Opening a Door to Christ Through Samoan Culture

First Samoan UMC was established 24 years ago led by Pastor Maga and it was the biggest Samoan congregation in Anchorage at the time. After the passing of Maga in 2013 there was a decline in membership. FSUMC did not give up, they courageously continued to worship, fellowship and do everything other churches would normally do except communion. As a result of their commitment in fasting and praying for a Samoan speaking Pastor, I was appointed in 2018 with 63 active members at the time.

First Samoan United Methodist Church is part of the Alaska United Methodist Annual Conference.

Today, I am humbled to share that we have 80 active church members and I give all the Praise and Glory to our Mighty God! Here at FSUMC we are blessed to share the facility with our brothers and sisters at FUMC. We have joint communion services quarterly and try to participate in their events as much as possible as we are a multi-par

Easter Sunday. Courtesy Photo.

We conduct our worship in Samoan, and we are strong in our traditions and culture, we also try to teach our Samoan language, culture and traditions to our children as much as possible. We have continued on with our group ministries: Women's Ministry (which in Samoan language we call "Mafutaga a Tinā"), Men's ministry ("Mafutaga a Tamā"), and then we have our Youth/Young Adults ministry (which we call in Samoan "Autalavou".)

Here at FSUMC we have accomplished a lot throughout the year and I thank our Heavenly Father for his guidance and for the dedication of our church family and for those who are bold and courageous to step up to the plate to take on leadership. The past couple of months has been busy for the youth. They have been culturally performing for fundraisers, church functions, Christian holidays and many other occasions throughout the year. They also had the opportunity to combine with our brothers and sisters from Ola Toe Fuataina UMC youth as they shared their talents of songs and dances and a message of unity as they took part in the closing worship for annual conference. It was a great experience for our fellow Youth/Young Adults Ministry and they loved it.

Here at first Samoan UMC we understand the underlying issues that our church as a whole currently faces today. With all that is going on we can only be hopeful, prayerful and place it in hands of our Heavenly Father. As a small church we need to focus on the goal of our faith which is the reason why we fellowship as Christians and, through that, make disciples for Jesus Christ. FSUMC will continue to have open minds, open hearts and open doors for anyone who is trying to seek God. We welcome you as you are with open arms. In Jesus name, Amen.

excerpt from a story by Pastor Selusi Tuiolemotu, First Samoan UMC.

This story represents how United Methodist local churches through their Annual Conferences are living as Vital Congregations. A vital congregation is the body of Christ making and engaging disciples for the transformation of the world. Vital congregations are shaped by and witnessed through four focus areas: calling and shaping principled Christian leaders; creating and sustaining new places for new people; ministries with poor people and communities; and abundant health for all.