Sasina farewells old church building with service
As one chapter ends, another one begins as a special church service held at Sasina, Savai'i on Sunday saw the decommissioning of an old church and the start in the building of a new one.
The special service was the last to be held at Peteli, the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa (C.C.C.S.) at Sasina's old church building.
The service also marked the beginning of the construction work for a new church building for the Sasina congregation.
The service was conducted by Reverend Panapa To'o, of the C.C.C.S.
The Chairman of the C.C.C.S., Reverend Elder Tunumoso Iosia, and his wife Susana Tunumoso also graced the service with their presence.
Reverend Panapa was emotional throughout the service, while speaking about the history of the church from the time of its establishment until today.
It was also a day to reminisce on the sacrifices by their forefathers who paved way for them, according to Reverend Panapa.
"This church building has nurtured the lives of so many children of Sasina who are now leading successful lives and are achieving great things not only in Samoa but all around the world," he said.
"That is why this service is important. We remember the humble beginnings, the sacrifices and the prayers of our forefathers, we take a look back at the battles we fought to get where we are now, we reminisce on the fall we took and how far God has carried us through.
"This church has been the rock and foundation for so many of us, and as we bid farewell to the place where we worship for many decades, we are also gathered here to thank the Lord for his love and guidance.
"It is also an opportunity for us to beg for His love and guidance as we begin the construction work for a new building for us to worship him."
Reverend Elder Tunumoso was also given the opportunity to speak words of encouragement to the congregation as they start on their new project.
"It is not easy," said Reverend Elder Tunumoso. "This is the first time I've been to a service such as this. It is also my first time in this church building on the very last service before works for the new one begins.
"Keep working hard; God sees it all and will bless you all abundantly."
The Member of Parliament for Gagaifomauga No.3, La'aulialemalietoa Leuatea Schmidt also said a few words at the gathering.
La'auli thanked Reverend Panapa and the elders of the congregation for the initiative to build a new church building.
"We are all aware of the great loss we have economically as a result of the global pandemic," said La'auli. "However, that did not stop the elders and the leaders of this church and village from making such an important decision.
"Therefore, I encourage everyone to keep on keeping on. Keep working and keep giving, not to please people but God.
"Do everything with the belief, that God sees everything you do; he knows everything. There is no backing down at this point. Keep moving forward."
The C.C.C.S. at Sasina was first established in 1833 as recorded by Reverend Polutea Talitonu in 1911. Reverend Polutea Talitonu was the 10th Reverend to have been called to serve and look after the parish since its establishment.
Reverend Panapa To'o and Leafa To'o, who are now looking after the congregation at Sasina, is the fourteenth Reverend to have been called to serve at Sasina since 1833.
They started serving the parish in 1990 and renewed the church building in 1991.
The old church was the third church building they have had since 1833 and the new church they will now build will be their fourth since the church's establishment.