Theological students pass one component of training
A total of 23 students have passed one component of their training at the Malua Theological College in order to become fully-fledged theological students.
The names of the students who passed were announced publicly on social media pages just after White Sunday.
It is understood the 23 students who passed sat for the exams after Father’s Day this year.
The class include the following: Afaese Falana'i [South Queensland], Alipapa Tuuau Malaga [Lotofaga-Lepa-Aleipata], Aperaamo Apelu [Falealili-Safata-Siumu], Aukuso Eneli Gasolo [Ituotane], Caesar Utufua [Apia], Frank Faatau [South Queensland], Fale Laban [Eastern Apia], Kaleuati Tusi [Eastern Apia], Lance Junior Tautiepa [Queensland], Lualua Manila [Eastern Apia], Makarios Fatu Malaefono [Faasaleleaga], Makesi Namulauulu [Faleata], Misioka Nicholas Tanielu [Eastern Apia], Nuutasi Fuiavailiili Neria [Manukau], Peresia Muagututia [Lotofaga-Lepa-Aleipata], Samuelu John Ah Sam [Eastern Apia], Sebastian Tuifao [Queensland], Slam Opetaia Samuelu [Aana], Spencer Eseese Leuta [Ituotane], Talia Iati [Lotofaga-Lepa-Aleipata], Vagatai Muaau [Southern New Zealand], Viliamu Eletise Su'a [Apia] and Vincent Faaofo [Southern Apia].
It was not possible to obtain comments from the students due to the public holiday and the non-availability of the president of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa [C.C.C.S.].
It is understood the 23 candidates have to go through another process called the "Tautinoga" which is conducted by the Elders Committee to test behaviors, attitudes and characters of the candidates.
They also have to get clearance through the submission of their medical and police reports to ensure they are eligible.
Once all that is done, the students will be addressed as theological students and enter the White Gates next year.
Malua Theological College was established in 1844 with the objective of teaching and educating local students so that each village of Samoa would eventually have an educated pastor as a spiritual leader.
But by the end of the 19th century, a pattern of the ministry had emerged and was modelled on the Samoan village structural organisation aimed at preserving the value systems of the Samoan way of life.
The church community functions in the same way as the village, where five main groups – matai [titled men], spouses of matai, untitled men, unmarried women, and children – each have their own roles and responsibilities for the maintenance of order and welfare.
The village congregation is the basic unit of the C.C.C.S. with the pastor as the spiritual leader.
• This story has been corrected to reflect the fact that the training the 23 students received only marked the first stage of their bid to become theological students at the Malua Theological College.