The President of the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist (S.D.A) Church, Ted N. C. Wilson, is visiting Samoa this week, according to the Samoa Observer.
As part of the visit, he is scheduled to meet with a host of local officials, including a courtesy call to the Head of State, Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi tomorrow.
The visit was confirmed by the President of Samoa and Tokelau Mission, Kenneth Fuliese, who said this is the first time after thirty years that a leader of the General Conference is visiting Samoa.
“The purpose of his visit is to come see the churches and to see if the congregation has grown. He also wants to look at the development of the church,” he said.
“The President’s visit will boost the morale of the church members in sense of ownership and the sense of belonging somewhere and for this case it’s the sense that we belong to a worldwide church, not only in Samoa but other parts of the world.”
The President is scheduled to front a press conference this afternoon at Lalovaea.
An additional reason for the visit could be to help mediate a controversy regarding Sunday and Sabbath in the wake of changes to the International Date Line that occurred on December 29, 2011. This change affected how Samoans have observed the seventh-day Sabbath for 120 years. Reference.
The South Pacific Division apparently advised their constituents affected by the change (Tonga, Kiribati and Wallis and Futuna) to worship on Sunday. Numerous churches in Samoa felt that they should return to keeping the ‘seventh day’ Sabbath on Saturday, joining Adventists in American Samoa and the rest of the world. They did, and controversy developed between the Division and churches who felt that the Division was not providing the proper leadership. Reference
It is our hope that Elder Wilson's visit to Samoa could help find a way forward for our faithful members and ministers in Samoa. Please pray for Elder Wilson as he travels to Samoa. Wisdom is needed to resolve this issue.