Nuku’alofa-July 1: 3.18pm (TDN): Members of the Anglican Church here in Tonga went through a week-long training on Social Justice in Pahu last week, aimed at helping the church carry out its social programs and obligations with more vigour.
Program facilitators Aisake Casimira, the Programs Manager with the Pacific Council of Churches in Suva and Mr Joe Saniqa, the Social Justice Coordinator for Diocese of Polynesia, ran the workshop for priests, lay preachers, church officials and members.
Mr Saniqa said the workshop is the second phase which was approved in 2010/2011 by the Diocese of Polynesia, under the Bishop of Polynesia, Bishop Winston Halapua.
“And the workshop really aimed at helping the church members and officials in their different work of taking Christ’s gospel to the people, to the community,” Mr Saniqa said.
Workshop participant Mr Laiseni Fanon Charisma Liava’a told the Tonga Daily News that the workshop was an eye-opener.
“I learned a lot from the workshop, especially in how we can be more effective in reaching out to the societies and communities we live in in the physical sense,” he said.
“I think it was timely for the church to have this kind of workshops and training and I hope that we will have some more follow up programs in the future.
“The workshop has helped me understand the importance of having a structure where we can have different departments and their duties that they need to carry out to be able to meet the church’s vision and mission statement.
“And more importantly to be able to show the people out there Christ’s Gospel of love, of reaching out.”
Mr Liava’a said the church and other religious organisations in Tonga have an important task of reaching out to the people and helping them become better people.
“The gospel is not only about preaching it in church. It is about reaching out to help people get better, live better and be able to look after themselves,” he said.
“That’s the social aspect of the gospel that we need to live.
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“And the workshop has helped me see that and what we can do to make it happen.”