Sunday is a "holy day," C.C.C.S. stands by decision

The General Secretary of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa (C.C.C.S.), Reverend Vavatau Taufao, has denied suggestions that their eleventh hour decision, to stop five hundred students from taking part in the opening ceremony of the Pacific Games, is related to the ongoing tax dispute with the Government.

“The opening ceremony is scheduled on a Sunday and the church’s unwritten rule is that we cannot dance or even go fishing on a Sunday, it’s a holy day,” Rev. Vavatau told the Samoa Observer.

“We had only found out about it last Friday that the opening is on a Sunday and the church was not formally informed about the programme, in fact we found out about it through the media.

“The decision was then made that we cannot let the schools participate in it because it’s on a Sunday.”

The schools involved are Papauta Girls College, Maluafou College and Leulumoega Fou College. Rev. Vavatau assured that if the church had known about the programme being held on Sunday, they would not have let the students take part in the opening ceremony rehearsals.

Asked if this was the C.C.C.S’s way of getting back to the Government over the tax dispute, the General Secretary said no.

“No that is not why,” he insisted.

“If you look at it the church (C.C.C.S.), it is always supportive of government initiatives and an example of that is the Maluafou (College) which was one of the first schools that put up decorations to show our support.

“But to answer your question, the church’s support cannot overrule its position about the holy day. We cannot endorse something that will go against our normal practice of respecting Sundays.”  

As for concerns that the move from the church might affect future grants particularly in education from the government, Rev. Vavatau said this is not an issue.

He said the church does not base its decision on grants.

As a result of the unexpected decision from the C.C.C.S. church other schools have been asked to camp this week so they can learn the routines for the dances by the church schools in addition to their initial performance.

Disgruntled parents took to social media to voice their disappointment on the church’s decision.

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