30 Jul 2012

New Zealand Methodists detail hardship imposed by regime on Fiji church

3:20 pm on 30 July 2012

The President of the Methodist Church of New Zealand says the Fiji branch has faced extreme hardship since the military coup in December 2006.

Reverend John Roberts recently made a solidarity visit to the Methodist Church in Fiji and concludes it is being oppressed because it had opposed the coup.

Reverend Roberts says although the church sought forgiveness and reconciliation, this was declined, and the military regime has since taken a number of actions against it including restrictions on public meetings.

"Since the coup it has not been able to have its regular annual conference. They were to have a conference last year but the permit was withdrawn the day before the conference was to begin and of course church members had travelled from outlying islands, outlying villages to come to Suva for the conference, only to discover that the permit had been withdrawn by the regime."

Reverend John Roberts says there have also been 20 pre-court trial conferences involving charges laid against Methodist Church leaders, which have been costly for its members.

The church has permission to hold a conference this year, the first in four years.