the church is debt-free. Reverend Vakadewavosa said in the beginning of 2019-2020 fiscal year they made a profit of $3 million.

“Let’s refrain from living in debt for it is very un-Christian. I am also calling on accountability and transparency in the handling of finances in divisions, circuits and churches. Let’s allow the church to grow  with good financial management.”

Edited by Naisa Koroi

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