WWF-Pacific and Methodist Church to launch Christian Environmentalism publication at Ecumenical event
Planned under the theme ‘Season of Creation,’ the emphasis of the ecumenical event is to encourage people to focus on the importance of the environment and care for creation.
The event began with a short service led by Rev. Dr Tevita Banivanua of the Fiji Council of Churches and included speakers such as Robert Randolph of the Suva City Council, who spoke on SCCs environmental plans; BSPs Head of Marketing, Nirdesh Singh who spoke on the banks community partnerships; Elimi Kurusiga of the Ministry of Forests who talked on the importance of planting trees and mangroves; Bruce Edwards of the Fiji Community Churches of Christ who discussed Christian attitudes towards Climate Change and Dwain Qalovaki of the Uto ni Yalo Trust Fund who provided an update on the Plastic initiative and Coastal Clean Up data results of the event.
The brief presentations will conclude with the launching of the Christian environmentalism publication authored by Rev Jeremaia Waqainabete and supported by WWF-Pacific.
“The publication is a collaboration between the Methodist Church of Fiji and WWF-Pacific targeted at encouraging not just Methodists but all members of the Christian faith to become better stewards of the environment, given the increasing loss of biodiversity not only in Fiji but globally and the need to responsibly manage these finite resources if we are to leave our future generations a livable planet,” WWF-Pacific Conservation Director Francis Areki said.
"This is a very progressive step taken by the Methodist Church in Fiji, to strengthen a fundamental principle established in the Book of Genesis, that all humans were given domination over and are tasked to, care for and protect God’s creations. In 2015, Pope Francis issued his second encyclical “Laudato Si” or Praise Be to You- On Care for our Common Home which highlights the growing threats to our planet, irresponsible development and consumerism, environmental degradation and global warming and calls on all people of the world to support unified action. It is very gratifying to see our spiritual leaders from different Christian denominations creating this movement and taking up the mantle to combat these threats to our planet and home," Conservation Director Areki said.
“It’s all about changing mind sets to effect change. The tracts will be used by divinity students of the Methodist Theological College at Davuilevu as well as Church Elders and lay preachers serving at divisions and circuits,” said Reverend Jeremaia Waqainabete.
Speaking on the Christian environmental tracts, Rev Waqainabete added that he together with WWF Conservation Director Francis Areki had advocated on creating awareness of the tracts for over two years to policy makers, national leaders and the public, speaking at events such as the Annual Methodist Conference to Regional, National, Divisional and District meetings.
“The most essential group that needs to be involved is our youths and we are taking a top down approach to firstly involve the leaders at all levels on the environmental tracts raising awareness about the vulnerability of the environment once they (church elders) are informed only then can change be realized by speaking to our youths,”
“Our youths are important because we would need them to implement projects that focus on environmental care,” Rev Jeremaia Waqainabete said.
The launch of the tracts will be followed by the Ministry of Forestry taking the lead in planting around 10,000 along the seawall area along with a coastal clean-up that will be led by the Uto ni Yalo Trust.
The season of creation runs from the month of September1st to October 4th and is expected to be an annual event.