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Samoan Church Celebrates Mortgage Burning

Samoan Church Celebrates Mortgage Burning

In the small community of White City, Oregon, an Adventist congregation is thriving. The Samoan Seventh-day Adventist Church is committed to lifting up the name of Jesus in their community and preserving the customs, traditions, and language of the Samoan people in their church.

In 1991, a small handful of Samoan Adventists gathered to begin worshipping as a church group. Thirteen years later, the growing group became an Adventist Company. On December 10, 2009 it was organized and accepted into the sisterhood of churches as Central Point Samoan Seventh-day Adventist Church.

It was in 2012 that the members of the church stepped out in faith to purchase a building and fellowship hall to become their new home. Over the last nine years, the facility has been home for worship services, prayer meetings, evangelistic outreaches and, in the tradition of Samoan hospitality, sumptuous fellowship meals.

Thanks to the ongoing sacrifice of members under the leadership of Pastor Talalelei Uta, the church finally paid off its mortgage in late 2020. That's why September 25, 2021, was a high Sabbath during which the church building was officially dedicated, and the mortgage burned.

The dedication weekend began on Friday evening with a vespers celebration introducing the weekend's theme, "To God Be the Glory." In addition to the music, guest pastors Melinda Mauia and Fuamatala To’aetolu, both visiting from California, inspired attendees with devotional messages. In all, the church welcomed nine Samoan pastors from five Adventist conferences who participated in the weekend as honored guests. A full day of Sabbath services included worship, devotionals, testimonies, musical praise, and a fellowship meal. The pinnacle of the Sabbath experience was the sermon by Oregon Conference President Dan Linrud, followed by the church dedication ceremony. Oregon Conference vice presidents Dave Schwinghammer and Brent Plubell participated in the dedication, offering remarks of affirmation and praise to God. After President Linrud offered a prayer of thanksgiving, the mortgage was burned. The White City Church choir, nearly a third of those in attendance, punctuated the service, rising to their feet to fill the air with songs of praise and thanksgiving.

Fitting with Samoan tradition, the celebration was simply too big to be contained within one day. Instead, it spilled into Sunday morning, when the entire church gathered again for worship and praise led by Pastor Sinapi Pa'o, pastor of the Samoa-Tokelau church in Honolulu, Hawaii. After worship, the celebration weekend culminated with a feast of thanksgiving.

With just over 100 members, and a paid off mortgage, the future is bright for the Central Point Samoan Seventh-day Adventist Church. They look forward to using this dedicated church building in new ways to reach out to the Samoan community in the Rogue Valley more than ever before.

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