New Methodist leader: Church must adapt to secular state

The newly elected president of Fiji’s Methodist Church says the church needs to be more realistic about modern day Fiji.

The Reverend Tevita Nawadra Banivanua, believes the church has prepared itself to work in a secular state nation as set out in the Constitution.

Nawadra was elected the church’s president on Monday.

He told the Fiji Times,”The secular state is here. The church should prepare itself because it is here already, it is legally binding. The church’s mission is to prepare itself to live in it.”

“The church should brace itself for this so we won’t be caught by surprise. We want to be with the law. If the law says it is a secular state, we will abide by that.”

“We have always been a law abiding church and whatever law prevails in our country that we are guided by, we will accept it that way.”

After the 2006 coup, Methodist Church activities and meetings were curtailed after the church’s strong criticism of the military regime.
Mr Banivanua is married to Jiajiana Bale Banivanua and they have six children.

He holds a Diploma in Theology from Davuilevu Theological College (1977), Bachelor of Divinity from the Pacific Theological College (1980) and gained a Masters of Arts in from Lancaster University’s Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion in the United Kingdom (1997).

He has served as a minister in the Methodist Church of Great Britain and was the General Secretary of the South Pacific Association of Theological Schools for more than a decade.

He became deputy general secretary in 2009, during a difficult time for the church in the midst of Fiji’s political crisis.

He began his appointment as General Secretary of the Church in 2013.

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News category: Asia Pacific.

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