Thursday, August 4, 2011

Fijian Military Will Invite Themselves to our General Synod Next Year

I hope that every member of our church considering allowing their name to go forward for nomination in elections for General Synod of our church will be made aware that at the next General Synod in Nandi, Fiji, in July, 2012, representatives of the Fijian Military will be present, checking the General Synod papers do not include any matters they do not like, hovering anxiously lest something is said out of place, and initimidating media representatives into only publishing material agreeable to the military junta running that country. Goodness knows what the military will do if one of the members of the General Synod makes a speech critical of the illegal Fijian government, but I hope they will realise their liability to be put on the next plane back to Aotearoa New Zealand or to Samoa or to Tonga. That is, if they come from such islands. You can be sure no resident of Fiji will say anything critical as they know what the consequences will be.

If you are getting the impression that I won't be standing for General Synod you are on my wavelength. I am not going near that country to take part in the parliament of our church subject to constraints on freedom of speech. I just hope that our church will be clear at its diocesan synods and hui amorangi what membership of General Synod in 2012 is going to involve so that those who do allow themselves to be nominated realise what they are letting themselves in for.


Pageantmaster said...

Thanks Peter+ for drawing attention to this. We don't hear much news about Fiji in this Northern extremity of the known world, and in particular about what is going on with human rights in Fiji.

Fiji seems to be one of many places where ethnic divisions underlie difficult political situations, often driven by fear and perceived historical wrongs.

It seems to me that one area where the Anglican Church may have a unique role with its worldwide reach and ability to play the honest broker is in such situations, much as Canon Andrew White has in his Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East between the factions in the Middle East and as later he has been able to do in Iraq, and as the Archbishop of Canterbury and Archbishop of Westminster have recently made an attempt to do in Israel and Palestine.

Perhaps there is such a role for the Anglican Church regionally to take on in Fiji, firstly to support Anglicans and other Christians there, secondly to keep up pressure for human rights, and thirdly to listen to the different sides and to encourage them to listen and talk to one another which is what this process of reconciliation is about.

Unfortunately as Andrew White says, this means engaging and dealing with people who you may not like and whose actions you completely reject for the wider aim of bringing Christian reconciliation. Of course for us as Anglicans we have a mighty advantage in undertaking such a role - we have a God to pray to and bring with us into these situations, and with Him onside, well - that ups the prospects of success considerably.

Prayers for Fiji.

Father Ron Smith said...

From my little spot in a cafe on Mykonos, this proposal - to allow the Fijian military observation rights at the ACANZP at the G.A. sounds preposterous to say the least. But, the question here might be: Does the Fiji A.C. have tio comply with the authorities in order to be allowed to attend G.S.?

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Pageantmaster,
To be clear (if I have not been): my post here is not intended as a comment on what the Anglican and other churches of Fiji are trying to do as honest brokers in a difficult situation; nor am I offering any discouragement to the Anglican church in other neighbouring islands, such as my own, to be involved, as appropriate, in work in Fiji.

I just do not think our General Synod should meet there at this time.

Pageantmaster said...

Thanks +Peter

Synod is of course a matter for you and I don't see how you could accept a host state interfering in it.

My point was to put a somewhat broader perspective which occured to me while reading through your very clear post.

No doubt even with the difficult situation, Fiji's Anglicans will have been able to pass their wishes on.

I suppose the problem is always how one can engage, without being seen to be supporting by so doing.