They came in mourning, covered with repentant ashes and mud and cutting their clothes—old people, adults, youths and children. The whole community cried and brought food, money and live animals as sin offerings and blessing offerings.
The reconciliation program in Nipuka, Papua New Guinea, December 14, 2017, was organised by the Geremiaka Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Eastern Highlands Simbu Mission. Nipuka community has many denominations: the Four Square church, Church of Christ, Evangelical Brotherhood church, Baptist church, Adventist and Lutheran church. Leaders from all those churches came together to participate in the reconciliation, together with Nipuka community members organised into families and clan groups. Also attending were residents of surrounding communities, including members from church plants associated with Geremiaka.
Representatives of the community’s traditional landowners said sorry for what their ancestors did to the pioneer Lutheran missionary who first brought the gospel message to the district—they killed and ate a donkey that belonged to the missionary. Former members who left the church many years ago apologised for their repeated poor behaviour. Others said sorry for vandalising the Geremiaka church sign. After all made their public confessions, the Lutheran and Adventist pastors responded with acceptance and forgiveness for the wrongdoings.
The gifts brought to express repentance and sorrow were accepted by the Eastern Highlands Simbu Mission while the blessing offerings were shared between the mission, Geremiaka and the Lutheran church. The program was closed with a confession prayer by Geremiaka senior pastor Jeff Kirupa and a blessing prayer by district director Pastor Elvis Bikikure.