Every summer, first-generation American Pacific islanders from United Methodist congregations in the U.S. are invited to a leadership conference. In Polynesian language, MANA means "power." The goal of the MANA conference is to help young people with family roots in Samoa, Tonga and Fiji discern a call to ministry and leadership in The United Methodist Church.
(Young people singing on the bus) "This train is going, better get on this this train."
Monalisa S Tuitahi: "Many of these young people will be here for the first time, not just in D.C., but maybe have traveled for the first time ever."
MANA is a U.S. gathering of United Methodist Pacific islanders from 18-40 years old.
Ema Gonemaituba: "I migrated here as an adult and to find out there were other Pacific islanders, not just Fijian, but of the other races too who are a part of The United Methodist Church, it felt like home."
Classroom instruction: "This was the first social creed of the Methodist Church."
The three-day conference helps young people from Samoa, Tonga and Fiji discern a call to church leadership, and provides support and mentoring.
Soana Fieeki: "Working with the young people is how I utilize my talents and skills for the ministry."
Monalisa S. Tuitahi: "These young people were in the church. They were in the back of the pews. They were in the parking lot, but they did not feel the relevancy of their involvement in The United Methodist Church."
Wesley Faulalotuaunu: "What I'm passionate about is identifying talents within the youth and young adults, showing them how to lead Bible studies, small groups, connecting them to leadership resources, trainings such as this one."
Organizers hope these young people will preserve their cultural traditions within The United Methodist Church and pass them on.
Jefferson Saini: "I'm a choir director and I use it every week in church. I love to use my gift of singing and music for the church."
Soana Fieeki: "Attending these conferences and being surrounded by peers who share the same passion with you, it inspires you and motivates you to want to continue to serve the ministry faithfully and with all your heart."
During the MANA conference in Washington, DC in 2018, participants shared a song in worship at Foundry United Methodist Church on a Sunday morning.
Connect with the MANA community through their Facebook page.
This video was produced by United Methodist Communications in Nashville, TN.
Media contact is Joe Iovino.
This video was first posted on February 27, 2019.