Senior church Minister offers view on crime and social challenges
A senior Minister of the biggest denomination in Samoa believes working together as a community is the only solution to addressing the growing number of crimes and social problems in Samoa.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer, Reverend Elder Samuelu Limu Samuelu of the Congregational Christian of Samoa (C.C.C.S.) at Saoluafata, said the church also has a critical role to play.
"Especially the Church Ministers and leaders," he said.
"And I am not particularly talking about Church Ministers for the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa, I know it's the same for every other pastors from other denominations. It is part of our calling to help out in solving these issues concerning our people."
Reflecting on when he started as a pastor, Reverend Elder Samuelu said a lot has changed over time.
"It's different nowadays. I am not only referring to the youth; men and women are also involved in a lot crimes happening around Samoa even some church ministers are involved,” he said.
"But it wasn't like that back in the days. We didn't have such issues back in the days. However, it's understandable because that's how life is. Changes are inevitable and we are moving along like the rest of the world."
He reiterated that the church ministers have a huge role to play.
"For our church, pastors are the ones who nurture the spiritual lives of our children. Starting from when they are young with the introduction of literacy and numeracy through our Sunday schools and Pastor schools.
"We lay out this foundation for them with the belief that if we start them right at a young age, they will grow up and become very intelligent people not only academically but also spiritually.
"It was how our lives were formed up by our ancestors and forefathers. We were nurtured first of all in the comfort of our homes and the church. The elders of the church always emphasis on this and encourages all the Church Ministers to continue on this practice as it really helps our youths.
"We also try and engage them in programs so they are able to work with other fellow youth members and build relationships so they can learn from their experiences and a stronger bond in Jesus."
He added the issue of violence against women and children is one of the most perilous issues Samoa is facing nowadays.
However, he remained firm that the church is doing its job.
"We are doing our part,” he said.
“We preach almost every Sunday about sharing love and love one another equally and that violence is never the answer to our problems.
"And people of the congregation aren't always happy when we preach about these issues because some, not all of them are doing it at their homes.
“But that's what we are here to do. Preach to them and remind them that violence is never the answer but to live life in love and to work together and love one another.
"Jesus is the answer to any of our problems. No problem is too big for him. The church has a role, so as the village council, the government and also families. If we work together, it will make everything easy. It will make a huge difference."