Lotofaga opens church building
It was a proud and happy moment for members of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa in Lotofaga as they opened their new church yesterday.
Present at the dedication service was the Head of State, His Highness Tuimaleali’ifano Va’aletoa Sualauvi II and the Masiofo, Fa’amausili Leinafo, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, Deputy Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa, Members of Parliament and village group members from overseas, who donated to the project.
After Tropical Cyclone Evan destroyed their church in 2012, the congregation decided that they had to build a new one.
Fiame told the Samoa Observer the construction work began in February this year, after about seven years of trying to collect sufficient funds and resources.
“We collected about $700,000 to construct this new church,” she said.
“We still have a bank loan with the National Provident Fund, over $600,000. I think we still might be able to clear it, which is a great thing for us.
“It’s not a very big congregation and most of the families, they are not employed and of course they are self-employed.
“We received donations from our village groups overseas, and also through fundraisings. Their dedication to the church is very strong and they are still very much connected despite leaving Samoa.”
It was also a humbling experience for the Deputy P.M. to see village members working together to complete the project, despite being mostly self-employed.
“The fundraiser last night (Thursday) saw the groups from overseas were here and making more donations. So it is just the spirit of wanting to participate and contribute,” she said.
“People are very strong in their faith and they give generously and they really don’t expect things in return.”
Fiame highlighted the importance of good planning and having sufficient resources to complete such tasks.
“These kinds of community projects, accountability is very important. We’ve worked really hard as a committee — not only to account to our congregation because we set out a plan then we go and implement it — but because we are also collecting money and so forth.
“Transparency is really important because it does build trust in the community and communication on what’s going on,” she added.
“It’s been amazingly easy, it was a matter of just collecting the funds because it was a contract work, and we couldn’t really start until we had sufficient funds to do it.”
Local firm Evaeva Construction undertook the construction, with Fiame indicating that although it was a business relationship, the company also accommodated and did the church’s other requests.