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White Sunday

The Tafa family at Crossways Church.
The Lagolago family from Assembly of God, Bannister St.
Children from Samoa’s Assembly of God, Church St.
The Li’o family from Assembly of God
White Sunday at Crossways Church, Masterton
A skit being performed during White Sunday at Crossways Church
Celebrating White Sunday at Samoa’s Assembly of God, Church St.

Children from the Samoan church community wore clouds of white clothing last Sunday, for Lotu Tamaiti, or Children’s Day.

Also known as White Sunday [Aso Sa Pa’epa’e], it is when parents and grandparents celebrate childhood by making children central to the day.

At Crossways Church, on the corner of Queen and Worksop Rds in Masterton, children with Samoan heritage treated Sunday worshipers to songs, skits, Bible recitations and other performances during a service led by Willie Fuiava Mataitai.

“The children are treated like princes and princesses for the day,” Crossways Sunday School teacher Limoe Kelly said.

On White Sunday, held every October, Samoan children receive gifts and are allowed privileges normally reserved for elders, such as being served food first. “The day begins early, as the children are very excited,” Kelly said. “It’s like Mother’s Day or Father’s Day but for children.

“They have a special breakfast with their families, then dress in white for the church service.”

Each year, a theme is chosen. This year, Crossways chose ‘Focus on Our God Alone’. Ribbons, flowers and ties in green were worn with the white clothing, to represent the theme.

At Sunday school, children were being taught that “if you see something negative in life, speak up about it”, Kelly said.

On White Sunday, women may also dress in white, while men may wear white shirts and either white trousers or le faitaga [formal pocket lavalava].

Members of the Samoan women’s fellowship have been busy in recent weeks sewing new white clothing for some of the children.

After the service, Crossways members enjoyed a shared morning tea.

“The children take pride in being treated in a special way and seeing new people,” Kelly said. “They are just as important as everybody else.

“I would like to thank the children, as they had no proper school holiday because of the White Sunday practice, also the Sunday School teachers who worked so hard to make it happen.”

Crossways was one of several Masterton churches to celebrate White Sunday. At the Assembly of God church in Bannister St, the theme was ‘Anyone Who Does Not Love, Does Not Know God Because God is Love’. In Church St, the Samoan Assembly of God’s theme was ‘Behold, Children are a Heritage from the Lord’.

In Samoa, the day is also observed with a public holiday the following Monday.

Sunday School children and leaders from Crossways Church practised their performances for weeks leading up to White Sunday.
A White Sunday performance at Assembly of God, Bannister St.
Another performance at Assembly of God, Bannister St.
The Wilson Family

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