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Easter services adapt to coronavirus restrictions

The state of emergency has changed the way Samoans have commemorated Good Friday and the Easter holidays.

Typically, Good Friday and Easter Sunday are spent at church and then families and friends for special gatherings 

But the nation’s state of emergency orders, extended on 4 Apr for four weeks, prohibit religious and all kinds of gatherings containing more than five people. 

That has left families with no options but to spend Good Friday at home. 

At Faletagaloa Safune, families of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa at Faletagaloa still dressed up in white on Friday. 

The minister for the C.C.C.S at Faletagaloa Safune, Reverend Vaueli, informed his congregation to wear white and wait at home as holy communion was given out house-to-house to each family in the congregation.

"The inability to host normal church services on this special day is disheartening," he said.

"However, we should not look at loss or limitation with any kind of resentment. Instead, look at it as an opportunity to strengthen family bonds even from a distance.”

He went on to say that there are other ways to convey the spirit and true meaning of the commemoration.

"This is our way of reaching out and making sure that we do our job as church ministers but at the same time, we have to make sure we do it the right way in compliance with the orders from Government for the safety of our people,” he said

The same process has been undertaken by the church on the first Sunday of this month. 

Members of the congregation all dressed up in white, from young to the old, despite their not going to church.

A deacon of the church, Tuliatu Iosua, said they miss having church services. However, he is optimistic that there are better days ahead. 

"Going to church every Sunday and worshiping together has become a part of our way of life," said Tuliatu. 

"So to stop church gatherings and other activities affiliated with the church is something that we Samoans find hard to accept. 

“It's not normal for us to not go to church on Sunday.

"However, we know it is done for a good reason. As we've seen on the news, the pandemic is not something we should take lightly.”

Tuliatu suggested that Samoans make good use of the current restrictions to return back to the basic necessities of life, especially family.

"We appreciate the effort by our church minister to make sure that we don't completely miss out on this very important commemoration,” he said. 

"To fight against this pandemic, we all need to work together and continue to pray for our country and our children. 

"I believe this will go away soon, only if we work together as a whole."

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