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Revealed: Methodist Church Clergy Vie For Rich Circuits

When a minister gets his posting, he is provided accommodation by the division members. He gets a decent fully furnished house with free water and electricity and in some cases, some luxuries are thrown in like Sky Pacific TV.
22 Aug 2019 12:47
Revealed: Methodist Church Clergy Vie For Rich Circuits
From left: Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma general secretary Reverend Ili Vunisuwai, president Reverend Epineri Vakadewavosa and vice president Ratu Peni Volavola during their annual conference at Centenary Church on August 20, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Methodist Church ministers (talatala) vie to be posted to rich divisions that pay them more, it has been disclosed.

Church secretary, Reverend Ili Vunisuwai, confirmed yesterday that members paid their ministers’ salary in their respective divisions.

He clarified that church headquarters did not pay for the salaries

“There are rich and poor divisions,” he said.

He revealed that senior ministers received about $11,000 per year and the others receive from $7000 to $8000 per year as their basic pay determined by the church.

It is the prerogative of the divisions to increase the salary, and provide other perks as part of the package.

“They also decide when their ministers get a pay rise,” he said.

When a minister gets his posting, he is provided accommodation by the division members. He gets a decent fully furnished house with free water and electricity and in some cases, some luxuries are thrown in like Sky Pacific TV.

In the richer divisions, the members also buy a vehicle for their minister.

Members hold their talatala in high regard and make sure they are comfortable because they serve the people seven days a week.

Ministers also receive financial benefits when they’re invited to officiate in ceremonies like weddings, deaths, birthdays, the christening of newborn babies and house warming ceremonies to name a few.

A senior minister who wanted to remain anonymous said for them, they wanted to serve in rich divisions to wait for their retirement.

He said the Nawaka Division in Nadi was rich as many members were working in hotels and hotel owners helped out too.

“Other church divisions where they have hotels are rich.”

Ministers, he said, were invited to officiate at wedding ceremonies for tourists and other hotel activities.

“They are paid good money for their services to hotels,” he said.

He said he had served in many divisions.

Reverend Vunisuwai said while the church divisions paid for their ministers, the church was preparing for the church university college and the improvements of the four colleges –  Davuilevu Theological College (DTC), Methodist Lay Training Centre (MLTC), Navuso Agricultural Technical College, Deaconess Training College and all church primary and secondary schools.

The church, he said, also looked after the main headquarters and its staff.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

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