Methodist Church in Fiji given permission to meet
The Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma has been granted permission by the government to hold its annual conference.
The Fijian Church has been refused permission to meet in the last four years.
However, there are still some concerns over the strictness of the terms, which stipulate that the meeting should not coincide with the national Hibiscus Festival in August and that it must last no longer than three days.
The permit demands that the conference take place from 8am to 8pm each day and from Wednesday to Friday only. It must also be held at the Centenary Church premises.
The Church has been instructed that it may only discuss church matters and not political issues.
Activities that traditionally accompanied the conference, including the choir competition and information stands, have also been banned.
The Church was warned by the police that “serious actions” would be taken if the terms of the permit were breached.
The permission has been welcomed by the Church but there is some apprehension, as last year’s conference was cancelled just hours before it was due to begin.
Christine Elliott, Secretary for External Relationships for the Methodist Church in Britain said: “Despite these strict conditions, granting permission for the conference to meet is clearly a step forward, and we shall give thanks as well as praying for further steps as Fiji finds its way back to democracy.”