The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Papua New Guinea (PNG) has condemned the recent killing of church members in Pialya, Enga province.
Church president Kepsie Elodo said it was not right for people to kill others intentionally, adding tribal wars in the Highlands region and other parts of the country must end.
“I condemn the killing of a deacon and two other people by opposing tribes and also extend my condolences on behalf of the Church to their grieving families,” Elodo said. “Such killings are uncalled for. Human lives must be respected because they are God’s creation.”
According to a report from Western Highlands Mission communication director Solomon Paul, a group of church members and evangelists were heading to Komaga to preach when an enemy tribe ambushed them on March 2, 2020.
A deacon was killed, along with two others who were preparing for baptism, Paul said. A further two people who had been shot were taken to hospital for treatment.
“Tribal fights must stop as they are contributing to the loss of innocent lives and property,” Elodo said. “Let us seek the help of God and those who can negotiate peace for our communities.”
Church Situation in PNG
The rise in tribal violence happens at a time when the Seventh-day Adventist Church in PNG has closed its office as a preventative measure in light of the growing spread of COVID-19, church leaders reported.
Following the government’s announcement of a state of emergency, Elodo said on March 23 that the church office in Lae and its local mission and conference offices across the country are closing and should reopen on April 14.
Elodo said all church-operated schools, including Sonoma Adventist College, will also be shut. However, all church-run health facilities will remain open, he emphasized.
He added that there is a ban on staff travel up to April 30. Adventist Aviation Services has also stopped its operations for an indefinite period.
Elodo said there will be no gatherings at churches for the next few weeks.
“We will support the government on the position it has taken in light of the coronavirus … there will be no church gatherings over the next few weeks. However, I encourage all Seventh-day Adventists to continue to pray and study the Bible as families and in small groups,” he said. “As we study and pray, we must look forward to the coming of Jesus Christ. Please pray continually about the coronavirus and the effects it is having on humanity.”
Elodo also encouraged everyone to tune into Hope FM to listen to messages of hope. The radio station will air sermons, health tips, and awareness on coronavirus.
Meanwhile, the Adventist Church’s major evangelistic campaign “PNG for Christ,” which was planned for May 1-16, and the region’s 16th constituency meeting scheduled for September 20-23, have been deferred until further notice.