News Release

President Thanks Faith Leaders For Help Combatting Pandemic In French Polynesia

He encourages continued interfaith support in 2021

President Edouard Fritch recently invited representatives from several religious denominations in French Polynesia to discuss social needs and ways to work together.

For the fifth year in a row, the event was held at the Presidency residence in Pape’ete.

Although the 2020 event was much smaller than in years past because of the pandemic, the interfaith event was imbued with a sense of peace, serenity and spirituality.

Elder Benjamin Sinjoux was invited as the official representative of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Also attending were representatives from Catholic, Protestant, Seventh-day Adventist, Assembly of God and Community of Christ churches.


The event underscores President Fritch’s desire during his term to unite the country around shared values as manifested in religious organizations.

“Looking ahead to 2021, I propose eight values that will help us build our relationships with each other and the people of French Polynesia,” said President Fritch.

“These are: solidarity, unity, sacrifice, effort, support, collaboration, sharing and healing. These Christian and human values are very present in Polynesia because you strive to make them live every Sunday in your churches, in your sermons and in your lives.”

He was very complimentary of collaboration between the churches, accomplished in the face of the pandemic to alleviate suffering in families. “You, and each of your denominations, have been a great support for the leaders of our country."

“The year 2021 will be a year of healing. I ask you to continue moving forward with determination and optimism despite the suffering of our people.”

Elder Sinjoux responded to the president by saying, “I commend you for your sincere desire to serve our people and to enlist the help of God and to convene all of us to help you do that. We must unite our efforts to preserve this great family that is Polynesian society by connecting them with God and His son Jesus Christ because they are the true source of peace, joy and success.” (see Psalm 37:3-9 & Isaiah 12)

He continued, “The President of our Church, Russell M. Nelson, has encouraged all people to give thanks to God every day through our prayers so that our families are blessed and our people protected.”

“I encourage us to look at the signs of hope that God sends to us,” said Monsignor Jean-Pierre Cottanceau, Archbishop of Pape’ete. “It is by working together that we can reduce pessimism and inequality. Let us also join together to protect life in all its forms. Life is priceless, so let us protect not only our families but also our islands, our mountains, our valleys and our environment.”

“Alone we are nothing but together we can create a work for the glory of God,” said François Piha’ate, President of the Maohi Protestant Church. “Let us leave COVID behind and serve with even greater strength.”

Emile Aumerand, president of the Mahina Tahiti Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, added, “It was very inspiring to be with the president of our country and our fellow church leaders. It shows that the Polynesians are a strong Christian people.”

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