Opening doors in Fiji

exterior vatuadova churchA new church has opened in Fiji thanks to the generosity of congregation members from the former South Geelong Uniting Church (now worshipping at East Geelong Uniting Church).

More than 100 people attended the official opening of the Methodist Church in the Vatuadova village.

The villagers embarked on the $200,000 project because the existing building could no longer cater for the growing congregation.

The original church was built more than 12 years ago and attracted worshippers from neighbouring villagers.

It took the Vatuadova community three years to fundraise and construct the new church building.

Uniting Church congregation members donated furniture, money and a communion set to the Vatuadova church.

Many of the villagers who attend the church are from the Nadogo mataqali (clan).

Family networks are central to Fijian culture. Mataqali members have a responsibility to offer assistance to their extended family in times of need.

Rinieta Ratawa, head of the Nadogo mataqali, told The Fiji Times that the contributions of diaspora communities were integral to the construction of the church.

“We had received donations from relatives who are now residing abroad and we are thankful that most of them could make it to this historic event,” she said.

Ms Ratawa’s uncle is Rev Peceli Ratawa, a Uniting Church minister who served at congregations in the Geelong and Altona region. Peceli filmed a video message that was played to the Vatuadova congregation during their opening worship service. Ratawa family members from England, New Zealand, Sydney and Geelong also attended the ceremony.

The church was officially opened earlier this week with a service for Rev Peceli Ratawa’s younger brother, Dakai Epi Ratawa, who passed away last year.

Ms Ratawa said she was proud to witness the fruition of her late father’s dream.

“On Friday we decided as a family to have a celebration and officially hand over the church to the Methodist Church in the Macuata circuit,” Ms Ratawa said

The church was blessed and officially opened by Rev Samisoni Daunivalu, head of the Methodist Church in Fiji’s Macuata circuit.

Visit Peceli and Wendy’s blog for more photos from the opening service.

vatuadova church interior

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