“E lē uma le alofa, Love never faileth”
1919 – 2019
Excerpt from Saunoa Sila,”E Tautala Aso: History of Piula Theological College 1868 – 2018″ (Methodist Printing Press: Matafele, 2018)
REQUEST FOR A CHURCH FOR PIULA: 1911.
At the Big Gathering held at Gaga’emalae 9-11 November 1911 and attended by: Missionary
Neil (Superintendent: Chairperson), Folau Taoa (secretary), ministers and members of the
various levels in the hierarchy of the Methodist ministry, Rev. Churchward sought the
approval of the meeting to build a church for Piula. The request was approved and as
Superintendent Rev. Neil had the skills in architecture and building, it was decided that he
would build the Piula church at a site above the Fatumea pool.
The plans for the church and its construction were the work of the missionary Rev. Neil while he was superintendent of the District of Samoa for a period of twelve years. It was one of the many occasions which highlighted his dedicated and resourceful leadership of the work in Samoa. When Rev. Neil was stationed in Savai’i, he helped calm the fears of the people of Saleaula during the volcanic eruption. He sought financial assistance for development work of the church without asking for help from the Mission Board in Sydney, Australia.
Carpenters from the carpentry school in Satupa’itea, 30 students from the Century High School and 40 from Piula, worked together with the teachers and the Church on building the church. Work was carried out during daylight hours and classes were held at night. Many of the students ended up not attending classes as they were exhausted from the physical work of the day. The Church provided considerable support. The strong men made the ovens for the preparation of concrete for the building and the women prepared the food for the workers. The concrete was made from coral lime and stones and was also used to decorate the ceiling. The different patterns are made from the wild banana (laufao).
Construction of the church took approximately seven years (1912-1919). The lengthy period
was due to the difficulty in obtaining building materials and the delays in receiving the contributions from the missionaries, teachers and the Church. The church building was about 60 ft in length and 33 ft in width. It included a place for worship and four classrooms. The reason for this structure was the belief that in order to thoroughly prepare students for the work of the Lord and ministry, there must be a very close relationship between the theology of worship and the life of the student being rooted in faith in the Lord our God.
“Love Never Faileth”