History of the Samoan Ministries in The Southern California Nevada Conference
by Rev. Sepulona Tanuvasa
All Samoan Congregational Christian Churches are descendants of the London Missionary Society, with the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa becoming an independent denomination in 1963. In 1980 it was split into two denominations, with the Congregational Christian Church of American Samoa established as a separate denomination to allow churches in American Samoa to function better within the Territory’s social-political and economic structures (which are different from those in Samoa). These two denominations still account for the majority of Samoan churches inside and outside of Samoa.
The two additional groups of Samoan churches affiliated with the UCC are the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa in America and Independent Samoan Churches, which only have a denominational affiliation with the United Church of Christ.
In the mid-1960s, before the denominational split, all the Congregational Christian Churches of Samoa in California and on the west coast became partners with the UCC under the co-leadership of Rev. Dr. Fred Register and Rev Dr. Bert Williams Tofaeono. The partnership formed at this time was called the Samoan Council of Churches. This council was dissolved in the 1980s due to lack of activity and participation of the churches in the life of the Conference.
A Samoan Ministry Table began meeting informally under the leadership of The Rev. Dr. Dan Romero and The Rev. Dr. Jane Heckles in the 1990s. In 2007 the Conference began recognizing The Samoan Ministry Table as an official Special Ministry of the Conference. The goal of the Samoan Ministry Table is to work with the Conference to empower and enrich the life of Samoan congregations within the Conference. They hope to one day be recognized as a separate ministry of the Council of Racial and Ethnic Ministries.
The current officers of the Samoan Ministry Table, known as the Leadership Council, are as follows: Rev. Elder Dr. Ioane Mailo, Moderator; Rev. Sepulona Tanuvasa, Vice-Moderator; Rev. Andy Leavasa Tofaeono, Secretary; Rev. Ekepati Panama, Treasurer; Rev. Lee Leaoga Misivila Tanuvasa, Secretary Treasurer; Ms. Foai Tanuvasa, Historian/Administrator.
Rev. Sepulona Tanuvasa is the liaison and collaborator with the Conference on behalf of the Samoan Ministries Table.
Churches In Our Conference By Group
Compton, Dominguez Congregational Christian Church (in Discernment)
Lakewood, Vai Ole Ola Congreational
Las Vegas, Samoan Congregational Christian Church of Las Vegas
San Bernardino, Fale Ole Faipu Omea Samoan Congregational
Carson, Taeao Ole Talalelei
San Diego, Ola Mo Keriso
Carson, Samoan Congregational Christian Church of South L.A. UCC
Carson, First Samoan Congregational UCC
Harbor city, First Samoan Congregational Christian
Las Vegas, Congregational Christian Church of American Samoa Las Vegas UCC
Lomita, Ola Fou United Samoan Church of America
Oceanside, First Samoan Congregational Church of Mesa Margarita
Oxnard, First Samoan Congregational Christian Church
Long Beach, Second Samoan UCC
Long Beach, Fourth Samoan
Long Beach, Wilmington Peteli Christian Church
Santa Ana, Congregational Christian of New Hope
Hacienda Heights, The Congregational Christian UCC in Hacienda Heights
Huntington Beach, First Samoan Congregational Christian
Long Beach, Malamalama Community Church
Los Angeles, First Samoan Church of Los Angeles
Los Angeles, Samoan Community Christian
National City, First Samoan Congregational
Oceanside, First Samoan Congregational Christian Church of San Luis Rey
Vista, First Samoan Congregational Christian Church of Oceanside