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Methodist Church of Fiji and Rotuma

Methodist Church of Fiji and Rotuma

Overview
The Methodist Church of Fiji
Fiji
Fiji , officially the Republic of Fiji , is an island nation in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about northeast of New Zealand's North Island...

 and Rotuma
Rotuma
Rotuma is a Fijian dependency, consisting of Rotuma Island and nearby islets. The island group is home to a small but unique indigenous ethnic group which constitutes a recognizable minority within the population of Fiji, known as "Rotumans"...

is the largest Christian denomination in Fiji
Fiji
Fiji , officially the Republic of Fiji , is an island nation in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about northeast of New Zealand's North Island...

, with 36.2 percent of the total population (including 66.6 percent of indigenous Fijians
Fijian people
Fijian people are the major indigenous people of the Fiji Islands, and live in an area informally called Melanesia. The Fijian people are believed to have arrived in Fiji from western Melanesia approximately 3,500 years ago, though the exact origins of the Fijian people are unknown...

) at the 1996 census
Census
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...

. Of the 280,628 persons identifying themselves as Methodists, 261,972 were indigenous Fijians, 5,432 were Indo-Fijians (1.6 percent of all ethnic Indians), and 13,224 were from other ethnic communities.

Along with the chiefly system
Ratu
Ratu is a title used by Fijians of chiefly rank. An equivalent title, Adi is used by females of chiefly rank.-Etymology:Ra is a prefix in many titles and Tu is simply "chief"...

, the Methodist Church forms a key part of Fiji's social power structure.
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Encyclopedia
The Methodist Church of Fiji
Fiji
Fiji , officially the Republic of Fiji , is an island nation in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about northeast of New Zealand's North Island...

 and Rotuma
Rotuma
Rotuma is a Fijian dependency, consisting of Rotuma Island and nearby islets. The island group is home to a small but unique indigenous ethnic group which constitutes a recognizable minority within the population of Fiji, known as "Rotumans"...

is the largest Christian denomination in Fiji
Fiji
Fiji , officially the Republic of Fiji , is an island nation in Melanesia in the South Pacific Ocean about northeast of New Zealand's North Island...

, with 36.2 percent of the total population (including 66.6 percent of indigenous Fijians
Fijian people
Fijian people are the major indigenous people of the Fiji Islands, and live in an area informally called Melanesia. The Fijian people are believed to have arrived in Fiji from western Melanesia approximately 3,500 years ago, though the exact origins of the Fijian people are unknown...

) at the 1996 census
Census
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...

. Of the 280,628 persons identifying themselves as Methodists, 261,972 were indigenous Fijians, 5,432 were Indo-Fijians (1.6 percent of all ethnic Indians), and 13,224 were from other ethnic communities.

Along with the chiefly system
Ratu
Ratu is a title used by Fijians of chiefly rank. An equivalent title, Adi is used by females of chiefly rank.-Etymology:Ra is a prefix in many titles and Tu is simply "chief"...

, the Methodist Church forms a key part of Fiji's social power structure. As of September 2006, its President is Rev. Laisiasa Ratabacaca, while Rev. Ame Tugaue serves as General Secretary. The Vice-President is Ratu Peni Volavola
Peni Volavola
Captain Ratu Peni Volavola is the Lord Mayor of the Fijian capital of Suva.Volavola, a Councillor representing the Tamavua ward, was elected Lord Mayor in 2003, under a memorandum of understanding between of his United Fiji Party and the National Federation Party of his predecessor, Chandu...

, who is also Lord Mayor
Lord Mayor
The Lord Mayor is the title of the Mayor of a major city, with special recognition.-Commonwealth of Nations:* In Australia it is a political position. Australian cities with Lord Mayors: Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin, Hobart, Melbourne, Newcastle, Parramatta, Perth, Sydney, and Wollongong...

 of Suva
Suva
Suva features a tropical rainforest climate under the Koppen climate classification. The city sees a copious amount of precipitation during the course of the year. Suva averages 3,000 mm of precipitation annually with its driest month, July averaging 125 mm of rain per year. In fact,...

