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SUVA. Fiji (Fiji Times, July 24) – A condolence gathering for the late Methodist Church president, Reverend Jione Langi, is planned to be held on Tuesday.

Church assistant secretary Reverend Tuikilakila Waqairatu said Langi, who passed away last week, will be buried at the Methodist grounds at Davuilevu on Thursday after a church service at the Centenary Church in Suva.

Langi's death has been described as a loss to Fiji by Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase.

He said the former church president was an inspiring man of God.

Mr Qarase said the deceased visited his office regularly for prayer and devotion and reminded him that as an elected leader, he was accountable to God in ministering to the people of Fiji.

He said Langi impressed on him that leadership was a calling from God and it was a daily challenge to every leader to exemplify the qualities of a divinely ordained leader with humility, honesty, compassion and service.

"Today, we thank the Almighty for His blessing in giving us the privilege of sharing in the life of Reverend Jione Langi and of being a witnesses to his life of service to the people of Fiji," said Mr Qarase.

"On behalf of the Government and personally, I wish to extend to Mrs Langi and the family our sympathy and sincere condolence," he said.

Langi is survived by his wife and children.

The church has appointed Reverend Laisiasa Ratabacaca as the church's interim president until the annual conference.

The election of a new president will be held at the annual conference in Nadi.

An issue the church will discuss at the conference is the need to strengthen the family unit.

Mr Tuikilakila said the issue was put forward by the church's social services department, which has identified spiritual poverty as the main factor behind the high crime rate and HIV/AIDS prevalence in Fiji.

July 25, 2005

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