E NEWS 30th JUNE 2023
Wow, it is July tomorrow halfway through the year already, for me as I’m sure for you time has flown by very quickly.
Last Saturday I went to the Osiga Feagaiga (Covenant contract between the new minister to Porirua Pacific Islander’s Church of Christ the King) and his wife and children. It is like a marriage ceremony between the church and the new minister. We don’t necessarily do this in the Presbyterian church and that is a good thing that we do not condone it as it is an extremely expensive ceremony especially for the poor, elderly and unemployed families of the church. Being Presbyterian means we can by-pass these cultural expectations. However, the two parties in this covenant ceremony chose to go the whole shebang.
Samoan culture can be very beautiful, it is one of exchanging gifts, it is reciprocal. When this is done simply and within the means of people’s capabilities and capacity to make a contribution towards the gift then it can be a good and positive thing. However, when you are requested to come up with $500 per household and a fine mat then this becomes counter-cultural and exploitative. The poor families of this parish made up of Tokelauan, Cook Island and Samoan, were required to come up with $500 each in order to appease the Samoan leaders and chiefs of their desire to impress the new minister and the surrounding minister’s association and also this new Pacific Tautai Cluster within Central Presbytery. There was an exchange of about $50k from both sides totalling $100k. All ministers present and absent received a minimum of $2k each from both parties (somehow mine was a bit smaller so I found out, why? Well gender discrimination is alive and well within the Samoan church). I did not attend to receive anything and I am not out to gain from the people’s misery. Whenever I attend an occasion where this happens I always take an appropriate card whether it be a wedding or a funeral and I put my gift that I received back into the card and return it to the bride and groom or the bereaved family. In this case, I am sponsoring a dear friend’s daughters YWAM mission and disciple training to South Africa in August with the proceeds acquired on Saturday. The sad thing about the gifting at this Osiga Feagaiga is that the local Samoan ministers’ association of Porirua made up of Methodists, Congregational Christian Church of Samoa, Catholic, AOG etc. etc. were all given gifts of $1K each and a fine mat even though not one single one of them attended to welcome the new minister. Why did they have to do that? That was approximately $15k which they did not have to spend. It seemed that the leaders of the church were flaunting their wealth acquired by those who lived in poverty and had very little. At the end of the day, change can only come from the minister’s themselves but since we are the beneficiaries of all this wealth it is highly unlikely to happen.
This Sunday is the story of Abraham offering up Isaac as a child sacrifice to God. I am not going to preach from this text – too disturbing. So I will be preaching from the Gospel of Matthew 10 on welcoming. The sermon is evolving as I write this. The Glamaphones have a Matariki concert tomorrow at SAOTT and I’m looking forward to it. Hope you are all wrapping up warmly in this cold weather and keeping yourselves safe from the winter cold and flu germs lurking out there. Take care, have a great weekend. Fei
You can read the full E-new here: https://mailchi.mp/463c4d9d2282/this-weeks-newsletter-from-st-andrews-on-the-terrace-9363835