by Margaret Rodgers in Sydney
"Continue with us in prayer and love," Bishop Bryce said to Bishop Barnett when asked what assistance Sydney Anglicans could offer to the Anglican Church in Fiji. Bishop Bryce said that they were waiting to see the outcome of the present events there.
Last week businessman George Speight with a group of armed men staged a coup in Fiji ousting Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry.
Both Bishop Paul Barnett, Commissary of the Diocese of Sydney, and Professor Michael Horsburgh, Acting Director of the Anglican Board of Mission, Australian, spoke with Bishop Jabez Bryce, Bishop in Polynesia at his home in Suva this morning, (22/05/00).
Professor Michael Horsburgh reports that Bishop Bryce and his family were safe, but that everyone had been advised to stay indoors. He himself had returned to Suva from New Zealand on the last available plane after the coup attempt.
Although there had been looting in Suva and some other towns, there had been no attacks on individual Indian Fijians. Bishop Jabez's Indian priests were all safe, although he had advised them to stay at home. The bishop had also asked his Fijian clergy and people to visit their Indian fellow Anglicans in a demonstration of care and solidarity.
The campus of the Pacific Theological College, which is close to the Parliament, is secure, Bishop Jabez said. The Rev Jenny and the Rev David Wilsher, two priests from the Diocese of Newcastle, who went to PTC as lecturers only three weeks ago with their four year old son, Joshua, are also safe and secure. Bishop Bryce had supported the President of the Methodist Conference in an unsuccessful attempt to enter the Parliament compound. The Roman Catholic Archbishop is presently out of the country at the moment.
"The events in Fiji remind Australian Anglicans that, even so close to home as our Pacific neighbours, our fellow Christians face situations in which they must seek to be reconcilers and healers," Professor Horsburgh said.
"This aspect of the Christian gospel is an ever present reality. We offer our prayers for our brothers and sisters in Fiji."
"Please continue in prayer for Bishop Bryce, his clergy and people, and the people of the Fiji Islands," Bishop Barnett said. "Pray that there will be a speedy resolution of this crisis so that all the people in Fiji, including the democratically elected Prime Minister and his Ministers, may return to their lives in security and peace."
CEO, Anglican Media Sydney