By Gary Hatigeva
A total of 14 churches within West Honiara have yesterday received the Constituency’s tithe contribution of $200,000, allocated through all constituencies from both the Ministry of Home Affairs and Member of Parliament, Namson Tran.
They are the White River, Mbokona, Tuvakaoni and Wind Valley SDA churches, the St Alban and St Francis Parishes of the Anglican Church of Melanesia, St Michael and St Anthony churches of the Roman Catholics, the Namuruka, Wind Valley and Forest Valley SSEC churches, the Tasahe Cell Group, Christian Life Centre, and the Apostolic church.
Churches were represented by church leaders to receive their respective donations in a low key handover ceremony.
Presenting the donations on behalf of the MP, Constituency Development Officer (CDO) Brian Taupiri explained that the actual allocation from the Ministry was $100,000, a huge reduction from the usual amounts, which was always around $200,000 to $300,000, while the other $100,000 came from the MP’s personal funds.
The reduction was due to a major slash in the 2018 government budget allocations, an exercise that was heavily felt right across almost all government ministries.
However, this challenge has not stopped churches within West Honiara to receive almost the same allocations they have been receiving in the past three years, thanks to the MP who saw the importance of ensuring all church programs are not affected due to government constrains.
MP Tran also used the opportunity through his CDO, to express his continuous appreciation towards the work of churches in communities within the constituency, a matter that continues to go unnoticed.
Taupiri further explained that the MP remains grateful to churches for their crucial role in maintaining peace and unity amongst communities, and citizens within the constituency, and stressed that by having a reduction to this allocation will also have a huge impact on these good works.
The CDO added that the a lot of these churches particularly, the smaller ones, have over the years, been factoring the church allocations into their budgetary programs, many of which have been to serve the sick, the hungry, and the old people, including those that have been victims of domestic violence.
“And the MP therefore thought that with the Ministry’s allocation alone is not enough, as a lot of important programs under these churches will be affected, so he decided to put in the other $100,000 to bring the allocation status to just around normal for all,” Taupiri explained.
Speaking on behalf of the church leaders and elders present at the ceremony, Reverend Charles Soto of the Apostolic Church thank the government, particularly the MP, for continuously recognising the work of churches in his constituency, a matter that is always constrained by finance.
“But thanks to Honourable Namson Tran, we the churches in the West Honiara Constituency have consistently been receiving this allocation to, since he came in to office in 2010.
“And obviously, these donations will continue to enable the work of all churches to help the people of God not in just West Honiara, but so as in other places that need help from churches,” Reverend Soto shared.
The Church Tithe is a government allocation given to churches through constituencies annually, and the $200,000 comes as part of this year’s allocation.