SIXTEEN Methodist churches in Lautoka were expected to hold the annual new year church service two hours earlier last night — from 8pm to 10pm — instead of the normal 10pm to12midnight.
According to Reverend Timoci Waqalevu of the Natabua Methodist Circuit, the move took into account the Lautoka City Council's new year celebrations program.
"Last year the service was disturbed by the street party and this is one of the reasons we shifted the time," said Mr Waqalevu.
"Also we wanted to adapt our program to the city's program just like that famous saying, 'when in Rome do as the Romans do'.
"This will allow people to have the liberty of taking their families out to enjoy the new year celebrations. All members have the freedom to choose but most importantly we want the word of God to be first delivered before they decide what to do next."
Mr Waqalevu said the church has also worked on changing the mindset of pastors on how best they could spread the gospel to urban dwellers.
"Church leaders need to come down and commune with the people as this is a good way to deliver the Word of God.
"In 2013, the church went out on to the streets providing food for street kids at the same time spreading the gospel.
"We are planning to continue with the program in 2014.
"On behalf of the church we wish the people of Lautoka a blessed new year."