Opening a Door to Christ Through Samoan Culture — First Samoan UMC

Written by Pastor Selusi Tuiolemotu of First Samoan UMC.

The front doors of First United Methodist Church in Anchorage, the home of First Samoan UMC.

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 July 1st of 2018 with 63 active members at the time. 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-parish church. Last year we built a float together as we participated in the 4th of July parade and this year we are working together again to take part in our community as we get ready for 4th of July for another float.

Out of 23 Samoan Churches in Alaska, there are only two Samoan UMC churches in Anchorage. We are honored to say that First Samoan UMC is one out of the two. Because there are just two Samoan United Methodist Churches, we have a special bond with our brothers and sisters from Ola Toe Fuataina UMC. We have had numerous get-togethers on special occasions like Easter Sunday etc. We try to fellowship when both churches are available not only to teach our Children the Samoan Culture and traditions, but to push, motivate and encourage our children in the Samoan way of worship through sharing the love of Christ with tangible gift of food, hospitality and worship services.

Our ministries with women, youth, and men.

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”.)

One of the Ministries that we have is our Choir which always has a great impact in our Sunday worship. FSUMC members have a passion for music and is for Jesus.  We have 3 pianists who take turns playing every Sunday with choir practice Fridays and Saturdays at 6pm followed by Youth Practice, bible studies, Samoan culture session

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.

Fourth of July along with our brothers and sisters of First UMC, Anchorage.

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.

Easter Sunday

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