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For God or for Caesar

The argument for church in business

LIKE any modern organisation, churches need money in order to pay for administration, bills and taxes. There are also the pressing needs of the people in times of natural disasters as well as the time-honoured tradition of clothing the naked, housing the homeless and feeding the hungry.

The main stream Christian churches in the Pacific look to the membership for financial support through freewill offerings during weekly services. In other cases there are annual levies on congregations based on registered membership. Some like Fiji’s Methodist Church and the Tonga Free Wesleyan congregations conduct annual festivities during which members donate Amounts of money during a choral competition.

These annual song fests and the associated bazaars have generated in excess of $FJD4 million per annum. But the high cost of living, village and family obligations mean that the additional burden of donating to the church can be crippling for families. Vicar-General of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Suva, Father Sulio Turagakacivi, said the church must not be a burden to the people.

“Our core business as a church is the salvation of souls, ministering to the people,” Turagakacivi said. “Any money we make goes towards the people through the work we do.” 

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