Church, Govt. agree on S.O.E. orders
The Chairman of the National Council of Churches (N.C.C.), Deacon Leaupepe Kasiano Leaupepe, has offered full support to the Government's COVID19 State of Emergency orders, including the ban on church gatherings.
He also called on churches throughout the country to cooperate with the orders and use social media and TV to publicise their Sunday sermons.
Deacon Leaupepe offered the endorsement following a meeting with Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi to discuss the S.O.E. orders, especially the ones concerning church gatherings.
This is the second Sunday church buildings in Samoa will remain empty as members of the public have been told to stay home.
Last Sunday, despite the S.O.E., more than 50 churches persisted with their routine Sunday services. Police officers were called to some of the services.
In response, the Government has imposed hefty fines of up to $10,000 for people who violate the orders.The Police have also been given the power to enforce the orders on anyone who disobey.
Deacon Leaupepe said the National Council of Churches fully supports the S.O.E. orders in an effort to protect Samoa from the coronavirus.
“The Government of the Independent State of Samoa is founded on God,” he said.
He added that the church leaders came together to discuss matters with Government for the greater good of Samoa and its people.
“We had a discussion with the Prime Minister on the orders to close everything as preventative measures for the COVID-19. It is for the protection and security of our people amidst global pandemic and we thank God that we have no confirmed cases or anyone lying at the hospital with the coronavirus.
“This virus has claimed so many lives around the world.”
The N.C.C. Chairman added that the reason behind their meeting with the Prime Minister was to show their support for efforts done by the Government in enforcing the S.O.E. orders.
“Our duty as church leaders is to pray before the Lord and that is the Christian life in our country. The Government has endorsed the closure of all church services and gatherings.”
He also advised the public to watch church services broadcasted on television stations.
“It also a great time to pray with family members at the comfort of your own homes and don’t just wait for radio or television stations.
“Our people must unite and pray to God so our country will not be affected by the virus. I believe that God listens to our prayers and answers our needs and prayers.”
Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi said that it was their second meeting with the N.C.C.
“So far, our country is blessed but there are nine suspected cases left at the hospital with some awaiting test results.
“But the majority of those who were suspected of the coronavirus are cleared. Doctors are vigilant and alert at looking after those that came from New Zealand and have reported to be sick with the symptoms of the virus.”
He added that up till now, no one has been confirmed for having coronavirus.
“The S.O.E. is nearly over with its ending date on the 4th of April which is next week Saturday.
“And then from there Cabinet and the Committee will meet and discuss if there will any changes and we will also meet again with the N.C.C.”
Tuilaepa spoke on behalf of the Government to express their gratitude towards the church leaders and members of the N.C.C. for their prayer