23 Jan 2017

Samoan parish and Congregational Christian Church at odds

9:02 am on 23 January 2017

In Samoa, the parish of Si'ufaga has rejected a decision by the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa to remove their minister's pastoral position.

The parish had also strongly rejected a decision by the Elders committee for Reverend Opapo Soana'i and his family to vacate the parish.

Reverend Opapo Soana'i says he has not been informed officially of the decision to strip his pastoral duties.

Reverend Opapo Soana'i of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa. Photo: Tipi Autagavaia Tipi

The committee informed Reverend Soana'i of its decision last week.

A reliable source in the parish said while they respect the authority of church elders, the church's decision does not have any legal grounds under the constitution.

The source said they have two options, leave church and continue as an independent or join the American Samoa's Congregational Christian Church.

Reverend Soana'i said the chairman of the church told him that the presence of statues of Mary and Jesus, gifted to his parish by the Catholic Church, was one of the reasons behind the decision to stand him down.

He said the secretary of the elders committee also told him that his pastoral roles were removed because of his trip to Rome with his daughter for an investigation into stigmata marks on her body.

Reverend Soana'i questioned the decision because he was not asked to appear to explain his side of events.