September 07th, 2017 Honiara - The role of churches in development and nation-building is the focus of discussion by faith leaders at the opening of the Solomon Islands Church Leaders Conference in East Honiara, co-convened by Solomon Islands Christian Association (SICA) and Solomon Islands Full Gospel Association (SIFGA) and facilitated by World Vision Solomon Islands.
Acting Prime Minister Manasseh Maelanga opened the two-day conference which has brought together faith leaders from SICA and SIFGA. The Acting Prime Minister says since the arrival of Christianity in Solomon Islands churches have brought peace, unified people and shaped the lives of communities over the years.
World Vision County Director Janes Ginting, Archbishop Christopher Cardone, Acting Prime Minister Manasseh Maelanga, Pastor Ellison Bako, World Vision’s Director of Faith and Development Ajit Hazra, World Vision Timor-Leste’s Jose Manuel Mendes
“Churches have played a major role in ensuring an environment in which the government can exist and they can also maintain peace and harmony in the country. They are a relevant partner in nation building.”
The Vice-Chair of the Solomon Islands Christian Association (SICA), Catholic Archbishop Christopher Cardone called on churches to work together as one, for the good of Solomon Islanders.
“It is good that churches come together despite their denominations to build bridges through this church conference to ensure blessings of better cooperation, working together as the body of Christ in building this nation.”
Also speaking at the conference opening was the Chair of the Solomon Islands Full Gospel Association (SIFGA), Pastor Ellison Bako, who said the conference highlights the churches’ role in national development.
“This conference highlights the seriousness of the role of churches as active participants in national development. SICA and SIFGA can use this conference as a platform for further dialogue and joint action towards development in the Solomon Islands.”
World Vision Country Director Janes Ginting said the conference is a good first step in bringing together church leaders to strengthen church partnership in addressing development issues in Solomon Islands.
“World Vision is very proud to be part of this conference, as facilitators, bringing together various churches to discuss their roles in nation building and in strengthening the role of faith for the development of Solomon Islands in particular for the well-being of children.”
World Vision’s partnership with churches includes the Gender Channel of Hope Programs, which has been implemented, over the past 4-years in Honiara, Temotu, Weather Cost, Malaita and Makira province.
The program engages church leaders and members, in mobilizing community awareness and education and in providing support to survivors of Gender-Based Violence.
As part of the program, there are 200 members of the Channels of Hope, Community Action Team in communities across the country.
Featured image: Acting Prime Minister Manasseh Maelanga with participants of the Solomon Islands Church Leaders Conference.