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“What is behind the religious life of the Samoans.”

As a Samoan pastor (minister) in a Samoan Church, pastoral care is not a question who requires to do it, but a question of whether: Do you understand who we are—the victims, the hearers, the constituents, and the pastor.
It is not a question of whether are we believe in God, but a question of whether:  Are you keeping the ‘promise’ to worship God, in the light of your birthright (the Samoan culture).
The role of the Samoan minister in the community:  There are three levels in which the minister is functioning and carrying his/her responsibility in the eyes of the Samoan community:  (1)  Traditional — as practice by the Congregational, Roman Catholic, and Methodist.  (2) Non-Traditional — as usually the practice by the Pentecostal, Assemblies of God, etc.  (3) Go-Between — as usually the practice by the Mormon, Seven-day Adventist, Jehovah’s Witness, etc.

Traditional refers to the influence of the Samoan culture; Non-Traditional refers to the influence of non-Samoan culture; and he Go-Between refers to those influence that do not follow any specific pattern of the Samoan culture.
Traditionally, the Samoan pastor (minister) has taken a very important role in the entire community: His/Her main duties and responsibilities are as follow:
(a)  Teaching and preaching the Gospel message;  (b) Presiding on community events and occasions;  (c) Maintaining and a keeper of the traditional (culture);  (d) “Watchdog” and an enforcer of moral values, rules and orders;  (e) A spiritual leaderservant of God.  He/She is a highly respected person.
Generally speaking, Samoa is ninety-nine percent, if not hundred percent believed in the existence of God.

LIFE IN THE CIRCLE: Each age-level has designated function and responsibility.  The Samoan pastor should see that this has been followed and practiced.
Birth:  Begins childhood, adolescence, young adult, adulthood …… Death/ Ends.  The primary emphasis here is not the destination but the journey — not the end but the act of sharing.
Before the European missionaries brought Christianity 180 years ago, the Samoans were already lived under the influence of imaginary deities.  That influence was appropriately transposed without much difficulty into the Christian teaching.

In fact, the Samoans believe that they have had everything—divine understanding: from their historical beginning before the Europeans came to Samoa.
Regardless of several theories proposed and initiated by Western scholars in regard to the origin of the Samoan people (from South East Asia or from western coast of South America), the Samoans themselves say:  “Our origin was born right from the Samoan soil,” according to their legends.
Chronological history of Samoa:  2000 B.C. to 400 B.C. – period of migration of the Polynesians from original homeland to the Pacific islands;  Before 950 A.D. divisions among the powerful and strongest Samoans;  950 to 1250 A.D. Tongan occupation of Samoa;  1500 to 1600 first modern kingship began;   1720 first European arrived;  1800 European trade settlement started;  1830 Christianity arrived.

WORSHIP IN THE CIRCLE:
Traditionally, sense of holiness comes in moment of silence — [Begins …..& …… Ends:  Invocation & Benediction]:  Invocation — Singing — Scriptures — Singing — SERMON — Singing — Pastoral Prayer — Singing — Benediction.
ONE’s OWN CIRCLE — GOD/Man RELATION:  From God ……. To God.  [Beginning …… Ending]:  Opening to Life …… Life Specialty ……. Approach to final…… Life Ending.

PASTORAL CARE: Interpreting something for someone else—teaching of the existence of God, unfolding what is there of God:
Experience:          Ritual — (a) Expressing the feeling;  (b) Intensifies — like washing of feet.
In a Congregation:    This is a sharing of experiences, the presence of the Spirit.
No word is ever adequate to experience everything, even sex is not adequate to reveal all of love.
Pastoral theology:    A way to reflect one’s experience in life:
(a)  When do you experience the presence of God in your life.
(b)  When do you feel God’s healing touch is upon you.
(c)  When do you see the necessity of the Rite as a result of your own experience with God.
God is already acting in our lives—but we need to respond.
Biblical Model to Ideal Family—Life in Sharing:
1.  Original family/ Adam and Eve ……….    Call to obedience;    2.  Noah’s family and the Flood ……………    Call to listening;
3.  Israel/ the chosen people ……………….    Call to covenant;
4.  Matthew/ Genealogy ………………………    Call to acknowledge extended family;
5.  The Church ……………………………………..    Call to Christian family of believers.

THE SAMOAN MIND: (a divided-one):
(A) Western culture dominance (in general):  (1) Economically:  Money for security living;  (2) Socially:  To associate with others;  (3) Philosophically:  Learning/books from Western schooling;  (4) Religiously:  Holy Scriptures—according to Western interpretation;  (5) Christian Mission:  European missionaries (British colonialism and Americanization).
(B) Samoan culture dominance (in general):  (1) Economically:  Samoan wealth to be recognized;  (2) Socially:  Life in family sharing;  (3) Philosophically:  Learning by practicing and experiencing;  (4) Religiously:  Holy Scriptures—according to Samoan interpretation;  (5) Christian Mission:  Samoan cultural identity by way of exercising and practicing community sharing.


38 Comments


  1. Fa’afetai mo le fa’amaninoina o lenei mataupu i tulaga o ekalesia i totonu o si o tatou aganu’u. This is a great site, I’m glad I came across it.

  2. O le tofi e aumai e le Atua, ae o le tauavega o le tofi o lo’o iai lu’i ma fua lelei. Fa’afetai i le alofa o le Atua o lea ua fa’amaonia tulaga o mataupu tau ekalesia i totonu o si tatou aganu’u. Manaia lenei aupega tafa’ilagi e iloa ai mea ua tutupu i totonu o si o tatou atunu’u.

  3. Thanks for the insight…Love the article. I really struggle with how we have, in a way..elevated our culture above the word of God. I stand firm on the belief that if it is not biblical, I won’t do it. Torn slightly but standing my ground musch to the disapproval of my family. For a people who pride themselves on God, they have massaged in the culture aspect of life to MAKE it biblical.Open to discussion please :)

  4. :;* I am really thankful to this topic because it really gives great information ~.”

  5. Samoa way of life is definitely a Christian lifestyle! Thanks for reaffirming this for us. I hope & pray more people come across this site so they may also understand & appreciate the Faasamoa and ola faakerisiano!

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