The churches in PNG (and their connections) are powerful development partners. Over time, many churches have seemed to become passive in reaching the educational and health needs of the people. The reasons are debatable.
This article aims to reiterate the need to challenge and empower churches to meet the development needs of the country. It emphasises the statements made by prominent political leaders about the churches in PNG. Especially, the churches participation in shaping social developments in the country.
Recommended reading: Churches in PNG Used to Play Active Roles in Education and Health Delivery
Govt and Churches in PNG’s development
In a news article Papua New Guinea’s Rabaul MP, Dr Allan Marat is urging the public to recognize the Government and the churches as equal service providers for development services to the communities.
Dr Marat said the Government is focused on social services while the churches are focused on spiritual guidance and principles. He noted the historical fact that churches landed first in PNG followed by the colonial administration which established the govt systems.
Dr Marat said churches laid the foundation of converting the people to civilization and the colonial administration introduced physical developments to the people. Dr Marat
The mainstream churches pave the way for social and spiritual developments. They will continue to play a central part in the development of PNG in addition to their sole role of delivering Good News to remote and outer communities in PNG.
Churches provide for education needs
What happened early on in the life of churches in PNG was the fact that churches saw the need to also educate the people in a non-secular space. And, either heal the people or keep them healthy by providing health services.
Today, many churches have become passive in their effort to provide the education and health needs of the people. They saw it as the sole role of the govt in the face of lack of funding and other challenges they face.
Govt empowers churches in PNG
There are many reasons why many church-run education and health facilities are run down or the new ones are not built. There are also many well-run church-run schools, higher institutions and health facilities in PNG.
But, what is needed is for the government to empower (and urge) the churches to take on an active approach to development in the country.
Having said that, many Churches in PNG still play active roles. For example, the PNG Church Partnership is a UK-based mission agency dedicated to raising awareness and support for the Anglican Church in PNG.
The UK-based PNGCP fundraises and supports the church’s education and health programs. This is just one example of the church – still – working to meet the education and health needs in remote areas. Other churches are also doing the same in trying circumstances. They either depend on their congregation’s church donations, fundraise or other donations to help the mission social work.
Govt to directly fund Churches in PNG
What is needed is to reiterate the sentiments shared by Dr Marat. The govt should look at ways to make Churches take active roles in the delivery of education and health services. First is by urging them to do something and second is to empower the churches with financial assistance – direct funding.
And make it happen by urging the mainline churches to partner with the government. What the PM Marape said at the Lutheran Conference was on point. Read about it here: Lutheran Church in PNG Urged to Build University with Govt Support.
The prime minister urged the Lutheran Church in PNG to be active, rather than passive. The Church has to plan now (2020), build a Lutheran University within 5 years and open it in 2025.
The govt has shown leadership in urging the church to put to use its experiences and expertise. A step in the right direction. A challenge to make it happen. Furthermore, it would be the best thing to do.
Church: Key to reaching PNG rural population
In an article, the writer noted that over ninety per cent of PNG’s population are Christians. Eighty-seven per cent (ADRA, 2015) belong to the mainline churches in PNG. Many Papua New Guineans live in rural areas.
Furthermore, the churches in PNG are an important development partner for reaching the population. The govt can use the churches’ network as ‘vehicle’ for goods and services delivery.
Finally, there is so much the churches in PNG can do to meet the education and health needs of the country. But they cannot do more without any govt support. The churches network is vast and far-reaching. Churches are powerful development partners.