APIA: FRIDAY 6 SEPTEMBER 2013: A group of clergy who have taken LMS Toe Fuataina as the name of their church and stirred a conflict with the country’s biggest denomination.
With adherents in Australia, New Zealand and the United States, the church started worship in Samoa at a church at Vaitele Tai in 2011.
LMS want to join the National Council of Churches (NCC), the body formed of mainstream Christian denominations in the country, but Congregational Christian Church of Samoa (CCCS) has fought against it.
CCCS argues that LMS is the CCCS.
NCC Secretary Rev. Mauga Motu said the two parties have been told to settle their differences between themselves first – before the next meeting of the council’s executive.
LMS stands for London Missionary Society, the name of the London-based organisation of the 1800s responsible for many conversions to Christianity in Samoa.
The church they came to establish was called LMS.
However, as times went by and with the establishment of Malua Theological College, which produced theological teachers, the LMS in London under the recommendation of the Samoan church elders decided to let Samoa conduct their own affairs.
The church took on the name of Congregational Christian Church of Samoa.
Members of LMS Toe Fuataina believe that when that was done CCCS forfeited the right to the name of London Missionary Society.
They said LMS Samoa no longer exists so there is nothing to stop them using the name LMS Toe Fuataina.