Manase dedicates new church building
State of emergency restrictions could not slow down the construction of a new building for the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa (C.C.C.S.) at Manase, which was opened on Saturday.
The dedication service was officiated by Reverend Elder Tanielu Apineru of C.C.C.C.S Safotu.
Among the guests were the Chairman of the C.C.C.S, Reverend Elder Tunumoso Iosia, Minister of Health, Faimalotoa Kika Stowers, Member of Parliament, La'aulialemalietoa Leuatea Schmidt, and hundreds of people who gathered to witness such an important occasion.
Susana Tunumoso, wife of the C.C.C.S. Chairman was given the honour to cut the ribbon to officially open the new building.
The $450,000 new church building was built in just under three months.
Even as the global COVID-19 pandemic spread across the world at the time, Manase’s plans continued.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer after the service, the Reverend in charge of the Manase parish, Reverend Filipo Vili, was overwhelmed with excitement.
"We are so happy and grateful to God for everything," he said.
"We thank God first and foremost for His love and grace; we truly believe that He has been with us from the beginning of this work, and if it weren't for Him, this dream wouldn't have come true."
Like anything in life, Reverend Filipo admits they encountered a lot of obstacles while working on the new church building.
"Especially as we started this work or project at a time where there was a global health issue and it was difficult to adjust to the orders of the [state of emergency],” he said.
"It was hard trying to work on this project while also making sure we do not go against what has been laid out for us as preventive measures for the global pandemic.
"Policemen have visited us and advised us on the work that we did, so we practised social distancing while carrying out construction work and limited the number of people at work.
"There were many challenges, but we were able to overcome it.
"We also have families and relatives who donated to this work who wished they were here to witness firsthand this great work, unfortunately, because of the borders being closed, they couldn't be here.”
Restrictions also did not stop the church from hosting a thanksgiving service to open the church, Reverend Vili said.
"The highlight of this work for us and for me personally is that even with the little people we have in our church family, we were able to complete this,” he said.
The congregation includes 82 people and only ten families, Reverend Vili said:
"We are also shocked that we only did this in less than three months."
The Chairman of the C.C.C.S., Reverend Elder Tunumoso Iosia, spoke on behalf of the church to congratulate Manase on such an achievement.
"Not all congregations can do what you guys did," said Reverend Elder Tunumoso.
"It's not easy, especially when there are a few of you, who did this work.