SDA seek reconciliation on Sabbath worship

A group of SDA members from Savai’i who still worship on Saturday despite the change when the dateline shifted

APIA: 12 August 2012: Following a special meeting of Seventh-day Adventist church leaders of the South Pacific Division on the 2nd August, the Samoa seventh-day Sabbath issue will now be revisited by an international forum of biblical researchers.

Also agreed at the Australia meet was the need for a meeting of ‘reconciliation’ between Samoan pastors in New Zealand, Australia, America and those in Samoa to mend a split which seems to have developed among Samoan pastors with opposing views.

The proposed reconciliation meeting later this year in Samoa will include a open discussion of the seventh-day Sabbath issue in Samoa where Adventists are now worshiping on two separate days but still belong to the same church administration.

Earlier this year in April, a written submission from some of the members in Samoa was presented to the world President, Elder Ted Wilson, requesting a restudy of the new practice in Samoa whereby changing the seventh-day Sabbath to Sunday from Saturday, a move inconsistent to the day of worship for the church worldwide.

Furthermore, the Seventh-day Adventist world headquarters in America confirmed that there is no documented action by the General Conference endorsing or supporting the decision of the Samoa SDA administration to change its Sabbath day of worship to Sunday; ironically a position strongly supported by the South Pacific Division.

On the TVNZ program Tagata Pasefika last week, President of the Samoa Tokelau Mission, Pastor Uili Solofa stated that “now in Samoa, the seventh-day falls on Sunday” and is the key argument for the change. The same argument was published in the Samoa Observer 1st July issue saying, “The practical result in terms of Sabbath keeping is that Sunday not Saturday has become the seventh day of the week.”

In a written statement, Pastor Uili Solofa wrote, “The majority of church leaders, worshipers and villages (in Samoa) are not saying they are happy that Seventh-day Adventists are keeping Sunday, instead what they are saying is that – we are going to keep the Sabbath of the Seventh-day Adventist church; praise God!”

In a separate correspondence, Pastor Uili Solofa wrote, “You have to know that all the other Christian religions in Samoa have publicly testified that they have moved to keep the seventh–day Sabbath of the Bible.”

Such statement has yet to be confirmed by leaders of other Christian denominations in Samoa. The statement however that Sunday is the ‘seventh-day’ in Samoa today contradicts the belief of Christian churches who worship on Sunday being the first day of the week to commemorate the day of Jesus’ resurrection.

Another approach used by the SDA administration in Samoa states that as part of the International Date Line shift at the end of 2011, the Government changed the names of days in Samoa.

Numerous requests were made to the local church administration and the South Pacific Division to provide evidence to support that the Government of Samoa had renamed Saturday as Sunday. To date, no evidence had been received, nor was there any reply to say what the new names are for Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and other days of the week in Samoa.

It is the belief that the restudying of the Samoa seventh-day Sabbath issue by an international forum of biblical researchers, answers will then be found about the truthfulness of the decision for Adventists to worship on Sunday in Samoa.

It is also the belief that a meeting of ‘reconciliation’ between Samoan pastors in New Zealand, Australia, America and those in Samoa will clear the accusations pointing at overseas Samoan ministers; whereby questioning their involvement in the Sabbath issue which is perceived to be a local matter, yet the local administration is only too happy to receive advise from overseas European ministers.

While awaiting the Samoa Sabbath issue to be revisited and the meeting of reconciliation between local ministers and overseas Samoan ministers, more and more people as they become enlightened are now returning to keeping the ‘seventh-day’ Sabbath on Saturday in Samoa, a key fundamental of the Seventh-day Adventist church.


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