Mainline Churches numbers continue to dwindle
An aerial view of the Catholic Cathedral and central Apia
By Rula Su’a-Vaai
APIA, SAMOA – THURSDAY 23 NOVEMBER 2017: The adherents to the three mainline churches in Samoa continue to dwindle – a trend that has been recorded over the last 46 years.
Latest statistics show the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa (CCCS) have the biggest following with more than 50 thousand church members, the Roman Catholic Church with more than 30,000 and the Methodists with 20,000 members.
The 2016 Census Population Snapshot and Household Highlights, says “history revealed that EFKS (CCCS) has lost half of its biggest share of the population of 54% in 1961 down to 29% in 2016.”
The Catholic Church numbers slightly decreased – 19% in 2016 compared to 21% in 1961 while the Methodist Church recorded a 12% decrease from 16% 46 years ago.
The Latter Day Saints (LDS) takes the lead with an increase of its church members to 17% in 2016 from 6.3% in 1961. According to the Population Snapshot and Household Highlights, “LDS gained an extra 10% from 1961 to 2016.”
Pentecostal churches such as the Assemblies of God and Worship Centre have grown over the years and so as the Seventh Day Adventists.
Assembly of God members grew from 0.5 in 1961 to 7 % last year. The Seventh Day Adventists increased to 4.4% in 2016 from 1.3% in 1961 and the Worship Centre grew from 0.3% in 1961 to 3% in 2016.
The President of the Methodist church, Reverend Elder Apineru Lafai, told the media during its annual conference this year that there are several contributing factors to the decreasing numbers of adherents.
“It’s either people are migrating overseas or have passed away.”