Parish hails God’s goodness

Sunday School children bringing their offering to the altar.

EVERY year, the Good Sheppard Lutheran Congregation in Port Moresby stages its annual Thanksgiving service, firstly and most importantly to acknowledge and appreciate the Lord’s goodness and blessings in our lives as well as raise funds to support the church’s various projects.
Amongst those who attended the occasion on Sunday, Sept 28 were the Governor-General Sir Bob Dadae and his wife, Head Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of PNG (ELCPNG) Rt Rev Dr Jack Urame and his wife, ELCPNG Papua District representatives and members of other congregations within the city.
Basing his sermon on this year’s thanksgiving theme “Accountable to God and responsibility to rumanity” guest speaker Rev Dr Urame said whilst it was important to express one’s gratitude to the Lord, these blessings must be shared with others.
“Look around you and see there are people who are affected and need help. That’s because the blessings that come from above are not shared with others,” he added.
He said being accountable to God should not be just sheer faith in him but has to be demonstrated in action by being responsible to others.
“Jesus said love your neighbours. Love your neighbours can only be realised when we put into action what it means for us to serve others in many different ways because if someone is hungry and we don’t respond to their needs, I thinks we’ve failed our duty as Christians,” he stressed.
“God’s blessings come to us every day therefore when we are happy, this happiness must be applied to others, too,” Rev Dr Urame added.
The head of the ELCPNG was also amazed at how Christians despite being hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic this year, still demonstrated their faith through the gifts presented both is cash and kind. Unlike previous years where congregation members are ushered to the front by various traditional performances in their respective groups to offer their gifts and afterwards present items, this year’s occasion was a bit different taking into account the Covid-19 safety measures.
Congregation chairman Kingston Alu said besides showing their appreciations for what God has done in their lives, the thanksgiving service is also a major fundraising drive as funds raised every year go towards supporting the congregational budget and its various projects such as the mission fields in Balimo (Western) and Kwikila (Central), support pastors training at seminaries, and maintenance work on church facilities including pastors’ residential areas.
Alu also thanked several organisations and individuals who have contributed towards this year’s event. They include the National Emergency Controller, David Manning for permission to go ahead with the service, National Airports Corporation (NAC) for allowing access into airport area to receive the Head Bishop and his wife, PB Cheung for the usage of its area for parking, PNG Teachers Association, the two congregational pastors, congregational ministries, and all zone leaders.

The new Kamali United Church building.

Kamali rejoices over new church

SUNDAY, Sept 27, 2020 was a special day for the people of Kamali in Central.
They celebrated the opening of their new church building, a project whose planning began some 50 to 60 years earlier. Situated in the Hula area of the Rigo District, Kamali village has had three church buildings in the past. Their first church was called Siona, built by Rev Iruna Keina.
The second, Emmanuel, was built by Rev Kila Vele, and the third was Rutera Memorial Church, named in honour of their pioneer Raratongan Missionary. It was built by Rev Kopi Kepi of Hula.
This church is their fourth, and is simply called Kamali United Church. The current serving minister is Rev Ralai Valieipa, the 24th minister of the church from Missionary Rutera.
The day was graced by the presence of some dignitaries. These included the Minister for Religion, Youth and Community Services, Wake Goi, Madang Governor Peter Yama, Central Governor Robert Agarobe, Member for Rigo Open and now Minister for Labour, Lekwa Gure, and a daughter of Kamali and philanthropist, Vavine Kila Nades whose assistance over the years to the village was warmly acknowledged.
On the church side, Hula Circuit Minister Rev Rakau Kila, who officiated at the dedication service, and fellow church ministers from neighbouring villages, were present. Other guests were media people and friends and family who commuted from the city. All visitors were well received by the villagers.
Kamali is nestled among the bigger villages of Hula, Makerupu, Babaka and Kalo, but she has a sizeable population as well.
Her ekalesia (baptised believers) number well over 400, and are served by 31 deacons.
Kamali has contributed 11 theologically trained ministers to the United Church over the years. While a couple of them have passed on, the rest are serving in their East Central Papua Region, and one in the Gulf.

Some of the current serving Kamali clergymen and wives.

One other faithful son of Kamali, Rev Raka Geve, is currently the minister of Mt Hagen United Church in the Highlands Region.
According to current minister Rev Valieipa, the spiritual life of the village began with the advent of the Gospel through the London Missionary Society (LMS) who arrived in Papua in 1872.
“Kamali was eventually reached in 1886 by a missionary called Rutera from Rarotonga. Since our people are peace-loving, this missionary was gladly accepted into the community and was accommodated by a Vetalirupu clansman called Keina Walo. Rutera served in Kamali as a first pastor-teacher teaching our people, both young and old, how to read and write as well as the Good News of Jesus Christ.
“The first two Kamali people to read and write were Tau Namona from Kamalirupu Clan and Iruna Keina from Vetalirupu Clan. Both men then served as pastors consecutively after Missionary Rutera.”
In his keynote address, Rev Valieipa paid tribute firstly to God without whose grace and wisdom the project would never have been completed successfully. He then commended the villagers saying, “God equipped and blessed the people of Kamali with variety of expertise, both in skills and knowledge. When united together, it gave birth to this splendid building.”
He also acknowledged the hard working members of the planning committee.
“I wish to thank the planning committee spearheaded by Deacon Friend Raka, the project committee, and the hardworking local office bearers Chairman Deacon Kilavavine Tau and his executives for the successful achievement, despite many obstacles.”
The result of their hard work, plus the dedication and cooperation of the village people, is shown in the magnificent structure that now graces the centre of their village.
This beautiful building in the midst of the village is a reminder that making God the centre of their lives each day will result in peace, harmony and bountiful blessings for the Kamali community.
After the dedicatory prayer was offered by Superintendent Minister Rev Kila, the festivities began. Peroveta songs of praise to God were sung and danced to with gusto in the United Church/Pacific way by the happy villagers, while their visitors were treated to a sumptuous luncheon.
After the celebrations, the guests were farewelled with gifts of food to take home.
Indeed, the opening of the new Kamali United Church building was a day worth celebrating!

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