I then introduce the UCWF and relate the circumstances and ceremony of the food presentation to myself.
I have made close alliances with people from both congregations, although my perspective here is that of a participant in the Iru-ale UCWF. The latter part of this article will demonstrate the degree to which, while doctrinal rivalries may manifest ontically, (that is, in the politics of daily life) underlying ontological imperatives sustain a sense of unity for the Hula which is experienced at a deeper level.
McDougall makes this point with respect to the Ranongga UCWF and tellingly cites a male pastor who lauded the UCWF 'as a model community organization': '"they have structure ...
From 1968, the UCWF combined the fledgling national women's organizations of the Methodist Church of Melanesia and the Papua Ekalesia (the former LMS) and provided a model for the development of other national bodies, notably the Catholic Women's Association in Papua New Guinea (Schoeffel 1983:14).
The fact that twenty women from one small village were allowed to attend a rally is testimony to the local power of UCWF groups, backed by the Church.
At least part of the problem was that some men regarded women's participation in UCWF groups as a leisure activity while the Church 'presents the UCWF as a Christian theatre of female enablement' (1993:26).
His comment is worth pausing over: only a few years ago, many men had considered the UCWF a waste of time.
The 1962 founding of the (then) Methodist Women's Fellowship (MWF) (it became UCWF with the change of church organization in 1968) is an event celebrated annually.
The original goals professed by the UCWF combined the classic Christian women's trilogy of religion, service, and family with a dawning sense of the potential for women's fellowship to unite women nationally, further community and national development, train female leaders, provide them with national and international experience, and intervene strategically with respect to social problems, especially abuse of alcohol.
Many of these women are still only beginning to expand their horizons from spiritual and religious to social issues or to value the experience of fellowship with women from different cultures and backgrounds--a tendency noted in the UCWF twenty-five years ago (Randell 1975:128).
embodies principles of being '"one people" under god', an inclusive collectivity rather than a bounded entity like the nation state or an ethnic territory.
Mata is the President of the local UCWF
, fulfilling what she describes as a Christian responsibility.