04 July 2019, Apia Samoa. Parents of students attending Congregational Christian Church Schools are not happy with the last minute decision by the Church to pull their children from the opening ceremony of the Pacific Games scheduled for this coming Sunday.
More than 300 students affected by the decision includes those from Papauta Girls College, Leulumoega Fou College and Maluafou College.
Earlier this week, the General Secretary of the Church, Reverend Vavatau Taufao told the media that the EFKS Church Education Committee have only just found out that the opening ceremony of the Pacific Games falls on a Sunday.
“When they found out that the official ceremony was going to actually be held on Sunday, they called a meeting;
“It was at that meeting of the Church Education Committee held last Friday that the decision was made;
“The decision was that students cannot perform on Sunday as it would go against the Sabbath (Soli Aso Sā).”
“The students cannot come and dance on a Sunday, because nothing is usually done on a Sunday because Sunday is the holy day of the Lord.”
“Sa iai le fono a le Komiti o Aoga sa fai i le Aso Faraile i le vaiaso na te’a nei, o iina la na fai ai le fa’aiuga a le komiti e taofi mai tamaiti e aua nei iai se tasi e participate ona e soli aso sa.
“E le mafai ona oatu tamaiti e sisiva i le Aso Sa aua e le masani ona fai ni mea i le Aso Sa aua o le Aso Paia o Le Alii.”
The EFKS church has over 75,000 members amongst 327 congregations in Samoa not including parishes established across New Zealand, Australia and USA.
The General Secretary added that is the only reason why they have decided to pull out, however, they are very much involved in everything else in preparation for the Pacific Games.
When asked about the months of preparation that had gone into the rehersals and the impact on children missing out, Reverend Vavatau only reiterated that the Church had only just found out last week that the opening ceremony would in fact, fall on a Sunday.
“There was no official notice to the Church or the Education Committee;
“The Church Education Committee found out when the official program came out;
“When the official program showed that the 7th falls on a Sunday, it was only then that the decision was made.”
“Fa’atoa silafia e le komiti o aoga;
“Ae lei logoina aloaia mai le komiti o aoga ma le Ekalesia i le Polokalame;
“Ae pau le mea ina ua sau le Polokalame, o le aso 7 e pa’ū i le Aso Sa, lea la na fai ai le faaiuga.”
The Pacific Games Office say that the decision to host the Opening Ceremony on Sunday 7th July was endorsed by the National Council of Churches and the date has been well known to all, with the official countdown being publicised across the media.
Speaking to Samoa Global News on the condition of anonimity a mother whose two daughters attend Maluafou College said the decision by the Church is very disappointing.
She said this has affected her daughters and also she and her husband as parents too.
She said they had already bought uniforms as well as props that were needed by the students for their part of the performance and now the Church has made a last minute decision on this.
“O le mea pito sili ona le manaia ai o le toe fa’asa lava o nai tamaiti toe tasi le vaiaso oo i le fa’amoemoe, ma e talitonu ua mae’a ona lava tapena le fanau aemaise foi nai matua.
“Ua tele tupe ua alu i le fa’atauina o mea e mana’omia e le fanau mo lea fa’amoemoe ma’imau pe ana mafai e le Lotu na latou toe fa’afo’i mai tupe a matua ia ua alu i mea nei.
“Sa tatau lava ona silasila le Ekalesia i itu ia a’o le’i faia lana fa’aiuga”
A father by the name of Sive whose son is in Year 12 at Leulumoega Fou College and was himself also involved in rehersals said the Church should really reconsider its decision given that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for them with Samoa hosting such an event.
“It’s not as if we get to host these events every year, and this is a chance that we may never get again;
“So many children that were excited to be part of this huge event have now all been stopped by the Church.”
“E le fa’apea o tausaga uma e fai ai lenei fa’amoemoe ma o se avanoa e le aumaua foi le fai mai ai o lenei fa’amoemoe i si o tatou atunuu.
“To’atele nai fanau ua matua’i fiafia o le a auai i lenei faamoemoe tele, ae peitai o lea ua toe taofia ona o le fa’aiuga a le Ekalesia.
Sive said he wishes the EFKS Church would reconsider (liuliu le tofa) as this is just one day, and pleads for the Church to allow the children to perform.
“They have spent hours of hard work over many months to practice and now suddenly it is all over for them,”
“Aea pe a toe liuliu le tofa i le ekalesia, e tasi lava le aso o le a faia ai lea fa’amoemoe mai ai aso e tele o lo’o usitaia ai le sapati, ae fa’ataga maia nai fanau e omai e fa’ataunu’u le fa’amoemoe ua leva ona tigaina ai mai masina e tele a’o lenei ua toe fa’amuta vave lava.”
A notice sent to media from the CEO of the Ministry of Education Sports and Culture confirms that the EFKS church schools have pulled out and that other plans have been made.
Feature Photo Source: S. Leota Facebook Post.