The annual conference of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa came to an end on Friday when the assembly voted on key positions in the church.
The vote signaled the end of two weeks of meetings for the biggest denomination in Samoa, which saw hundreds of delegates flood to Malua for the annual pilgrim. Many of them came from as far as the United States, Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and other places.
The conference started with the women’s meetings. This was followed by the main conference which started last Monday.
The Elders Committee’s decision to stand down former Secretary General, Revered Afereti Uili meant a vote for a replacement had to be carried out for the meeting to proceed.
On Monday, Reverend Vavatau Taufao, who had previously been the Director of Education for the Church, won the vote with 383 votes as opposed to the other nominee, Reverend Talia Tapaleao who had 348 votes.
“It’s an honour for me to be given this great opportunity to serve the Church in this capacity. I will do my best to work for the betterment of the church,” he said.
“Never in my mind that I thought I would become a General Secretary at this time. But I’m grateful and I am honoured.”
With that out of the way, the General Assembly started and a number of development issues were on the agenda. These included finances, benefits, land and projects to improve spiritual lives.
In the middle of the meeting, a Court decision involving the Elders Committee saw the conference being put on hold for half a day as delegates gathered at Mulinu’u. The decision favoured the church and there were tears of joy that day.
Back at Malua on Friday, a new Deputy Chairman was elected. He is Reverend Tunumoso Iosia of Falealili. The new Deputy Chairman is the former Secretary of the Elders Committee. He won a ballot against Reverend Palemia Tauiliili, securing 337 votes to 320.
The former Deputy Chairman, Reverend Elder Tautiaga Senara automatically became the Chairman of the Church, replacing pensioner, Reverend Elder Tavita Roma.
With that, the curtains fell on this year’s meeting.
This weekend, many of conference participants from overseas are returning home. For some of them, they are taking the opportunity to visit families and spend some time in Samoa before they leave – until the next meeting in 2017.