A former Olympic sprinter is amongst 10 candidates in the running to be the next Bishop of Polynesia. The holder of the diocesan post will also become one of three Primates and Archbishops of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia (ANZP). The slate of candidates include two women, a cathedral dean, three senior educators, a vicar-general and three bishops. An electoral college will convene in Suva on 26 and 27 October to conduct the vote.
The three bishops are Afa Vaka from Tonga, Gabriel Sharma from Viti Levu West, and Te Kitohi Pikaahu from Te Tai Tokerau. The two female candidates are Sereima Lomaloma, Ministry Officer for the Diocese Te Kotahitanga and Dr Eseta Mateiviti-Tulavu, senior lecturer at St John's College in Auckland.
The other candidates are Tomu Asioli, Dean of Suva's Holy Trinity Cathedral; Fereimi Cama, priest at St Peter's, Lautoka; former Olympic sprinter Henry Rogo, priest in charge of Lotu Vaka Viti, a Fijian worship centre in Auckland; Sione Uluilakepa, Vicar of All Saints’ Church Fasi, in Tonga; and Orisi Vuki, Vicar General of the Diocese of Polynesia and Archdeacon of Suva
Under the canons of the ANZP, the decision of the electoral college needs to be approved by the Provinvce’s bishops and receive the support of the members of the General Synod. The announcement of the chosen candidate will be made once the processes have been completed.
“We thank all the nominees for the humble obedience, quiet courage, and care they've shown in putting their names forward for consideration in this sacred task,” Archbishop Don Tamihere, the commissary for the election, said. “We will be calling on all the parishes in the Diocese of Polynesia to gather in their houses and churches during the Electoral College, to keep vigil and to pray for the nominees and their families, for the members of the Electoral College, and to ask that God's blessing will be on the proceedings, and that God's will and only God's will be done.
“We ask also that all our brother and sister Dioceses and Amorangi in Aotearoa New Zealand uphold the Diocese of Polynesia in their prayers as well.”
The Arrangements Committee has commended the following prayer to the church's use:
Almighty God,giver of every good gift:
we thank you for giving us a courageous Archbishop, Winston Halapua,
to lead as Primate, in our Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia,
and as Bishop of Polynesia the many years he has served.
We thank you for his wife, Revd Susan and family
for their tireless support and contribution to his leadership.
Look graciously now on your Church, and send your Holy Spirit
to guide the hearts and minds of the Electoral College of the Diocese of Polynesia,
that we may receive a faithful Apostle who will lead us
in proclaiming the Good News of Your Kingdom,
teaching, nurturing and baptising new believers,
responding to human needs by loving service,
transforming unjust structures in the community,
challenging violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation,
and striving to safeguard the integrity of creation,
sustain and renew the life of the earth
with our brothers and sisters around the world.
We embrace with love and gratitude those who have agreed to be nominated.
We pray for ‘Afa, Eseta, Fereimi, Gabriel, Henry, Orisi, Sereima, Sione, Te Kitohi, Tomu and their families.
May we continue to voyage together with our new leader in Christ
and continue to care for your people and equip us for our ministries
in the Diocese of Polynesia,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.