Return of normal church services welcomed

The Secretary for the National Council of Churches has welcomed the return of normal church services and operations.

The Council’s Secretary, Reverend Maauga Motu, told the Samoa Observer in a telephone interview that the increase in criminal activities during the state of emergency (S.O.E.) lockdown can be attributed to limited church services.

He said the return of two Sunday services for all churches in Samoa is a thoughtful gesture by the Government, which complements the fact that Samoa is yet to register a positive coronavirus (COVID-19) case.

“I give my full support to the Government’s decision and I thank them for this wonderful initiative for our people who needed this,” he said. “Whatever the Government decides is how we should operate.”

However, there are a few Congregational Christian Church of Samoa churches that are still following the old amended S.O.E. orders that restricted services and kept it to one a day, added Reverend Motu. 

“I don’t know if they are not aware of these changes or are they waiting until July for the lockdown to end by,” he added. 

Samoa's crime rates peaked during the lockdown, despite S.O.E. restrictions on public activity, which also saw a 40 per cent increase in domestic violence cases according to the Police.

There was also an overall average increase of 13 per cent in certain categories of crime.

But Reverend Motu sees a return to full Sunday services – as per the Government’s amended S.O.E. orders – as a solution to addressing the challenges that Samoa now faces.

“For families in the churches, they should all be proud to have more spiritual food to eat or in simple words, words from the bible to encourage them especially during these times of crisis,” he said. “And the families are used to having two churches on a Sunday as it’s always been since the beginning for all the churches so who wouldn’t be happy?”

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