(Source: eventpolynesia.com) As Samoa prepared to mark the change of Samoa’s position in relation to the International Dateline, where on the stroke of midnight Thursday night, the date shifted from Thursday 29th of December 2011 to Saturday 31st of December 2011; it also marked the division in conviction of Seventh Day Adventists in Samoa. Those that will continue to keep Saturday as their
Sabbath and others that will now worship on Sunday as the new Sabbath.
At the end of year gathering of the Samatau SDA church, Puni Raea informed the church minister Pastor Kereta Milo that Samatau will continue to worship on Saturday. Puni announced, “There are now two Sabbaths for Seventh-day Adventists in Samatau.” Puni is one of the paramount chiefs of the village and head of the Sa Puni family where the SDA church stands.
Samatau’s position to continue to worship on Saturday is supported by many as confirmed by Mano’o Lutena Mulitalo and Pa’u Fereti Puni, both are members of the SDA church at Samatau and prominent community leaders in New Zealand and with the Samoa government.
According to Pa’u, “There is no intention for us to change religion or to set up a new church. The only difference is that, church members at Samatau SDA church will continue to worship on Saturday while others in Samoa will now worship on Sundays.”
This situation has arisen following the decision by the church in Samoa to keep the unbroken cycle of days with the seventh day being Sabbath. The position of the Samoa administration was a result of the week having just six days, making the Sunday as the seventh day and so becoming the new Sabbath for the church going into the future.
On Thursday 17th November this year a special meeting was held in Samoa attended by Samoa SDA church ministers from America, Australia, New Zealand and the two Samoans by invitation of the President of the Samoa and Tokelau Mission, Pastor Uili Solofa, to deliberate on the matter. However, according to the invitation by Pastor Solofa, the decision by the Samoa administration is final.
The meeting in Samoa though involved a presentation by the visiting ministers advising the Samoa administration against their decision to change the worship day to Sunday for Seventh Day Adventists in Samoa. Ironically, when travelling to New Zealand, Australia, America or any other part of the world, they will worship on Saturday.
Saturday 31st December 2011 in Samoa goes down in the history of the Seventh Day Adventist church as the beginning for Seventh Day Adventists in Samoa to have two Sabbaths, as the next Sabbath for the Samoa Mission was now Sunday 1st January 2012, while the Samatau SDA church and others that maintained their conviction worshipped on Saturday 31st December 2011 instead.
Current Legislation of the Independent State of Samoa protects the rights of religion. Furthermore the change of Samoa’s position in relation to the International Dateline does not enforce a change in the day Seventh Day Adventists worship in Samoa. Samoa’s position according to the IDL was first changed in 1892 to align with countries on the eastern side like America. Which means, Samoa went back to its original position.