PRESIDENT of the Methodist church in Fiji Reverend Tuikilakila Waqairatu hopes they can move towards a smoke-free church.
Speaking on behalf of Mr Waqairatu during a media conference yesterday, communication secretary Reverend James Bhagwan said having leaders and members of the church abstain from smoking cigarettes was a matter of personal discipline.
"You can make this instruction but really, it is about responsibility and urging members to be responsible about their health and their wellbeing; and for ministers and leaders to lead by example and to walk the talk — that is the challenge," Mr Bhagwan said.
He said Mr Waqairatu repeated his vision for the church on Tuesday, saying two issues that affected the spiritual life of members were smoking cigarettes and excessive kava drinking.
"When we refer to the body as the temple of God, these are the things that affect that temple. So he has asked the church to be really disciplined in the area of kava drinking and cigarette smoking."
Mr Bhagwan said they understood the church could not completely ban kava drinking.
"Whenever we have a traditional event where kava drinking is involved, you cannot completely ban it. So this is not a ban, this is asking for responsible drinking.
"Responsible use in all senses — we are talking about stewardship, which means responsible use of church funding, responsible use of environment and of course responsible living as human beings."