Mormon Newsroom
News Release

Interfaith Music and Sports Bring Youth Together

The inside of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa (CCCS) meetinghouse in Sa’aga was packed and overflowing last Sunday evening for the opening of a two-day interfaith gathering of Christian youth from the Siumu District of Samoa. 

Reverend Elder Tu’ia Peseta of the CCCS in Siumu, the organizer of this year’s event, introduced the program and acted as its master of ceremonies. The service began with hymns, prayer and a scripture reading. Reverend Sea Hakai Pisopa of the Methodist Church in Maninoa Siumu gave the opening remarks.

The main address was presented by President Fulutusi Apineru of the Upolu Samoa Saleilua Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was followed by choir, dramatic and dance presentations from each congregation.

The purpose of the event is to promote good relationships between members of different denominations “We hold this get together to learn from each other and encourage positive changes in our lives as we approach the New Year…so listen carefully,” Reverend Sea Hakai Pisopa told the gathering.

In his talk, President Apineru invited all people, young and old, to come unto Christ and to live faithful, clean, and chaste lives.

He held up Joseph, who was sold into Egypt, as an example of someone who was virtuous, withstood temptation, endured the privations of an unjust imprisonment, and, with God’s help, became the person he was meant to be.

He encouraged parents to train their children through family prayer, family councils, and family home evenings.  “A strong family builds a strong church which builds a strong village which builds a strong nation,” he said.

The Siumu District has held this event annually for many years. This year marked the first-ever participation by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with two of the Church’s congregations, the Sa’aga Ward and the Siumu Ward, joining the activities.

Leaders from various churches in the district attended, including Reverend Sea Hakai Pisopa, Methodist, Maninoa Siumu; Reverend Elder Tu’ia Peseta, CCCS, Siumu; Deacon Ekegasio,Catholic, Siumu; Pastor Pele, Pentecostal, Siumu; Pastor Le’au Iasoni, Voice of Christ, Sa’aga Siumu; Pastor Ulavate, Assembly of God, Sa’aga Siumu; Reverend Laneselota, CCCS, Sa’aga; Bishop Alesana Alesana, LDS Siumu Ward; and Bishop Tautua Hunt, LDS Sa’aga Ward.

Sunday performances by the congregations included choir numbers accompanied by keyboards and sometimes guitars and drums. Many included choreographed movements and dances with their music. Traditional Samoan dances, skits of scriptural stories, and a musical production honoring Christianity’s introduction into Samoa were performed.

Choirs from the Sa’aga and Siumu Wards sang Christmas carols from the Latter-day Saint hymnbook.

Jennifer Theresa Farewell Kisila from Maninoa Siumu, and a Methodist, first came to this event when she was eleven years old.  She enjoys singing in her church.  “It’s nice to have everyone happy and friendly together,” she said.

The Monday sports day began with footraces, which had several divisions competing according to age and gender. Winners appeared to come from nearly every denomination. Hundreds of players and onlookers crowded the fields and the sidelines.

Each congregation was invited to compete in women’s volleyball, men’s volleyball, and men’s rugby sevens.  Two volleyball courts were set up south of the rugby field, and were busy all day long.  Several teams had colorful uniforms while others played in their individual clothes.

The rugby matches were tenaciously fought with good sportsmanship.

“One reason we are [holding the interdenominational activity] is so that our youth will learn to get along and not fight,” said Reverend Sea Hakai Pisopa.

Sounding a similar thought, Brenda Tupuola from Sa’aga said, “We’re just having fun.  And if someone starts to get upset, we just remind them that this is a game and let’s have fun.”

Maupenei Peseta, wife of Reverend Peseta of the CCCS congregation from Siumu summed up the event well when she said, “We all worship one God, but come from many denominations.  It’s a good opportunity for youth to come together and share common values.”

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