Church workers in Fiji expressed concerns over increasing incidences of children indiscipline that often lead to the committal of crimes.
A monitoring evaluation workshop of pastoral counselling and peace building highlighted the issue as an important one to critically address at the national level.
The group of church workers were participants of a Pastoral Counselling and Peace Building Certificate Courses offered by the Institute for Mission and Research of the Pacific Theological College on 2020.
Some indiscipline issues include the use of illicit drugs. Anecdotal evidence of bullying mount.
Josefa Vosanibola from the Methodist Church of Fiji said the growing level of indiscipline observed by the church through its outreach programmes was indicative of festering issues of trauma that needs to be dealt with.
He highlighted the importance as well of training in Pastoral Counselling offered by IMR.
‘Being a lay pastor going through that specialised course in pastoral counselling has added vales to my community work especially in the church I work in,’ said Mr Vosanibola.
‘I’ve expanded in the area of putting together a data base from the normal forms we take out and identified the root problems that could be causes of traumas within the family or more adverse issues in society,’ he added.
The group identified a list of issues that needs to be addressed by a national forum.
Mareta Tovata from the Catholic Church prepares teenagers for the Sacrament of Confirmation.
She said taking the Pastoral Counsel Course Certificate One in 2020 helped her respond to teenagers.
‘The issues that children bring get more challenging these days,’ Ms Tovata said.
‘The training helped me on so many levels – understanding family, younger nieces and nephews and the community at large deal with issues,’ she said.
‘It grew my awareness of how mental health affects caring for individuals.’
‘The ecumenical nature of the training helped me understand the programmes of other churches like the Methodists and Seventh Day Adventists who dominate my village population,’ she added.
Vosita Lenisaurua is the Pastoral Counselling and Peace Building Courses Coordinator.
‘The learning will be used to improve our trainings,’ she said.
‘As well some of the issues identified like indiscipline in children will form the substance of discussions at the national level.’