Pasefika has chalked up a first: the opening of an Anglican secondary school in Suva.
Bishop Winston Halapua’s joy at this initiative was contagious when he presented the Pasefika report to General Synod on Thursday.
He paid tribute to Alison Ballantyne, Executive Director of the Anglican Schools Office, for her support in establishing the school several years ago.
The Diocese has four primary schools in Fiji, and many of these pupils move up to other schools.
“We sow and others reap,” Bishop Winston quipped to Synod. “However, we do all this to the glory of God.”
The Pasefika report was delayed until Thursday to allow for the announcement of the new Bishop of Polynesia and Archbishop.
The Archbishop-elect, Winston Halapua, spoke to the report, noting that in 2008 the Diocese celebrated 100 years “of God working in our midst.”
The late Archbishop Jabez Bryce was Bishop of Polynesia for almost a third of this period, Bishop Winston said. “He was faithful in the mission of God and under his leadership the Diocese grew, with new worship centres being built and mission districts established.”
Bishop Winston said he would be faithful to the work of the early missionaries “so there will be others who come to know God.”
Turning to social justice, he noted that “social justice is very much alive in our tikanga because we have so many crises!”
Issues included landlessness (which for Melanesians and Indians means financial insecurity), HIV, and the political upheavals in Tonga and Fiji.
In Tonga, thankfully, the church has been involved in political transformation, Bishop Winston said. But in Fiji, “despite what you may hear, nothing has changed about the situation.”
He asked for the wider church to keep praying for Pasefika. “The goalposts keep changing but God is mighty.”
A marked change in diocesan youth ministry in the Diocese was having an impact, Bishop Winston said. “Trust is being placed in young people and their ministries are growing.
“Youth officer Sepi Hali’api’api is now in a position where she doesn’t have to fight for young people but can articulate their issues and concerns.”
Bishop Winston was grateful that the Diocese would continue to the end of July under the leadership of its commissary or “captain of the waka,” Bishop Richard Ellena (Nelson).
“Sisters and brothers, God is very much alive, God is so good; to God be the glory,” Bishop Winston concluded.