Church celebrates 50th anniversary
The Congregational Christian Church of Samoa in Christchurch, New Zealand celebrated their 50th anniversary last week.
The church service on Sunday, 17th of April 1966 saw the official opening of the first Congregational Christian Church in the South Island; which was the 5th in New Zealand.
The officiating leader of the opening ceremony in 1966 was Rev. Siaosi Ieriko, the Elder Minister from Auckland, and the sermon was delivered by Rev. Siataga Tuiataga from Samoa.
The brief history of the church saw 5 families-with 28 or more peoplw, responsible for the inception of the said congregation on that Sunday.
That initial ceremony was conducted at a venue formerly known at the time as the Friendly Hall at Hastings Street in the area known as Sydenham, Christchurch.
The deacons A’oga Tima’i and Afioga Mafola Timaloa-were representatives of the E.F.K.S from Auckland, whilst the deacon A’oga Ta’avao Pulepule Aiono, represented the E.F.K.S from Wellington.
This ceremony also saw the ordination of Nasdau Fuimaono and his wife Lima; So’iso’i Manu and Loimata as well as Anetone Simanu and Sina-as deacons of the congregation.
It also dealt with the official recognition once again of the appointment of deacon of the orator Fe’aunati and his wife Atoalii from Samoa.
These deacons were responsible for the work in its initial stages.
The first ever pastor of the E.F.K.S. in Christchurch was Sekone loane and his wife Avae’e. Sekone and Avae’e had signed an agreement with the congregation in October 1967.
It has been revealed these were the hardest times of God’s work in this city. However, God has been very supportive of the pastor and his wife.
The year, 1974 saw Sekone and Avae’e leave after serving for (8) years to be in line with the decision of the Church.
The second in line was Tepa Faletoese and May. He entered into contract with the congregation in September 1974.
Rev. Tepa and May were also appointed the Elder Pastor of the Church in the South Island.
The time of Tepa and May in the congregation saw the purchase of the church building and the hall at the Colombo corner and Brougham Streets to be the personal property of the E.F.K.S. These properties were blessed on the 23rd April 1977.
The church was named: “The Cross of Victory", whilst hall was christened “The Abode of Rest".
These names are still maintained for the existing church and the hall.
However, when Tepa and May retired on the 14th of May 1980, the Elder and his wife did not return to continue their work. They have moved to Australia to stay. Rev. Tepa and May also established the first E.F.K.S church in Sydney.
Temo Pati and his wife Faafe’ai was the third pastor. He entered into agreement with the congregation in Christchurch on Saturday 25 April 1981 and left the church in 1984.
The fourth and the current pastor is Rev. Tumama and Elisapeta, they had an agreement with the church on the 5th February in 1985 and they’re still with the them until today.