Adventists Dedicate Church at Birthplace of Adventism in the Papua New Guinea Highlands

[Photo: Adventist Record]

South Pacific Division

Adventists Dedicate Church at Birthplace of Adventism in the Papua New Guinea Highlands

Togoba was the first place in the Papua New Guinea Highlands to have an Adventist presence when Australian missionary, Len Barnard, set up a leper colony there in 1947.

News | Papua New Guinea | Jarrod Stackelroth, with ANN Staff

After 30 years of planning and building, Adventists dedicated the Togoba 1 Seventh-day Adventist Church in a special service on May 2, 2024.

Ted Wilson, the Adventist General Conference president, traveled from the site where he was preaching in Minj, Jiwaka province, in Papua New Guinea (PNG), to Mount Hagen, Western Highlands province, to open the Togoba 1 church.

The church began in 1986 as a bush-material building before the members dreamed of building a permanent and lasting structure in 1995.

Elder Nori, one of the founding members of the church, and father of Roger Nori, WHM CFO, said the church members had been waiting for this day for a long time and were very excited to see it.

Seth Mungabe, Pathfinder leader, said “It is our blessing that Pastor Wilson will come to dedicate and bless our church.” The Pathfinders, Adventurers, and Youth Ambassadors lined up to welcome Pastor Wilson. According to Mungabe, the church has 180 members, 60 Pathfinders, 36 Adventurers, 20 Youth ambassadors.

In his welcome, Pastor Solomon Paul, WHM secretary shared that there are now more than 123,000 members in the WHM and welcomed Pastor Wilson on behalf of the Mission’s seven provinces.

“We also acknowledge our fathers and mothers who were the pioneers of this church,” he said. “To all the pioneers, this is the day we looked forward to and now it has come.”

Tagoba Church building

Tagoba Church building

Pathfinders welcomed the GC president

Pathfinders welcomed the GC president

Adventurers also welcomed Pastor Wilson

Adventurers also welcomed Pastor Wilson

Togoba was the first place in the Highlands to have an Adventist presence when Australian missionary Pastor Len Barnard set up a leper colony there in 1947. It was fitting then that Togoba was also the site of the Mega Health Clinic that ran in the week before PNG for Christ and administered more than 18,000 treatments to those who came from all parts of the country.

Pastor Paul reminded the church that this mega health clinic was going back to where they had started in the region—helping and healing people.

Before praying and officially dedicating the church, Pastor Wilson addressed those gathered in celebration. He likened the church members to the table in front of him having four legs—physical, mental, social and spiritual. “When one of those legs is not working right, the table doesn’t work.” He encouraged them to continue the work of their forebears.

“Thank you for your faithfulness,” he said. “From that humble beginning helping lepers, God has helped you realize the importance of health and service.”

“A church is not just a building,” he continued. “A church is the people. Yes, it stands as a great symbol of invitation, a sentinel a proclaimer of truth. But it is only when people go out and visitors come in that lives are changed.

“God asks for us to be active in our work. Diligent people who are focused on a mission. Togoba church can be a place of activity and competence.”

The original article was published on the South Pacific Division news site, Adventist Record.