Sunday, July 3, 2011
Feasting in Tonga
This is the largest church in Tonga by a stretch but if the recent appearance of many new Mormon churches is any indication the balance may be shifting. Parts of the Conference were live telecast on TV and radio including the election of the President (front page headlines the next day in the newspaper), the coming year's placement of Ministers, the Queen's address and the ordination service.
There was a big emphasis on fundraising. One day was given over to mark the 145th anniversary of Tupou College for which over $1million had been raised in a special effort campaign. The choir night on the Saturday raised over $100K using the confronting method of sticking money onto the dancers skin. I danced myself, with the Australian contingent, but don't think my moves raised much money!
The Uniting Church in Australia has many Tongan members who come from this church and contine to stay closely connected. We are receiving increasing leadership from ourTongan members and Ministers and currently 5 of our mission volunteers work with the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga. It's a very important relationship - hope I can get there again next year.
In the meantime I need to work on a few more dance moves and practice the tenor line in the Hallelujah chorus - I reckon it will be as close as I ever get to singing in the heavenly choir.