Your Excellency the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps;
Members of the Diplomatic Corps;
Leaders of Churches;
Invited Guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen.

Bula vinaka and a very good morning to you all.

I’m delighted to be here this morning as we celebrate the opening of the beautiful Moana Anglican Services and Teaching Centre here in the heart of Suva.

It is a privilege to welcome this new centre – which will be known as MAST – to our capital city. The Anglican Church, and its followers, are a tremendous source for good in Fiji, and through this new centre, I am confident they will continue their excellent work to uplift the Fijian people.

The Anglican community in Fiji serves under the Diocese of Polynesia, and Fiji is honoured to be home to the diocese’s Holy Trinity Cathedral right here in Suva. The diocese serves Anglicans not only in Fiji, but in Samoa, Tonga and the Cook Islands as well. And the MAST Centre will also be the hub for the work of the Anglican Church in the South Pacific.

Here at this new facility, as we look out over the stunning beauty of the Pacific Ocean, we can appreciate the splendour of the world that God created for us to enjoy. But we cannot pretend that the world is a perfect world. There are still many ills that plague human society, and Fiji has not been spared.

Whether it is hunger, poverty or injustice in any of its forms, our faith must inspire us to live by the word of God and lift up those around us to do the same.
Our Anglican community in Fiji does that – every day – in their work to care for those in need, comfort those in pain and treat every man, woman and child with dignity and respect.

In the aftermath of Cyclone Winston last year, I was very glad to see your community rally support from Anglicans around the world to come to the aid of those who were suffering from the devastation. And I know I speak for every Fijian when I thank you all for that effort. Again, you showed that the message of compassion that you preach is practised by your followers – who are fully dedicated to making Fiji a safer and more caring place to call home.

Through their service, Anglicans demonstrate the deep love they have for all of God’s people. Your embrace of the idea that all faiths in Fiji deserve respect and equality under the law shows that you truly live out the teachings of Jesus Christ. You bring love, understanding and knowledge into our society, and we look forward to many more years of working alongside your Church to serve and uplift the Fijian people.

In short, our Anglicans are valued members of the community of faiths in Fiji. Here in our islands, no faith is favoured, but all are given fertile ground to grow and prosper, and we are very pleased that you have chosen to grow in Fiji through the construction of this new community centre.

I’m told this centre’s facilities will be open as a venue to use for conferences or educational purposes for other groups and religious organisations. So this centre will become a true fixture of this community, open to Fijians of all backgrounds – a house of knowledge and inclusion.

I pray that this new centre serves this community well. I pray that the Fijian people can find warmth and peace in its halls and facilities. And I pray that we all continue to find the strength, to live out the teachings of Christ to protect the vulnerable in our society, and build a better world for all those who come after us.

May God bless you all, and may He continue to bless Fiji.

Vinaka vakalevu – Thank you.