Samoan Church Celebrates Building Dedication

In Oregon's Rogue Valley, in the small community of White City, a Samoan Adventist congregation is thriving. 

In 1991, the White City Church became an official group and began gathering each Sabbath for worship. Thirteen years later, the growing group became an Adventist Company. On Dec. 10, 2009, it was organized and accepted into the sisterhood of churches. In 2016, the church changed their name from White City Church to Central Point Samoan Church.

Through all these years, Central Point remained faithfully committed to lifting up the name of Jesus in their community and preserving the customs, traditions and language of the Samoan church members.

It was in 2012 when members of the church stepped out in faith to purchase a church building and fellowship hall. Over the last nine years the facility has been home to worship services, prayer meetings, evangelistic outreaches and, in the tradition of Samoan hospitality, sumptuous fellowship meals.

Fory years, members faithfully sacrificed financially. Finally, under the leadership of Talalelei Uta, pastor, the church paid off its mortgage in late 2020. On a high Sabbath, Sept. 25, 2021, the church building was officially dedicated to the Lord and mortgage papers were symbolically burned.

The dedication weekend began on Friday evening with a vespers celebration and introduction of the weekend's theme, "To God Be the Glory." In addition to the music, guest pastors Melinda Mauia and Fuamatala To’aetolu, both visiting from California, inspired attendees with devotional messages. Over the weekend celebrations, the church welcomed nine Samoan pastors from five conferences participating as honored guests.

The full day of Sabbath services included worship, devotionals, testimonies, musical praise and a fellowship meal. The pinnacle of the Sabbath experience was a sermon from Dan Linrud, Oregon Conference president. Dave Schwinghammer and Brent Plubell, conference vice presidents, also participated in the dedication, sharing affirmation and praise to God.

After Linrud offered a prayer of thanksgiving, the mortgage papers were symbolically burned. The church choir, nearly a third of those in attendance, punctuated the service by rising to their feet to fill the air with songs of praise and thanksgiving.

Fitting with Samoan tradition, the celebration was simply too big to be contained within one day. So the congregation continued celebrations on Sunday morning, gathering again for worship and praise led by Sinapi Pa'o, pastor of the Samoa-Tokelau Church in Honolulu, Hawaii. After worship, the celebration weekend culminated with a feast of thanksgiving.

With just over 100 members and a paid off mortgage, the future is bright for the Central Point Samoan Church. They look forward to using this dedicated church building to reach out to the Samoan community in the Rogue Valley.

Featured in: November/December 2021


Jonathan Russell

Oregon Conference assistant to the president for multimedia communications