MEMBERS of the Methodist Church present at their annual conference held at the Centenary Church in Suva congratulated their president Reverend Tuikilakila Waqairatu after he was conferred an honorary doctorate from the Vision University in the US.
Mr Waqairatu now holds a Bachelor in Divinity, a Diploma and Masters in Theology.
"In conferring the doctorate, the Academic Dean of the Vision University Dr Elmer Masters said the doctorate of divinity are honorary degrees conferred on those who were accomplished in terms of their service to the church, their level of education, and what they had achieved in the last three years," Methodist church communication secretary Reverend James Bhagwan said.
"They believe that the president of the Methodist church Reverend Waqairatu has met the standards for doctorate in divinity in the university, having served for 43 years in the ministry."
Speaking on behalf of the church president at a press briefing yesterday, Mr Bhagwan said Mr Waqairatu had thought his dreams to further his studies were slim after he was called to lead the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma.
"Reverend Waqairatu was quite emotional in accepting the degree and said when he heeded the call to serve in our head office, he had accepted that perhaps further studies for him would no longer be part of the equation because he was committed to serve in the church.
"Today, he said God had heard and answered the prayer of his heart. He's now known as Reverend Doctor Waqairatu."
Mr Waqairatu had served as the vice principal and principal at the Davuilevu Theological College and also held senior positions in the church.
"He is also recognised as a biblical scholar and that was also an important part of their decision to confer him with this honorary doctorate."