Sunday, May 31, 2009
A Samoan pastor
Though the relationship between Tonga and Samoa and Fiji is close, there is very little news in the Fiji papers about them. However here is one story about a Samoan church leader who died recently. Over the years we have had some very special friendships with Samoan and Tongan people, including here in Australia where we now live. During a lifetime there is little praise, but at funerals, the story is told in a nice way.
Tribute to the life of Rev. Siatua Leulua’ialii
Written by Misa Telefoni Retzlaff*
Sunday, 24 May 2009 14:37
Rev. Siatua Leulua’ialii clearly meets the standards required for this honour. He has been a prolific scholar in the area of theology for the last two decades, both as a theological educator and an administrator of the Samoa Methodist Church (SMC).
Indeed, he has been a theological educator since he received his Bachelor of Divinity on Old Testament studies from the Pacific Theological College (Suva) in 1968.
He has written on a wide variety of theological issues including his thesis research on “The Covenant Purpose and its Meaning.” He has also written multiple episodes on contemporary contextual theology especially on church discipline and conduct, with reference to the biblical context.
Rev. Leulua’ialii has established a national reputation for his contribution to the growth of Samoa’s nationwide ecumenical affiliations. He has served in several government committees and civil organisations, in his capacity as President of the SMC and one of the founding members of the Samoan Council of Churches. He has been outspoken on the executive role of that ecumenical body for many years.
Rev. Leulua’ialii has served Samoa in many prestigious positions for many years and he was awarded the Head of State Medal of Tiafau for these services to this country in 1994.
In the international arena, he has represented SMC in the Pacific Co
uncil of Churches (PCC), Methodist Consultation Council in the Pacific (MCCP), World Methodism (WM) as well as the World Council of Churches (WCC) for more than two decades.
Rev. Leulua’ialii was a successful educator and administrator during the fifteen years (1969 – 1984) he served as a lecturer and subsequently principal of Piula Theological College.
He continued his management expertise with agricultural production managing the Methodist Land Development until he was elected as General Secretary for the SMC Conference in 1985. He took over in the helm of the SMC Conference as President in 1989. In 1996, he was elected superintendent for the Salafai Sasa’e Synod and in 2000, he was elected superintendent for the New Zealand South Synod.
In the superintendent capacity, Rev. Leulua’ialii received various invitations to deliver public speeches not only in religious gatherings but also in highly academic communities and universities in New Zealand.
For his role in educational circles and the ecumenical arena, he gained public recognition in Wellington for his effective influence on many Samoan residents, especially with youth. Rev. Leulua’ialii earned membership in several community committees of social welfare in New Zealand.
In 2002, Rev. Leulua’ialii was re-elected to the president’s office. In his tenure as president, he has been invited into the public realm for public lectures and speeches.
Your Highness the Head of State, Your Highness Malietoa Tanumafili II, I have no hesitation in presenting to you Rev. Siatua Leuluaialii, for you to bestow upon him the degree of Doctor of Divinity (Honorary).
*The tribute to Rev. Siatua Leulua’iali’i is taken from Misa Telefoni’s book “To Thine Own Self be True.”