This message was delivered on his behalf by Dr Tau Goa, Executive Manager, Technical Health Services with National Department of Health, at the official opening of the Islands Regional Church Leaders Sensitization Workshop in Kokopo on Wednesday (Sept 23).
The two-day workshop, organised by the Papua New Guinea Council of Churches, is focused on transition to a new normal in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister Wong said in the short history of our country, no single entity has effected as much change as the church.
“The Council of Churches for example has over 8 million members around the country through their mainline church network and affiliates. Simply put – you are vital if we want our people to take notice.
“The Government and me as your Health Minister, now come back to you to ask for assistance in driving our important COVID-19 messaging and protocols through not just your flock, but your wider communities.
“COVID-19 has not discriminated. It has taken the world’s best doctors, teachers, students, politicians, athletes, business men and women and even your colleagues in the churches around the globe. COVID-19 is real.
“We are being forced to change the way we consume goods and services, how we socialise, how we gather for important family and cultural obligations and unfortunately, even how we worship.
“It is true that we need God more than ever to come into our lives and give us the strength, knowledge, wisdom and understanding to effect the changes we must to save ourselves, and our communities – but like all things, it must start with our discipline and our willingness to convict ourselves to the cause. This is where the Church can help. This is where we need you.
“I thank the Council of Churches for engaging with the National Control Centre, for stepping up during this critical time when the Government needed assistance to reach the most remote corners of our great country to deliver information like only the church can.
“I thank the PNG Council of Churches general secretary, Reverend Roger Joseph, and His Eminence Cardinal John Ribat who have been with us from the onset – guiding us, praying with us and committing all our efforts to God. We would not have come this far.”
(From left: Dr Tau Goa, ENB Deputy provincial administrator Corporate Services Grace Burua and Rev Roger Joseph at the opening of the workshop)