Churches' gates closed on Sunday
All churches in the Apia township area had their gates closed on Sunday as the country entered the second week of a state of emergency (S.O.E.) lockdown.
Checks by the Samoa Observer found a lot of the church premises locked with the National Council of Churches (N.C.C.) Secretary Reverend Ma’auga Motu later telling this newspaper that they have agreed not to conduct Sunday services in line with the S.O.E. orders.
"I am certain that on Sunday no church in Samoa will have gatherings or service because we are going to follow and support the S.O.E. declared by our leaders," he said.
"Our television stations are to televised church service for our people, it is much safer that way.”
Reverend Ma’auga said while he understands that Samoa is a Christian nation founded on God, the country also needs to make a sacrifice.
"We all know and understand the need to go to church on Sunday, but we must stay home and pray from home as a family, this virus is not a joking matter so we must pray that it does not reach our shores. We can pray as a family and God will hear our prayers doesn't matter where," he added.
The Catholic Church and the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa (C.C.C.S.) are now internet live streaming as well as broadcasting their services on their church-owned television stations.
The Catholic-owned TV4 Upumana Catholic channel will televise mass and church activities for the duration of the S.O.E. These include programs connected with the church’s nine days of prayer and fasting against COVID-19.
The previous weekend – which marked the first weekend of the S.O.E. going into effect – a number of churches went ahead with their services, drawing criticism from the authorities including the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi and Police Commissioner, Police Commissioner Fuiavaili'ili Egon Keil.
Additional reporting by Maggie Kelekolio