Positive messages from the Pulpit
Our disability lead Ben Tameifuna spent Labour weekend supporting Reverend Tevita Finau as he delivered a positive message from the pulpit to more 200 parishioners at the Lotofale’ia (the Tongan Methodist Church) in Mangere. Reverend Tevita is also the superintendent of all Tongan Methodist churches in New Zealand.
This is the eighth workshop Le Va has supported this year – led by Pasifika church leaders for Pasifika church communities. The workshops aim to provide positive and inclusive messages about Pasifika disabled communities, and raise awareness of Pasifika disability issues to reduce stigma, enhance participation and increase access to support services for Pasifika people with disabilities.
Reverend Tevita spoke to a large contingent of youth, brass band and church choir members and general parishioners. His overarching theme for the month of October for all Tongan Methodist Churches in New Zealand was, “renewing evangelism for people with disabilities”, and was the special guest minister to deliver the last sermon for the month.
His sermon focused on the following concepts:
- Although the people that sought healing through Jesus were blind, they had true vision – more so then those with sight. Reverend Tevita said that at times, people without disabilities have no sight or awareness of the issues, needs and even strengths of disabled Pasifika.
- Do something yourself: Reverend Tevita also says the problem lies within us as a church and community, not the person with a disability – “what will you do yourself to change that?” We all need to do our part to create welcoming churches for all people.
Finally, he issued a challenge to the congregation that we all have a responsibility as members of the church and as a community to support people with ‘different abilities’. We can do this by connecting with each other, supporting disability leadership to build confidence and empower others and, most importantly, by actively showing and celebrating our shared love of culture and faith in a meaningful, honest way. This way we can create an environment that is welcoming and inclusive for all.
Our thanks to Reverend Tevita. Please check out (and like!) our Facebook page for upcoming Pasifika church engagements!
L-R: Rev Goll Manukia of Lotofale’ia, the Tongan Methodist Church based in Mangere, Ben Tameifuna from Le Va, and Rev Tevita Finau, the Superintendent of all NZ Tongan Methodist Churches nationwide.
Rev. Tevita delivers his positive message from the pulpit to the congregation.
Le Va has developed a range of resources for ministers and churches to raise awareness of Pasifika disability issues to reduce stigma, enhance participation and increase access to support services for Pasifika people with disabilities..