THE Methodist Church plans to increase its member levy from $10 to $15 per head.
Church general secretary Reverend Tuikilakila Waqairatu confirmed this to The Fiji Times yesterday, saying this would be done to overcome the financial crisis the church was going through.
He said the church did not have sufficient money in its coffers to support its growing operating expenses.
"Most of our money comes from the church annual conference and the choir competition," Mr Waqairatu said. "But the church has not been allowed to hold its conference, which has really affected our financial stability."
The church, the country's largest Christian denomination, was refused a permit to hold its conference the past four years after the government said senior ministers were engaged in political discussions and causing instability.
Mr Waqairatu said the church was considering increasing members' levy to enable continued support for schools managed by church funds, social welfare institutions such as the Dilkusha Home and to cover operating expenses of the church's headquarters.
According to church records, it has 201,000 members in Fiji.
Mr Waqairatu said the decision to increase the levy would be confirmed during its annual conference at the end of this month.
Meanwhile, the church divisional superintendent in Cicia, Lau, Reverend Simione Ravaga, said with their area being one of the largest financial contributors to the church, members would welcome the increase.
"We were told in our last meeting that there are plans for the church to increase the levy to $15 from $10 per head," Mr Ravaga said.
"The church is facing a lot of financial crises so we need to support the church," he said.
The head of Nasea Methodist Circuit in Labasa, Reverend Savirio Vuata, said all church members who received wages should contribute money to the church as their offering.
He said following their meetings, the church headquarters in Suva had requested him to encourage members of his division to give more.
The minister for the Indian circuit in Ba, Reverend Abel Nand, said there were mixed reactions regarding the church's plan to increase members levy.
"We understand that the church is going through tough times and we need to raise money otherwise we will have to stop operating," Mr Nand said.
He said the faithful would respond to the church's plight in the best way they could.