Minister opts to remain in England

A METHODIST Church minister, who was sent to nurture the spiritual development of Fijians serving in the British Army and Navy, has opted to remain in England because of the retirement age for the clergy in Fiji.

The Rev Jimione Kaci has opted to stay in England after he was accepted into full connection by the British Methodist Conference on July 1 this year.

Involving himself with the church most of his life, he was pleased to share his life story leading up to his achievement.

Mr Kaci left Fulaga, located in the Southern Lau Group, to attend Ratu Kadavulevu School (RKS) in 1965 to 1966, ending his secondary school education at Queen Victoria School (QVS) in 1967.

After finishing his university education, he was then posted as a chaplain to Naiyala Secondary School in 1990.

In 1993, he was ordained in Bua, and was posted to be the first chaplain for the Fiji School of Nursing and Medicine in 1994.

“In 1998, I became the chaplain to the Fiji Military Forces in Sinai and circuit minister in Namaka, Nadi from 1998 to 2002,” he said.

In 2003, he became a superintendent for the Nadi division for six months and left for England in 2003 with his wife, Miriama Kaci and daughter, Sala Kaci under the World Church in Britain Partnership program.

“We had pastoral oversight over four English churches for five years and we went back to Fiji in 2008 after having spent five years in England,” he said.

“I became a circuit minister at Muanikau from January 2009 until July 2010 when we were posted back to England in 2010 to work on a 50-50 partnership program with the Methodist Church in Britain.

“This involved working part-time with the British Methodist Circuit and part-time working with the Fijians who have come with their families to join the armed forces in Great Britain.

“I looked after three English-speaking Methodist churches, they provided the manse and paid half the stipend and the Methodist Church here paid the rest.”

Through the many challenges and work he has put in for the Methodist Church, Mr Kaci was asked to stay on for another three years.

“It was to be for only five years, but the Fijian Methodist Fellowship and the English churches wanted me to stay on and we stayed on for another three years,” he said.

He said from then, he had decided to work full time with the British Conference.

“I have now decided to work full time with the British Conference because in Fiji the retirement age is at 70 and I feel that I still have a lot to offer the Methodist Church and also to help out with the minister to be sent from Fiji to replace me,” he said.

Mr Kaci said his decision to remain in England mirrored that of a kinsman more than 180 years ago. “I have now completed the circle that a man from Fulaga, where I come from, began with the Methodist missionaries in 1835 to Fiji,” he said.

The Christian minister said his work with the Methodist Church in Britain involved looking after six English-speaking churches where the initial appointment was for five years.

“I am glad to have come to the home of John Wesley the founder of the Methodist Church and I intend to retire working in England.”

Mr Kaci acknowledged the people of Fulaga for their prayers and was content that he made them proud.

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