Sep 18, 2020 Last Updated 5:56 AM, Sep 18, 2020

The Presbyterian Church Chairman of Vanuatu’s Christian Council, Pastor Alain Nafuki, has thanked COVID-19 for enabling the country to focus hard on identifying the best way towards prosperity for the country for the next 40 years.

Pastor Nafuki says God has allowed the country to face the double impact of category 5 Cyclone Harold in the north of the country and the globally devastating virus which is bound to change the current lifestyles of communities around the world.

“Already I can see that COVID-19 is likely to change the country for the better, as well as for the worse, for the next 40 years”, he says.

Asked to give an example of what worse scenario he is fearful of, he replies, “economic injustice”.

However he believes with over 90% of the country’s 230,000 people identifying as Christian, their faith will become their safety net for the next 40 years.

“I am thankful that despite our tough challenges, the Government is also facing its responsibilities head- on, equipped with its Christian faith, in line with the Nation’s Motto of ‘Long God Yumi Stanap’, or ‘In God we Stand’.

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Vanuatu’s Prime Minister Bob Loughman prompted the congregation of Malasitapu Presbyterian Church in the suburbs of Port Vila to clap with joy recently when his new government’s cabinet was commissioned by the Vanuatu Christian Council (VCC).

The applause erupted when the PM advised the VCC Chairman, Pastor Alain Nafuki, to write to his Minister of Finance and Economic Management, Johnny Koanapo, to request that churches also be allowed to access the Government’s stimulus package,  offered to certain companies as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Replying to the sermon delivered by the VCC Chairman—who emphasised unity, restoration and success—the Prime Minister reminded his audience of the inseparable relationship between Custom and Christianity, as stipulated by the Preamble of Vanuatu’s Constitution.

Prime Minister Loughman said the Government is looking at how to strengthen its partnership with the Chiefs and Churches to take Vanuatu to the next level.

The VCC Chairman said God has blessed the human race with the power of reason, which allowed the former Presbyterian Church of the then-New Hebrides (in the 1970s) to relieve five pastors from their pastoral duties to join founding Father Walter Lini, in standing up for what was right for the country in fighting for political freedom from colonial rule.

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