A final service was held on Sunday before the demolition of the 33-year-old building at Salani Methodist Church.
Reverend Elder of Safotu Savai’i, Poasa Leaupepe led the service.
“Demolish the past; create today and tomorrow,” were the leading words of the service.
“Laying a good, new foundation for God’s work is a must and don’t forget that when we build together with God, nothing is impossible.”
According to the history of the church, a high chief from Salani, the late Sefuiva Sosiua brought the church to the village.
His Highness, Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi and Masiofo Filifilia
The current church building is the third one since it was established back in 1847.
“It was in 1840 that Sefuiva and two other chiefs, Ala’iasa from Falefa and Samuena of Vailele went back to Tonga and begged the church to send missionaries to continue the work of God in Samoa,” said Reverend Tupea of the Methodist Church in Salani.
“Missionary Peter Turner and other missionaries had returned to Tonga when difficulties arose during that time
“Then, two missionaries were sent back to Samoa - Peniamina Latuvalu and Panapasa Agalu.
Rev. Faimata Ali’imanu was the first pastor church minister who served in Salani from 1960-1962.
“The second one was Rev. Noa Aiono and he built the first church in the village in the same year (1962).
Rev. Tupea added that the third and current church building was erected during the time of the 18th pastor, the late Rev. Misilei Asiata, “and as you can see, this is the building that we’re going to demolish.
“We thank God for the past three church buildings that housed so many souls back in the days until now…and the glory must be unto Him for His Greatness upon each and every one of us.
“Today, this land where the church stands belongs to the late Sefuiva Sosiua and his family.
His Highness the Head of State, Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi and his masiofo, Filifilia Tamasese Efi, and other members of the parliament were also present.
The 33-year-old church at Salani, Falealili
“As a child of this land (tama-o-le-ele’ele) I am very excited to be part of this special service to come and stand together as family in building up the house of God.” Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi said.
“The most important thing is that we start and finish everything with help from the hands of the Almighty Lord.”
Donations for the new church building were offered by His Highness, Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi and masiofo Filifilia; Reverend Tupea and his wife Efo (Seumanu family) donated iron for the roof; Fuimaono Pati Fa’ai’uaso & Fa’ala’a and Fuimaono Alovae – chairs and windows.
Fuimaono Faipo and Tala’i’s children; Fuimaono Atanoa Aloali’i Alex Wright, Fuimaono Faipo and Tala’i and Pastor Fanuafou & Lesina Filipo donated a sound system and bricks, and Reverend Misilei and Talele Asiata, Reverend Poasa Leaupepe and Saeni, donated the furnishings for the altar.
The church in Salani was started in 1847 by some of the lay preachers inside a canoe house.
A list of lay preachers (a’oa’o and ‘au leoleo) and pastors at the Salani Methodist Church, Falealili from 1912 – 2016:
1. Lalomilo – 1912-1918, 2. Tanielu – 1918-1924,3. Setefano – 1924-1929, 4. Hakai - 1929-1935, 5. Fatu-1935-1943, 6. Siala – 1947-1951, 7. Foisa 1947-1951, 8. Kalapani 1951-1952, 9. Mailei 1952 – 1953, 10. Siliu 1953 – 1954, 11. Taulelei 1954-1960.
12. Rev. Faimata Ali’imalemanu-1960-1962, 13.Rev. Noa Aiono – 1962-1963, 14.Rev. Su’e Su’a – 1963-1966, 15.Rev. Viki Tupa’i - 1966 -1968, 16.Rev. Sega Aufa’i 1966-1968, 17.Rev. Vili Iosua - 1969-1976, 18.Rev. Misilei Asiata – 1976-1983, 19.Rev. Sa’olotoga Lefua – 1983 – 1990, 20.Rev. Fa’ai’u Ierome – 1990-1997, 21.Rev Taeao Matua 1997-2004, 22. Rev Iosia Faleupolu 2004-2011 and 23. Rev. Tupea Seumanu.