C.C.C.S. elders' retirement officiated
A total of seven retired Congregational Christian Church of Samoa (C.C.C.S) Reverends were acknowledged for their long service in a dedication service at the Malua Jubilee Church on Friday.
Due to the international border closure, some observed the event live from overseas through Zoom.
The service witnessed by their children and families officiated the end of the Elders and senior Reverends' service to respective parishes they have been serving for long periods of time.
Amongst the acknowledged was Reverend Dr. Paulo Tema Koria.
He retired after 40 years of service to the C.C.C.S. and 15 years serving at the Faatoia parish.
The 71-year-old Retired Reverend hails from Saleimoa, Faleapuna, Fogapoa, Pata, Manu'a, Leulumoega, Saanapu and Faleu i Manono.
He is married to Uputuu Pouafe Koria from the villages of Aai o Niue, Salesatele, Salelologa, Mulivai and Manono.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer following the service, Rev. Dr. Koria said it has been an honour to serve the C.C.C.S. adding that it was never an easy road.
He noted that every chance he was given to influence lives he came across during his years is considered a highlight.
He said being in Malua Theological College was the biggest challenge for him, both as a student and a teacher.
Rev. Dr. Koria said looking back, dealing with students with diverse backgrounds in the College was the most challenging and finding the balance in ensuring they are taught properly was one of the biggest challenges as a teacher in Malua.
Asked for his advice for the current and coming generations of the College, the retired Elder said patience is key.
"Everything is a challenge, and that's why it's important to have patience and where do we get that patience? We get it from God," he said.
Rev. Dr. Koria advised that persevering with guidance from the Lord will bring them out of every possible challenge they will face saying without it, their efforts will be in vain.
He served as a teacher and the Deputy Principal of Malua between 1994 to 2000 before he was appointed as the Church Secretary from 2000 to 2006.
Prior to serving out his appointments in Malua he was in New Zealand for 12 years including his time on a distinguished scholarship to Otago University.
Rev. Dr. Koria added that while he has retired officially as a parish reverend, his service to the wider denomination continues.
Other Elders whose retirements were officiated on Friday include Rev. Elder Fa'au'uga and Maima Matautia Epenesa from the Tulaele parish, Rev. Elder Limua'a Pitonuu and Daru Samuelu from the Saoluafata parish, Rev. Elder Iosefa Aneka and Florence Tofaeono Tui from the Vaipunaoleola parish in Hawaii, Rev. Elder Timoteo Momoemausu and Saitutuila To'avalu from the Mutiatele Aleipata parish, Rev. Mafi Fa'amoetauloa and Lepetimalo Taviuni from the Fusi Safotulafai parish and Rev. Ruperake and Mary Petaia from the Gagaifoilevao Lefaga parish.