The National, Thursday July 11th, 2013
By SONIA KENU
THE Department of Community Development, Youth and Religion is conducting a two-day consultative forum for churches and other stakeholders to establish a secretariat or a National Office of Religion.
Community Development Minister Loujaya Toni said in Port Moresby the office of religion was one of the department’s priority programmes directed by the Government in the Alotau Accord for this year.
“The secretariat will act as a governing body that would arrange consultation meetings on the new partnership arrangements between churches and the government,” Toni said.
“We do not have a policy in place that stipulates how the church and government partnership programme should work and administered.
“Funds allocated to churches come under national planning and monitoring, thus my department liaises with national planning to get the funds delivered to the churches.
“Once an office is established funds will be allocated under the 2014 budget for churches and it will be governed by the body.
“The ideas and issues shared at the forum will set the platform for the new policy on religion and give some insight as to how the administrative structure of the Office of Religion should look.
“This process will set the scene and national agenda for dialogue and consultation with churches across the four regions.”
Four regional workshops will be staged after the National Consultative Forum to seek the views and ideas from people in other provinces.