First indigenous Fijian bishop for Anglican Church
July 1 2005
First indigenous Fijian bishop for the Anglican Church
This Sunday, the first indigenous Fijian Bishop in the worldwide Anglican Church will be installed at a service at St Thomas’ Anglican Church in Labassa, Fiji.
He is the Right Reverend Apimeleki Nadoki Qiliho, and he becomes the first Anglican Bishop in Vanua Levu and Taveuni.
Bishop Qiliho was one of three new Polynesian bishops consecrated at a huge service at Suva's Holy Trinity Cathedral on Sunday, April 10. He was born in 1945, in the village of Rukurukulevu, Tikina o Cuvu, in Nadroga Province. After leaving high school, he worked for a couple of years for CSR, before being accepted for training for the priesthood.
He studied at St John’s College in Suva, and in Brisbane, at St Francis’ College. He served his curacy at St Luke’s church in Suva, where he filled several roles – including as chaplain to the Bishop; to the Community of the Sacred Name; and to St Christopher’s Home in Naulu. In 1982, Fr Qiliho was posted to the Church of the Holy Spirit in Ba, where he was also chaplain to the Melanesian Brotherhood. In 1985, he was sent to Hamilton, in New Zealand, to study management.
He also worked for the Diocese of Waikato. He returned to Suva in 1987, and has held a number of posts since then – as Secretary to the Diocese of Polynesia (1988-1994); Archdeacon of Suva (he was commissioned in 1989); and as Principal of St John the Baptist Theological College in Suva (from 1996). He was commissioned as the Vicar General (the priest who stands in for the bishop when he’s away) in 1995. In 1997 and 1998, he studied in the UK, in Birmingham.
On his return to Fiji, he was appointed Diocesan Ministry Officer – effectively, he oversees all training in the diocese. As Bishop Qiliho, he will continue this work in Labassa, where he will now be based.
In his youth, he was also an accomplished sportsman. He played provincial rugby (as a lock, and No 8), he was strong in field events in athletics – and he represented Fiji in indoor basketball at the 1971 South Pacific Games in Tahiti. Bishop Qiliho has three children. He is married to Taomi.
The other two new bishops for the Diocese of Polynesia are: The Rt Rev Gabriel Sharma, a Fiji Indian, who is the Bishop in Viti Levu West and is based in Lautoka; and The Rt Rev Dr Winston Halapua, a Tongan-born Fiji citizen, and who is the first Bishop for the Diocese of Polynesia in New Zealand.
He is the Principal of the College of the Diocese of Polynesia at St John's College in Auckland.
The three new bishops will assist Bishop Bryce, who says each is an answer to prayer – and a response to the needs of the people.
"It's very clear to me," says Bishop Bryce, "that for the work to continue to grow, we need to do everything in the language of the people."
1) The installation service for Bishop Api will begin at 9am on Sunday, at St Thomas’ Church, Nasekula Rd, Labasa. Accredited journalists, photographers and camera operators are welcome to record the event.
The Rt Rev Jabez Bryce, who continues to serve as Diocesan Bishop of Polynesia, will preside at the installation. He will be joined by the Rt Rev George Connor of Dunedin, who is the senior bishop in Tikanga Pakeha, The Rt Rev Gabriel Sharma, and Mr Robin Nairn, the General Secretary of the Anglican Church in this Province. The service is expected to take two hours.
2) A traditional Fijian welcome ceremony will be held for Bishop Api on Saturday at 2.00pm. Media representatives are also welcome to attend this.
3) A new bishop is first of all "consecrated" - as happened on April 10, in Suva's Holy Trinity Cathedral. That bishop is then, at a later date, "installed" in a particular diocese, or region. Bishop Winston Halapua was installed in Auckland's Holy Trinity Cathedral on April 17. Bishop Gabriel Sharma was installed in Lautoka on April 30.
4) The Anglican Diocese of Polynesia serves Fiji, Tonga and Samoa, and Pacific Islanders living in Aotearoa New Zealand.