john williams

Naming an organisation is a vital process.
The expectation is that the name will capture the true essence of the relevant organisation.
The Congregational Christian Church Samoa (CCCS) or the Ekalesia Fa’apotopotoga Kerisiano Samoa (EFKS) is by no means an exception to the rule. The year 2012 marks a significant period of 50 years since the name has been in use by the Samoan church.

The missionaries who brought the Gospel to Samoa in the 1830’s, spearheaded by John Williams were members of the London Missionary Society. Consequently, the church that was established a few years later became formally known as the Samoan Church (London Missionary Society). The church would be referred to simply as the LMS (La-Mo-Sa) or the ‘Lotu Ta’iti’ (Tahitian church) signifying the place that John Williams and his missionaries had recently come from.

The LMS missionaries were responsible for establishing the various projects that would aid in the spreading of the Gospel. There was the setting up of the Printing Press in 1839 that was used to print out the Bibles. The English Bible was also translated into the Samoan language in 1855. The Malua Theological College was established in 1844 with the purpose of training men that would be effective pastors in local churches. The lecturers of MTC were themselves the missionaries. It was not until 1967 that the church appointed its first Samoan principal for the college, who was Mila Sapolu. [1]

In a meeting that took place in 1961, it was decided that the name would be changed from the Samoan Church (LMS) to the Congregational Christian Church in Samoa. In 1962, it was official that the name was no longer Samoan Church (LMS) but it was now Congregational Christian Church in Samoa.

The name Congregational Church in Samoa was a name that was suggested by Stuart Craig (Misi Kereta). He was serving as the secretary of the Island Committee of the LMS at that time, and was invited by the Samoan Church in an advisory role on this matter. He was a highly respected missionary who had a long association with the Samoan Church. After much deliberation it was decided that the name suggested by Craig would be used, but would have “Christian” inserted. In the 1961 Fono Tele, the General Assembly of the Samoan Church officially adopted the ‘Congregational Christian Church in Samoa (CCCS) as the new name.[2]

Up to and a few years after the change of name, the missionaries continued to be prominent figures in the church. In the minutes of General Meetings in the early 1960’s,[3] there was mention of an English translator needed in these General Meetings. It was notable also that the minutes of these meetings were translated into English. The missionaries also featured in the key committees of the CCCS, for example the Elders Committee, the General Purposes Committee, the Finance Committee and the Education Committee.

In the 1966 General Assembly, there was discussion of a letter from the missionaries making known their desire to leave the church and return to their respective homes in England.[4]
Some returned due to illnesses and others due to retirement. There was a notable desire also from the church to continually seek the assistance of the missionaries in whatever way possible. The general mood gathered in the minutes was there was sadness felt by both the missionaries and the church for the ties that were beginning to weaken.


To the present day, there is still a connection with the LMS, though it is somewhat weakened. The CCCS are members of the CWM[5] and often seek monetary and other means of aid from them. So the relationship has not entirely been severed. Many of the scholarships allowing lecturers of Malua Theological College to gain higher degrees are made possible by the sponsorship of the CWM. Though the bonds may not be as strong as they once were, the CCCS still lean upon the CWM for assistance and the CWM provide this assistance through whatever means that they can.

For the last 50 years, the Congregational Christian Church Samoa continue to thrive on its own strengths. It has produced great leaders in the local churches, in education, in administration and other areas. The CCCS have continued to rely on their God given mission to reach out to others and spreading the Gospel and making known the name of Jesus Christ in whatever way possible. The “Congregational Christian Church Samoa” endeavour to live according to their name as a gathering of Christian believers who reach and make decisions through deliberation and dialogue.

[1] Minutes of the General Assembly 1966, pg 10.

[2] Letter from Aukilani Tuia’i, 19/04/2012.

[3] Minutes of General Assembly 1963, 1964.

[4] Minutes of General Assembly 1966, pg 9.

[5] The London Missionary Society changed their name to Council of World Mission in 1966.

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