Wesley Wellington Samoans toast 50 years
Past and present members of the Wesley Wellington Samoan Congregation gathered at Wesley Church, Taranaki Street, Wellington on Saturday 10 June to mark 50 years since the first Samoan language service.
The celebrations began with a service of thanksgiving, followed by a meal and fiafia.
During the thanksgiving service, ex-Methodist Church of NZ president Ron Malpass brought greetings from the Connexion. Sinoti Samoa Superintendent Rev Iakopo Fa’afuata delivered the sermon.
A number of the original members of the Samoan congregation were present at the anniversary. They talked about the warm welcome they found at Wesley when they came to New Zealand in the 1950’s. From those beginnings has grown a strong and vibrant congregation.
Parish Superintendent Lynne Frith spoke of the way in which the parish met the challenges of becoming an ethnically diverse community.
“It hasn’t always been easy”, Lynne says, “yet the outcome has been what we see today – a harmonious faith community, respectful of difference, willing to grapple with the hard issues, continuously developing what it means to be multicultural.”
Each of the Wesley congregations and some of the visitors provided entertainment for the fiafia in the afternoon. There were many speeches and reminiscences, a lot of laughter, and a strong sense of belonging. Some observed that once you have been a member at Wesley, it remains your family forever.