11 December 2020 | On November 29, Papua New Guinea (PNG) prime minister James Marape challenged Adventist leadership in his country to grow the denomination’s membership in the nation to one million.

According to the Adventist Record, Marape, himself an Adventist, addressed the opening of the Papua New Guinea Union Mission (PNGUM) sixteenth business session via Facebook livestream.

“The Adventist Church is not growing at the same rate as PNG’s population,” said the prime minister (PM). “You should aim to reach 1 million members by the end of the next five-year term.”

“While Marape has no scope to influence the Adventist Church strategy, his speech seemed to inspire delegates and was a highlight during the first day of meetings,” said the report from the Adventist Record.

The opening program introduced the newly appointed administration team of Malachi Yani (PNGUM president) and Leonard Sumatau (secretary.) 

Outgoing PNGUM leaders Kepsie Elodo and Henry Monape were thanked for their service.

PNGUM runs nine local missions and one conference, in contrast with the government organization of the country into four provinces to govern the country. The impact of changing the denomination’s organization of PNG work to match that of the government was discussed.

Marape has served as PM in PNG since May 2019.

He has been a member of the National Parliament of the country since July 2007. Marape held Cabinet positions as Minister of Education (2008–2011) and Minister of Finance (2012–2019).

When Marape was sworn in as PM, he was quoted as saying he wanted PNG to be “the richest black Christian nation” in the world.

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