Children banned from Sunday service
The Congregational Christian Church of Samoa at Vailele has banned children under the age of 17 from attending Sunday services.
The ban, which was enforced due to the Government’s measles state of emergency, was confirmed by Reverend Siaosi Salesulu.
He said the decision of the church was effective last Sunday, November 24.
The Reverend, who is currently serving as the congregation’s church minister, made the decision with other church elders and in consultation with senior nurses who are part of the congregation.
They also discussed the decision with the former National Health Services General Manager, Palanitina Tupuimatagi Toelupe.
"It was not an easy decision to prohibit children from going to church services," he said.
"My wife and I did a consultation and we have our church elders and we have nurses and they advised that it is important for the safety of the children.
The decision to ban the children has been relayed to the church’s members of Sunday school, youth groups and choir groups.
Rev. Salesulu said it was a concern that some parents are still bringing their children to church services despite increasing fears of infection.
“The wider community right now is in a state of emergency so children are not to attend and I tell them that we respect that but at the end of the day, they still come and bring their children," he said.
“I'm not going to turn them away from the church as I believe that's really Christian of them but I'm always warning them to be careful."
The C.C.C.S. church is also assisting families to get to vaccination centres to be immunised with Rev. Salesulu saying the church sent its truck to move families and their children to get life-saving vaccines.
The decision to assist the families was based on the advice of Mrs. Toelupe, who suggested that all families are vaccinated to prevent the further spread of the measles virus.
“Whatever works best for the church families, not to over commit to something that they know is not going to work and has no spiritual base to do it,” Rev. Salesulu added.
“There is no use in looking at their spiritual health while it will also affect their physical health.”