By PETER WARI
DURING its 50th Golden Jubilee celebrations on Jan 19, Hela United Church vowed to work with the government and non-government organisations to maintain peace in the province. A stone was engraved at the Hoiebia Mission Church in the presence of Tari-Pori MP and Finance Minister James Marape, signifying 50 years of hard work and allowing the younger generation to take over the church’s work. Marape paid tribute to the people who worked hard to take good news to other areas and died on the way, and also to the elderly people who worked without expecting money in return. The young generation was challenged to take the church forward.
The church has a secondary school, 11 health facilities, 12 primary schools and many elementary schools. The church was formed in 1968 by merging the efforts of the London Missionary Society, the Presbyterian Church and the Methodist Mission.
The church teaches, preaches and lives the Good News of Jesus Christ.
The church is looking forward to:
- Improving its partnership with the Government, development agencies and other stakeholders;
- equipping members with self-reliance and entrepreneurial skills;
- promoting gender equality and social wellbeing; and,
- Encouraging members to be prayerful and live Christian lives.
Hela United Church Bishop Reverend Wai Tege said the province was facing a lot of challenges and this year, the church would administer and manage development activities in partnership with the Government and development agencies.He said the church would also unite with the Government, non-governmental organisations, stakeholders and other churches to address the issue of law and order around the country.
Tege said the core values and beliefs of the United Church in Papua New Guinea are based on God’s eternal love and the entire trustworthiness of the Holy Scripture.
“The United Church is there to teach, preach and heal, and to be better citizens in the country,” he said. “Children must put God first, show respect for one another and live a life free from unethical things.
“Youths who come from Christian backgrounds must be agents of change and live a Christian life that will change the mindset of other youths to live a similar life.”
He said the 50,000 church members had a duty to perform with their 200 pastors to rise up and stand united in praying for peace in the province.
Marape said churches played a crucial role in the development of the nation and the Government would work side by side with them for more development.
“The province would not have come this far without the churches contribution in service delivery,” he said.
“Where the Government could not go in, churches went and because of the churches work, people were living better lives. But these good work are bombarded by law and order problems and together, the government and churches will unite to address these problems.”
Marape said people must embrace education and church activities to help change mindsets.
He said people must leave political, tribal and churches differences aside and work in unity to make the province a peaceful place for development.
“I am ready to work with churches and will support education, strengthen police manpower and brush aside negativity in the province,” Marape said.
Marape said when he became an MP ten years ago, people sought peace, with 28 tribal fights stopped and weapons surrendered.
“But still there are tribal fights and I am wondering if I have not performed my duty as expected. As it says in the Bible, there will be difficult times in the last days. We as Christians must pray and work for unity,” he said.
Marape said only God gave and took lives, but people were killing innocent people.
“God is watching and we must not complain or fight back. The Good Lord will do things in his way. Remember the bible story of Cain killing Abel and today, there is no history of Cain, he is a lost man and the world does not know his generations,” he said.