, Fiji's capital.

The 2006 coup d'état


The Methodist Church strongly condemned the coup d'état
2006 Fijian coup d'état
The Fijian coup d'état of December 2006 occurred as a continuation of the pressure which had been building since the military unrest of the 2000 Fijian coup d'état and 2005-2006 Fijian political crisis....

 carried out by the Republic of Fiji Military Forces
Military of Fiji
The Republic of Fiji Military Forces are the military of the Pacific island nation of Fiji. With a total manpower of 3,500 active soldiers and 6,000 reservists, it is one of the smallest militaries in the world. However, most of its surrounding island nations have no militaries at all...

 on 5 December 2006. The church issued a 20-point statement on 2 February 2007 analyzing the various factors in the coup, including the actions of the Military Commander, Commodore
Commodore (rank)
Commodore is a military rank used in many navies that is superior to a navy captain, but below a rear admiral. Non-English-speaking nations often use the rank of flotilla admiral or counter admiral as an equivalent .It is often regarded as a one-star rank with a NATO code of OF-6, but is not always...

 Frank Bainimarama
Frank Bainimarama
Commodore Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, CF, MSD, OStJ, Fijian Navy, known commonly as Frank Bainimarama and sometimes by the chiefly title Ratu , is a Fijian naval officer and politician. He is the Commander of the Fijian Military Forces and, as of April 2009, Prime Minister...

, to depose and reinstate President
President of Fiji
The President of the Republic of Fiji is the head of state of Fiji. The President was appointed by the Great Council of Chiefs for a five-year term under the terms of the now-suspended 1997 constitution. The Great Council of Chiefs is constitutionally required to consult the Prime Minister, but...

 Ratu Josefa Iloilo
Josefa Iloilo
Ratu Josefa Iloilovatu Uluivuda, CF, MBE, MSD, KStJ was the President of Fiji from 2000 until 2009, excluding a brief period from 5 December 2006 until 4 January 2007 . He held the traditional title of Tui Vuda, the paramount chief of the Vuda district in Ba Province on Fiji's northwest coast...

, dismiss the Cabinet
Cabinet (Fiji)
Fiji has the Westminster system - executive authority is vested nominally in a President, but exercised in practice by a Cabinet of Ministers, presided over by the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is formally appointed, but not chosen, by the President: the President must appoint as Prime...

, and dissolve the Parliament, all of which it said were legally actionable. The statement called on Bainimarama to resign as interim Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Fiji
The Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji is the head of government of Fiji. The Prime Minister was appointed by the President under the terms of the now-suspended 1997 constitution....

 to allow a "politically neutral" interim cabinet to be formed, comprising respected citizens. The Church also called for the 86-year old President Iloilo, who has publicly condoned the actions of the Military, to be "medically boarded" and, if necessary, "retired with dignity." http://www.fijilive.com/news/show/news/2007/02/02/02Fijilive14.html

While condemning the coup, the statement stopped short of calling for the deposed government to be reinstated, instead recognizing the reality that normal democratic rule needed a process to restore it. http://www.fijivillage.com/artman/publish/article_35613.shtml

The statement of the Methodist Church provoked an angry reaction from Military spokesman Major
Major
Major is a rank of commissioned officer, with corresponding ranks existing in almost every military in the world.When used unhyphenated, in conjunction with no other indicator of rank, the term refers to the rank just senior to that of an Army captain and just below the rank of lieutenant colonel. ...

 Neumi Leweni
Neumi Leweni
Neumi Leweni is a Fijian Army officer and diplomat, who holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He hails from the Lau Islands. He joined the Military in 1974 and by 2006 was one of two official spokesmen for the Military, the other being Lieutenant Colonel Orisi Rabukawaqa. In August 2007, he...

, who said that the Church had allowed itself to be "used". http://www.fijilive.com/news/show/news/2007/02/02/fijilive3.html

See also

  • Church involvement in Fiji Coups
    Church involvement in Fiji coups
    Fiji's four coups in the past two decades have church involvement. At the center of each coup lies the tensions between the ethnic Fijians and Indian Fijians...