Rev. Elder Setu's 47 years of devotion and faith

By Sialai Sarafina Sanerivi 22 May 2024, 8:00PM

Reverend Elder Fa’atulituli Setu, a dedicated servant of God, is gracefully stepping down from his role as a church minister after an illustrious 47-year tenure.

On Wednesday morning at the Malua Jubilee, Rev. Setu and 10 other esteemed retiring Reverends were honoured for their service to the church.

Rev. Setu reflected on his journey with immense satisfaction. He was confident that he had fulfilled the divine purpose of his life.

Rev. Elder Setu’s path in the ministry began with a profound calling. One that led him to devote nearly five decades to the service of the Congregational Christian Church Samoa (C.C.C.S.). 

His journey was not only about leading congregations but also about nurturing future church leaders as a teacher at the church's theological college in Malua for 18 years. 

His dual roles exemplified his commitment to spreading the gospel and fostering spiritual growth within the community.

The special dedication service, led by the C.C.C.S.' General Assembly's Chairman, Reverend Auatama Esera, was attended by hundreds of families, friends, loved ones, and church members. This heartfelt gathering celebrated the Reverends and their wives, acknowledging their tireless dedication to spreading God’s message and serving the church.

In an emotional interview, Rev. Setu expressed his gratitude and overwhelming emotions upon reaching this significant milestone. He candidly shared that the journey of a church minister is fraught with challenges and temptations. 

As the eldest son, he felt a deep sense of obligation and was inspired by his father's life of service and sacrifice.

After obtaining his Bachelor of Divinity and Master’s degree in Church History from the Pacific Theological College in Fiji, he became one of the first four graduates from the region's theological college to achieve a master’s degree. 

Upon returning to Samoa, he was asked to teach at Malua, where he encountered and addressed challenges within the theological training system. Rev. Setu advocated for equality among students, emphasising that all should be treated with equal respect, regardless of their year of study.

His tenure at Malua from 1989 to 2004 was transformative, both for him and for the many students he mentored. Rev. Setu and his wife, Meripa, played pivotal roles in nurturing aspiring ministers for the C.C.C.S. church. 

Meripa trained ministers' wives in various handicrafts, further enriching the community. Their contributions have left an indelible mark on many who now serve in parishes across Samoa and abroad.

In 2004, Rev. Setu and his wife answered the call to serve at the EFKS Hutt Valley parish in Wellington, New Zealand. The transition was challenging, but their dedication and energy ensured a successful tenure. 

As he now steps into retirement, Rev. Setu is heartened by the love and insistence of his church family in Wellington, who have urged them not to leave immediately. “That tells us that we did something right,” he said with a smile. “Otherwise, they would have asked us to leave right away. But I feel like we have served our purpose and done what God wanted us to do. We are happy and humbled.”

When asked to encapsulate their 47-year journey in one word, Rev. Setu chose “energetic.” He elaborated that the path of ministry, while difficult, is filled with joy, passion, and immense satisfaction. “My wife and I served with all the energy and gifts that we had. I think we made a great team and gave all our energy to serving God.”

Rev. Elder Setu hails from the village of Fusi Safotulafai, while his wife Meripa is from Moata'a. The other retired Reverends honoured at the ceremony included Rev. Sisigafu'a and Paratisa Bentley, Rev. Pepa and Ailini Ta'avao, Rev. Viliamu and Kathryn Chan Foung, Rev. Oliva Tia'i, Rev. Elder Va'aelua Patu, Rev. Fiatepa and Penina Fa'aee, Rev. Elder Vaigalo and Petimara Maua, Rev. Lauama and Elieta Fonotaga, Rev. Iakina and Ronina Alefaio, and Rev. Susuga and Fa'asasalu Alesana.

As Reverend Elder Fa’atulituli Setu retires, his legacy of faith, dedication, and energetic service will continue to inspire and guide future generations. His life's work stands as a testament to the power of answering a divine calling and living a life devoted to God and community.

By Sialai Sarafina Sanerivi 22 May 2024, 8:00PM
Samoa Observer

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