Church minister supports Sunday restrictions
A senior church leader says he personally supports plans by Government to ban business activity on Sunday after the lifting of the state of emergency (S.O.E.).
National Council of Churches (N.C.C.) Secretary, Reverend Ma'auga Motu, said the Council is yet to discuss proposed plans by the Government to ban business activity on Sunday and reserve it for church services but he personally supports it as a church minister.
He said a few church ministers say the country is different now with Sundays becoming more peaceful, having its former sacredness returned courtesy of the S.O.E., which he said aligns with the Government’s intentions to keep Sunday holy.
"The people who are usually at the market on Sunday have now gone to their families for Sunday but before, the market seemed to be their family. It seemed like Sunday was not a holy day with the markets open," Rev. Ma'auga said in an interview.
Some fish vendors have expressed concern about the Sunday market bans, and say that it is still possible for them to sell fish and produce early Sunday morning and still make it to church.
But Rev. Ma'auga is of the view that selling fish and produce and shopping for the Sunday to'ona'i can be done on Saturday.
He said people will most likely feel tired upon their return home after selling on Sunday morning, which would result in them not attending church services, and added that the early hours of Sunday morning is the best time to prepare the "Sunday Umu" as it will be ready by sunrise. Rev. Ma'auga added that when businesses were restricted from operating on Sunday due to the S.O.E. lockdown, the Council was happy about the decision.
There are more people going to church on Sunday, according to Rev. Ma'auga, who added that other church ministers have shared similar sentiments.
"If the life of worship becomes sweet to the people of Samoa then God will bless the people who are selling fish and taro on Sunday. God is watching us. These things should be done on Saturday and not on the day of the Lord,” he added. "This is the reason why church ministers in villages are praying for the blessings upon the church and its congregation.”
Restricting business activity on Sunday will also ensure children are prohibited from selling on the same day, giving them the chance to go to church, added Rev. Ma'auga.
He said the person who has chosen to worship and become closer to God would not care about shopping on Sunday, and that they should be honest and pray to God to help them with their difficulties and leave Sunday to prepare their hearts for worship.
"Our country is different from other countries in the Pacific, why? Because of the life of worshipping God and our culture.”