THE Pacific Council of Churches and the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma has called on its members to practise unconditional love and compassion towards all as members of the sexual minorities community looks forward to celebrating the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia today.
"The Methodist Church is calling on its members to reflect on the need to practise unconditional love and compassion towards all, including those who have different values from them and those whom they don't understand," Reverend Tevita Banivanua said.
"Stigma and discrimination can only be vanquished by the practice of unconditional love.
"Unconditional love is unconditional; you cannot choose whom to have love and compassion for.
"This fear and prejudice we have for people who are different from us is shameful and instead, we must work for inclusion, tolerance, and peace for all people.
"We are challenged by Jesus to love those different from us, including those that we may consider 'sinners'; after all we are all sinners in some way."
Mr Banivanua said as the largest Christian community in Fiji, the Methodist Church was called to respect the dignity of all human beings as created by God and in God's image, acknowledging that all of us are broken images of the same perfect divine being.
"The church may not condone some of the practices of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, but we need to let them know that they are still God's children — they are our children, our brothers and sisters."
PCC general secretary Reverend Francois Pihaatae said Christians were called to treat all people with love, compassion and justice.
"This week people around the world will mark International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia," Mr Pihaatae said.
"Unfortunately the church has, in the past, been at the forefront of unjust treatment of gay, lesbian and transgender people because of misinterpretation of the Gospel.
"These are our brothers and sisters, our sons and daughters.
"We are called to show them the love of Christ in word and deed even if it is difficult for some to accept their lifestyles."
He said many churches did not condone some of the practices of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in our community.
The International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia will be celebrated today.