The popular 13 Days of Christmas of the Congregational Christian Church at Vaitele-Uta TV programme celebrated its 20th birthday in style at E.F.K.S. hall at Sogi on Thursday night.
Founded in 1997 by the late Rev. Dr. Faitala Talapusi, the programme has become a national feature of the Christmas festivities in Samoa.
The leading prayer was conducted by Rev. Elder Fa’au’uga Mata’utia.
In attendance was the Head of State, His Highness Tuimaleali’ifano Va’aletoa Sualauvi II, the Masiofo, Her Highness Fa’amausili Leinafo and Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr Sa’ilele Malielegaoi.
In his address, Prime Minister Tuilaepa congratulated the Vaitele-uta C.C.C.S for persevering with the programme despite many challenges. The most important thing, he said, is that the programme celebrates the arrival of Jesus Christ and the goal is to glorify God.
The 20th anniversary was celebrated with a concert organised by the Youth members featuring songs, dances and Biblical skits. The performances were based on theme “Celebrating the birth of Christ through lights and singing.”
The evening also featured numerous local leading pianists and music conductors including Leota Tima Leavai, Tanuvasa Fa’amanatu Solomona, Asiata Melvin Solomona, Sam Sopoaga, Iafeta Mata’utia, Rev. Letupu Mata’utia and others.
The late Rev. Dr. Faitala Talapusi, a former national rugby captain who became a leading theologian founded the programme while serving as a minister for the Congregational Christian Church at Vaitele-Uta from 1997-1998.
The C.C.C.S. at Vaitele-Uta was his first and last church he served with wife Tausalaatoa before he passed away.
The programme was so successful it brought together numerous choirs from various denominations to perform throughout the 13 days leading up to Christmas.
Rev. Talapusi’s replacement at Vaitele-Uta, the late Rev. Foma’i Lafaiali’i and wife Fausagafou played a leading role in continuing the programme until Rev. Foma’i passed away in 2012.
Today, the baton has been passed to Reverend Muao Su’a, who has vowed to keep the programme going as long as God desires.
Speaking about the celebration on Thursday night, Rev. Muao said it was a time to reflect, pay tribute and rejoice in what the programme has been able to achieve.
“The spirit has been the same for so many years since they started this, which is something we want to continue. It’s all about the peaceful celebration of the day our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was born.”
The hosts and hostesses of the night were, Clay Emau Tofilau, Fa’autu Talapusi, Angela Pauga-Fomai Lafaiali’i, Jedidiah Muao Su’a and Tapuali’i Epati Tamati.
The Congregational Christian Church at Vaitele-Uta was set up by the mother church in 1990 as a response to the growing number of people in the area.
Rev. Emau Tofilau and wife, the late Alaiumu Tofilau were the first church Ministers.
“The establishing of the church was all through prayers and fasting for I knew it’s not that easy because the area could be filled with people from all over the place,” Rev. Emau said.
“Even though it was hard from the beginning and the journey wasn’t easy as well but the Holy Spirit worked mightily in His ways.”
The Congregational Christian Church at Vaitele-Uta has over 600 members today.