TONGA REVEREND QUESTIONS CHURCH ‘EMPIRE BUILDING’

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‘We are building a kingdom of bricks, wood, and stone’

By Faka’osi Maama NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Taimi Media Network, June 7, 2011) – One of the leaders of the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga, Rev Dr Mohenoa Puloka has spoken out against what he calls "Empire building by the Church" instead of saving lives.

Dr Puloka who gave the keynote address at the Britt Lectures in Hawaii said the church in Tonga is spending more time with materialistic projects like building churches, school halls, rather than building people’s lives.

"Everywhere we turn there is a fundraiser by the church, and it is usually for construction… we hold so many fund-raising concerts, we go overseas to beg for money from our people… almost every time we are so engaged in raising money for something… yet we do very little to build up the lives of our people," Dr Puloke told the media.

Dr Puloka says that he has given a proposal to the church if for a period of three years, they could cease from constructing buildings, and spend the time building up people – "visiting them, teaching them, praying for them, saving their souls."

Much money is raised from overseas Tongans for projects in Tonga, but Dr Puloka claims that most Tongans overseas put their money in the fundraiser and fail to pay their rent or provide food for their families.

Many of the Church’s fundraising projects are done from poor communities, people who can hardly afford to live above the poverty line.

"We are building a kingdom of bricks, wood, and stone… which will rot and be destroyed tomorrow. The kingdom of God is of no end, and that is what we should be building," Dr Puloka says.

Dr Puloka was Principal of Tupou College, as well as Sia’atoutai Theological College, before taking up his current ministry of providing on-going training for ministers of the Church.

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