Church dedicates service to new school year
The Congregational Christian Church of Samoa Tanugamanono has dedicated a thanksgiving service to all children returning to school on Monday to kick off the 2021 academic year.
The children of the church’s congregation members wore their school uniforms to the Sunday service as part of the thanksgiving service.
The message of encouragement that was relayed to the students focused on the "Journey of a pencil".
The students-focused service had already concluded when the Samoa Observer arrived at the church.
However, the church’s youth president, Siligatusa Alosina Ropati, said that this is an annual service done before the children start school every year.
"We had a thanksgiving service today for all the children and students going back to school for this year and as they prepare for another academic year," he added. "Every year we have this thanksgiving service at this time around for the children going back to school because most of the schools start back tomorrow.
"The message for the children today was about the journey of a pencil."
Mr Ropati added that the service also included four of their boys, who are students at the Malua Theological College and led the Sunday service.
"Not only for the students but four of our boys who will be starting at Malua Theological College this year.
“Two are new students at the college, one is a second-year student and the other is in his third year.”
The message that came out from the Sunday service placed an emphasis on the journey of a pencil, which Mr Ropati said is their interpretation of encouraging the children to look after themselves, and ensuring that they are strong, brave and have the right mindset to strive to be the best in school this year.
"We’ve interpreted it into that theme, “journey of the pencil” because remember, we can break the pencil which means that for instance some students might give up on their studies or drop out of school," the youth president said in an interview. "Imagine a pencil, one student can break the pencil or another can throw it away in the rubbish, so we interpret that in a way that some students are like that with their academic lives.
“It’s either they drop out of school or along the way they forget about their studies and start drinking alcohol and smoking."
The church service message also emphasised the need for students to look after their pencils well and wisely as it can carry them through to a bright and successful future.
"The sharpen your pencil is the brightest and determined you will be towards the path of success and you are able to achieve your dreams," Mr Ropati added.