Samoa Seventh Day Adventist Dispute Headed To Court

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Church moves to stop local congregation from Saturday worship

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, March 20, 2013) – A dispute among members of the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Church in Samoa is heading to the Court.

That’s according to a statement issued by Edwin Puni, of Event Polynesia, on behalf of his side of the dispute yesterday.

According to the statement, "the local church administration has instructed the law office of Schuster-Betham-Annandale to write to the Leauva’a-uta SDA members who are worshipping on Saturday to refrain from using the church facility there.

"The letter dated 6th February warns that failure to comply within seven days will result in the matter been (sic) taken to the High Court for an order regarding ownership, demolition and removal by the church of assets."

It was not possible to get a comment from the Office of the SDA church at Lalovaea yesterday.

But the statement by Mr. Puni said the letter from the lawyer "states that the church does not dispute the land belongs to the title Sala (held by Fonoti Peteli).

"This is further confirmed in a letter from the Register of the Lands and Titles Court stating the ownership of the land known as Laumasa is with Sala Fonoti Peteli and is not being disputed.

"The Register however goes further advising the parties involved to seek legal advice from lawyers in regards to dividing of church assets."

The SDA Sabbath dilemma centers around which day is of the week is seventh, after the International Dateline change in 2011.

Seventh-day Adventists keeps the Sabbath on the ‘seventh day’ of the week, which is Saturday like everywhere else in the world.

Most Christian churches in Samoa however also call Sunday the Sabbath but for a different reason; to commemorate the day of Jesus’ resurrection which falls on Sunday the ‘first day’ of the week.

Last month, leaders of the SDA church in the South Pacific Division (SPD) met again in Australia with pastors from Samoa and Samoan pastors representing Samoan churches in New Zealand and Australia.

The Bible conference discussed the impasse in Samoa, which is detrimental to a fundamental doctrine of the SDA church.

The matter has been referred to the Biblical Research Committee of the South Pacific Division for further research.

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