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First Am Samoa church leader elected moderator for PCC

 Rev. Elder Dr. Leatulagi Faalevao

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The Congregational Christian Church of American Samoa’s Rev. Elder Dr. Leatulagi Faalevao has been elected Moderator for the Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC) for the next four years, starting 2024- 2028.

A delegation of six members from the CCCAS, including the Chairman, General Secretary and others attended the two-week PCC meeting, held in Noumea, New Caledonia, November 16- 23, 2023.

CCCAS’s General Secretary, Reverend Nafatali Falealii said Chairman Rev. Faalevao left island Monday night and Samoa News was unable to get a comment.

However, the General Secretary was asked how he feels about the position being taken by someone from CCCAS for the first time?

He said, “It’s very exciting, especially for CCCAS and American Samoa, to have one of our own lead the Pacific Conference of Churches.”

General Secretary Rev. Falealii was one of the participants during the 12th PCC General Assembly, and he confirmed that Rev. Elder Dr Faalevao received 62% of the votes, while the Rev. Dr. Havea, who ran against him, garnered 38%.

The Moderator position will be for four years, he said, from 2024 to 2028, but the Moderator “won’t be relocating.”

 “Rev. Elder Dr. Leatulagi Fa’alevao will remain in American Samoa.”

Asked whether the Moderator was a graduate of Kanana Fou or Malua Theological College, Gen. Sec. Rev. Falealii said, he is “a graduate of Malua, but is from Fagaalu, American Samoa and Toamua in Samoa.

The Rev. Elder was a teacher at Kanana Fou Theological College for four years and served with his wife Vagai Faalevao for about 30 years at the CCCAS in the village of Amouli, in American Samoa, the Gen. Sec. said.

According to a statement, the PCC is made up of more than 50 member Churches and National Council of Churches, from all around the Pacific region, including  New Zealand, Australia, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, American Samoa, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, New Caledonia (Kanaky), Kiribati, Tuvalu, Niue, Marshall Islands, French Polynesia (Maohi Nui), Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and West Papua.   

 “Christ Transform Us into Your New Humanity!” was the theme of the 12th General Assembly as selected by the host church.

Transformation through ecumenical fellowship was echoed throughout the proceedings of the 12th General Assembly, framing the plenary sessions that discussed issues faced by the Pacific churches such as climate change, self determination, domestic violence, child protection, youth issues, leadership formation, etc.  

The statement also pointed out that In order to achieve gender balance, the PCC Constitution states that if the elected Moderator is male, then the Vice Moderator must be female. 

Although she received the least percentage of votes during the first round of elections, Rev. Sepiuta Hala’api’api, the only female nominee, was automatically declared the Vice Moderator; and a run-off was held between Rev. Dr. Tevita Havea and Rev. Elder Dr. Leatulagi Faalevao for the office of Moderator.  

Rev. Elder Dr. Leatulagi Faalevao is the first American Samoan to hold the office of Moderator for the Pacific Conference of Churches (PCC).

He is also the current Moderator of the Congregational Christian Church of American Samoa (CCCAS), Secretary of the CCCAS Committee of Elders,  Chairman of the Pacific Theological College Council and Executive in Suva, Fiji. 

Father of five, he also served on the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches for the last 10 years, the statement noted.