NEW leaders of Fiji's largest Christian denomination - the Methodist Church - who take up their roles this year want to work closely with the government.
Confirming this to The Fiji Times, church general secretary Reverend Tevita Nawadra said the new leaders, during a standing committee meeting, decided they would work with government. They also decided that the government must listen to the church's needs. Mr Nawadra said with the new year, those leaders who had been causing trouble for the church and its members were out and the new leaders would move the church to new levels.
He said the past four years for the church were tough as far as its relationship with the government was concerned.
"Our past experiences have taught us that we need to strengthen our relationship with the government," Mr Nawadra said.
He said as a result of all the division in the church, its membership last year dropped from about 200,000 to 197,000.
Mr Nawadra said internal problems also resulted in other churches not supporting the Methodist Church.
"When we were in trouble, no church supported us. No church seemed to have cared even though we have been quiet instrumental," Mr Nawadra said.
"We had our difficult times and none of our so called friends visited us."
In 2013 the church leaders want a change.
"We want to better our relationship with our members and with other churches in Fiji," Mr Nawadra said.
He said it was time for the church to do away with suspicious thinking and move towards a better Fiji.
"We believe Fiji is one and all the churches are one," he said, adding they wanted to reconcile with all churches.