12 Apr 2005

Controversial healing methods of new church in Fiji

6:47 pm on 12 April 2005

Controversy surrounds the unorthodox healing methods of a new church in Fiji which has resulted in two deaths.

Radio Legend reports that a soldier given healing coconut oil by the One World Church and told not to take any other medicine died last weekend.

The soldier, who had kidney problems, was found dead in his room.

A retired nurse had died earlier after she was also told to stop taking hospital medicine and drink only the church's coconut oil.

A Methodist Church minister for the area, the Rev Viliame Caunabuna, says the man should have been directed to the hospital by the church group rather than being given coconut oil.

He says people should not be deceived and they should follow proper medical procedures.

The Catholic Church has also hit out at churches which are misleading the people on the teachings of the Bible.

The vicar general, Father Beni Kaloudau, says people should always be taken to hospital when they fall ill.

But the One World Church has defended its method of faith healing.

A spokesman, Elia Vesikula, says they believe the coconut oil symbolises the Holy Spirit and will heal any sickness.