Former Methodist president Rev Manasa Lasaro dies
Reverend Manasa Lasaro, well known for supporting Sitiveni Rabuka in the 1987 military coups, has died. He and others later took over the Methodist Church leadership from Reverend Josateki Koroi. Reverend Lasaro replaced Reverend Koroi as the president in 1993. Reverend Lasaro died at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva on Monday.
In a statement yesterday, Methodist Church in Fiji president Reverend Tevita Banivanua said the late Reverend Lasaro’s background in sociology and passion for social work and community development as well as his wider ministry was grassroots-based.
“Aside from his national leadership roles, he was involved in the establishment of many social empowerment initiatives, including the early squatter relocation programmes in Suva, which resulted in many people being resettled in Narere, Howell Rd and Jittu Estate communities before these were transferred to the state,” Reverend Banivanua said.
Reverend Lasaro’s life and career Reverend Lasaro, who was from Tavea, Lekutu in Bua, was a teacher of agricultural science at Ratu Kadavulevu School from 1960 to 1961 before joining the Fiji Police Force in 1962. He joined the ministry (Cavuti Talatala) in 1966 and began ministerial formation at Davuilevu Theological College in 1969, commencing ministry in 1970 in the Department of Christian Citizenship and Social Services. Reverend Lasaro was ordained as a minister in 1972 and served the Church in a number of different capacities. In 1972 he was appointed as the Director - Department of Christian Citizenship and Social Services, serving in this position until the end of 1974. During this time he also received a scholarship to undertake studies for a Diploma Social Administration in Swansea, Wales and a Master of Arts in Sociology from the University of Reading in the United Kingdom. From 1975 to 1980 he was a lecturer at the Pacific Theological College in Suva and was involved with the establishment of the Centre for Appropriate Technology and Development, serving there from 1981 to 1984, before returning to the Church’s head office in 1985 as Director - Department of Christian Citizenship and Social Services. · Reverend Lasaro was church General Secretary from 1986 to 1992 and served as President from 1993 to 1995. In 1996 he was both Principal of Navuso Agricultual School and Secretary for Christian Citizenship and Social Services. In 2000, Reverend Lasaro became the circuit minister in Makoi, and also served on a part time basis as Secretary for Christian Citizenship and Social Services in 2001 until taking on the role substantively in 2002 until retirement in 2012.
Legacy Reverend Banivanua said Reverend Lasaro taught him including Reverend Ame Tuague, the late Reverend Tuikilakila Waqairatu at the Pacific Theological College.
“His legacy of ministry continues today with his son Reverend Etuate, who serves in the Saukasa Circuit of the Bau Division. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Nanise, the children and grandchildren and the community in Nadera and Lekutu, Bua and the Methodist community as a whole,” he said. Reverend Lasaro is survived by his wife and partner in ministry, Nanise and three children and grandchildren. Edited by Maraia Vula
Reverend Manasa Lasaro.