South Pacific Division

Centre of Influence to Serve Community in Papua New Guinea

The CARE Inn has 10 rooms to accommodate those fleeing domestic violence.

Papua New Guinea
Jarrod Stackelroth, with ANN Staff
Pastors Richard Jacob and Solomon Paul at the front of Hagen Park church, Mount Hagen.

Pastors Richard Jacob and Solomon Paul at the front of Hagen Park church, Mount Hagen.

[Photo: Adventist Record]

The Western Highlands Mission (WHM) in Papua New Guinea (PNG) celebrated a high day of dedications on May 2, 2024, with a church, a redevelopment, and a new centre of influence all opened by Ted N. C. Wilson, General Conference (GC) president.

After officially opening the Togoba 1 church, Wilson moved to Hagen Park, where he opened the CARE Inn, a safe house and food hall developed to help the church reach out to its community.

Built next to the Hagen Park church, the CARE Inn has 10 rooms to accommodate those fleeing domestic violence. Downstairs, it also has a food hall and preparation area so that it can serve meals to those who are hungry.

The Hagen Park church choir sang a specially composed welcome song to mark the occasion. “Welcome, welcome guests and friends; we gather here at Hagen Park to celebrate the Center of Influence building opening,” the choir sang. “To live, to love, to serve the Lord always.”

In attendance were Ramon Canals, GC Ministerial Association secretary, and his wife Aurora, who takes care of spouses in ministry. Canals was preaching at a site nearby.

Becoming a Center of Influence means that the Hagen Park church can serve the local community every day of the week. Wilson unveiled the plaque, cut the ribbon, and after a prayer of dedication, officially opened the facility.

“This center will help and touch the lives of many people who perhaps would not [otherwise] participate in the wonderful ministry of Jesus,” said Wilson.

“This precious Adventist Possibilities Ministry center will have a two-fold purpose. First, it will meet the needs of those with special needs or challenges and opportunities. Second, it will enlist their support as part of God’s great church here in Hagen Park church to reach out to other people, telling them that Jesus is coming soon. PNG for Christ, all across this nation, is now proclaiming that wonderful message.”

CARE Inn is an acronym meaning Christ Attitude Reaching Everyone In Need. After the center was officially opened, the crowd moved to the door of the church, covered by a ribbon and balloon garland, where Wilson offered another prayer of dedication for the newly expanded and refurbished church. He then cut the ribbon and guests and members filed into the church to the sounds of the choir singing from the front.

Solomon Paul, WHM secretary, who attends Hagen Park church, welcomed the guests for the day and thanked Wilson for attending. Paul told the gathered guests that COVID restrictions had resulted in small group meetings and total member involvement. “When they came back to this church, the church could no longer house them all.” That is why the renovations and extensions were needed.

Richard Jacob, Western Highlands Province supervisor and Hagen Park church pastor, gave a brief history of the Hagen Park church. From the Togoba leper colony started by Australian missionary Len Barnard in 1947, Adventism grew slowly in the area. The first church service was held in 1986, after Adventists decided to start a church at Hagen Park two years earlier. Today, Hagen Park has grown seven churches and 10 company churches and is continuing to experience rapid growth.

Jacob told the attendees that the idea for the CARE Inn came from the story of the Good Samaritan, who brought the man he was helping to an inn to receive care. “This is a project that will sustain many souls,” he said, while paying tribute to those who “dug deep into their pocket to support this project”.

Wilson then addressed the church, pointing out features of the refurbished facility and the care that had been taken with the flowers and presentation of the church for the day. He thanked those who had built and prepared the church for the dedication.

“What a beautiful campus and representation of God’s witness here in Hagen Park,” Wilson said. “As we dedicate this church, this CARE inn, we put on the armor of light to be a witness for God in the most powerful way possible.”

He encouraged everyone present to realize the important part they had to play in total member involvement.

Wilson’s visit was part of the PNG for Christ program, held across Papua New Guinea from April 26 to May 11.

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

Subscribe for our weekly newsletter