FIJI METHODISTS BATTLE KAVA DRINKING

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SUVA, Fiji (August 11, 1997 - PACNEWS)---Excessive yagona, or kava, drinking by Fijian ministers and lay preachers will be a major topic of discussion at the annual Methodist Church conference, which begins in Fiji's capital of Suva Friday.

Church President Dr. Ilaitia Tuwere says traditional, ceremonial yagona drinking is not a problem for the church, but excessive drinking is, adding that it "certainly is bad for one's health and family environment."

When he assumed office last year, one of Dr. Tuwere's first acts was to appeal to the Methodist clergy to cut down on use of the mildly narcotic drink. He plans to re-emphasize his position at this week's annual meeting.

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