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Our History Timeline

January 4, 1955 - Suitonu Galea'i meets with Senior Chaplain at Pearl Harbor Capt. Lennerweaver, regarding the possibility of forming a Church for the Samoan people in America, especially those in the military.  The vision is to form this Church in San Diego.

January 8, 1955 - Suitonu Galea'i and family leave Hawaii bound for San Diego, California, U.S.A. via San Francisco.

January 11, 1955 - The Galea'i family arrive in San Diego.

January 13, 1955 - Aimalefoa Maiava. Sa Atuatasi, Toso Mauga, and their families visit Suitonu and Tinei and seek their help in starting Worship Services in the Samoan Language.

January 14, 1955 - Suitonu meets with the Senior Chaplain at the Naval Base in San Diego, seeking a place for the Samoan people to worship.  RADM Miller was extremely helpful and found an opportunity for the Samoan people at 32nd Street in the Naval Chapel.

January 23, 1955 - The opening worship of our church was held in the Naval Chapel, 32nd St Naval Station, Gate #6. Elder Rev. Suitonu led worship and the Sacrament of Holy Communion was led by Chaplain Shackleford from the Naval Base. Services were held here for just under a year and then the Congregation moved its services to the Sanctuary of the Congregational Church in San Diego city, 4th and A Avenue.

 

1958 - The church purchased land at 3605 National Avenue and built a church. The church grew and there was a need for a larger Sanctuary.

July 10, 1961 - The Church looks for another property to house this community of Faith.

August 25, 1961 - A fundraising Luau was held with our friends at the Chinese Congregational Community Church.

 

September 15, 1961 - The Church agrees to move forward with the purchase of the property at 1345 South 45th St.

September 17, 1961 - The Church selects Sautia Lutu to head the monumental task of building a brand new Church Sanctuary.

September 31, 1961 - A Service of Blessing for the new grounds is celebrated led by Elder Rev. Suitonu. He poured water on the grounds with thanksgiving and offered these words: ..."That these grounds would be used to glorify God!"

June 10, 1962 - The Church's final service is celebrated at 3605 National Avenue.

June 17, 1962- The Church's Worship Services in the interim were held at the Church of Happiness on Market Street.

June 20, 1964 - The Opening and Blessing of the new Sanctuary for the First Samoan Congregational Christian Church - San Diego. The Sanctuary named "Malamalama o Samoa o Le Satauro Paia" - "The Light of Samoa is the Sacred Cross".

1967 - The completion and dedication of the Hall named the Suitonu Fellowship Hall.

1971 - The completion and dedication of the Parsonage during the time of Elder Rev. Suitonu.

 

September 5, 1979 - The Church's founding minister, Elder Rev. Suitonu passes away. Thanks be to God for this wonderful and faithful servant. Thank you Lord for the vision, courage and strength granted this man of faith. Thank you Lord for his love for You and for his people, so they could come to know You as Savior and King.

December 1979 - Elder Rev. Dr. Fa'afouina and Mrs. Tuiomatagi Iofi are called to minister the church and they accept.

March 18, 1980 - Mrs. Tinei Suitonu passes away.  We thank and praise God for your service and love for the Church. 

1982 - The completion and dedication of the Sunday School building now known as the Elder Rev. Dr. Fa'afouina Educational Center.  The Parsonage was extended.  Grounds and fencing was completed around the property.

December 30, 1990 - Elder Rev. Dr. Iofi preaches his farewell sermon to the Congregation in San Diego. He has accepted a Lectureship at Malua Theological College, Samoa.  This is the seminary for the Samoan Congregational Christian Church.

January 1991 - Elder Rev. Dr. Fa'afouina and Mrs. Tuiomatagi Iofi leave San Diego for Samoa.

September 13, 1991 - The Church receives as its new Minister, Rev. Dr. Tafatolu and Mrs. Karite Filemoni.

1992 - The property at the back of the Church leading to the canyon is leveled off.  Plans are made for the possible use of this portion of Church grounds.

December 12, 1994 - Rev. Dr. Tafatolu Filemoni preaches his farewell sermon to the Church in San Diego. He has answered God's call to minister in the Pacific Islanders' Presbyterian Church - Newton, Auckland, New Zealand.

December 15, 1994 - Rev. Dr. Tafatolu Filemoni and Mrs Karite Filemoni and the family depart San Diego bound for New Zealand.

1995 - A schism occurs within the congregation.  The Church struggles with some contentious issues.  A move is initiated for the Church to become independent from its base in Western Samoa.  The Church decides after much pain and heartache to become independent.  There are still those who want to maintain the relationship with the "Mother Church" in Malua.  A number of families decide to leave and form a new Samoan congregation connected to Western Samoa. It is a time of much needed healing and peace.  The Light of Samoa needs to shine again in the hearts of the people!!

June 1995 - The Church agrees at a Special Meeting to call the Elder Rev. Dr. Fa'afouina and Mrs. Tuiomatagi Iofi back to the ministry in San Diego.

July 1995 - A Service is held for the Induction of the Elder Rev. Dr. Fa'afouina Iofi as Minister of the Church (as requested by the Church for his return to minister in San Diego). The Induction is led by the Moderator of the Cal-West Ministers Association, Rev. Dr. Scanlan.

August 1996 - The Church agrees at a Special Meeting to extend a Call to the Rev. Fa'afouina and Mrs. Tuitogama'atoe Solomona of the First Church - Tahunanui Presbyterian, New Zealand to serve as Associate Minister in San Diego.

November 1996 - Rev. Fa'afouina Solomona accepts the Call.

1997 - Much of the Church property and buildings are upgraded.  The Fellowship Hall is repainted.  The Parking Lot is resurfaced.  The Educational Center is upgraded.  The Sanctuary is repainted.  The Church's Offices are extended and the Minister's office space is improved.

April 5, 1997 - A Service of Induction for Rev. Fa'afouina Solomona as Associate Minister of the congregation. The Rev's. Ted Selgo, Sandy Freud and Wayne Riggs on behalf of the Cal-West Ministers Association preside.

May 17, 1998 - Guest Preacher – The Right Honorable Tofilau Eti Alesana – Prime Minister of the Independent Nation of Samoa.

July 1998 - The Church prepared to deal with a Litigation action taken by former members who had left the Church because of the  independence issue of 1995.  In the time of uncertainty, the people prayed for God's Will to be revealed.  The Court date was set for July 24, 1998.  This was held over to July 27, 1998.  As the two sides entered the Court Room awaiting the Judge's arrival, God's spirit took control.  There was no trial.  the group that had brought the action decided to no longer pursue their case.  The Judge did not even make an appearance in the Courtroom.  A potentially wrenching and despairing time was overcome by the Grace of God.

 

January 1999 - Congregation hosts Visiting Group from St. John’s Samoan Catholic Church, Auckland, New Zealand.

 

May 23, 1999 - Farewell Service for Elder Rev. Dr. Fa'afouina & Mrs Tuiomatagi Iofi as they retire to Hawaii and leaves the Church to be fully pastored by Rev. Fa'afouina Solomona.

 

August 1999 - Congregation hosts Rev. Dr. Tafatolu & Mrs. Karite Filemoni and the ‘Au Talavou / Youth Fellowship from the Pacific Islanders Church – Newton, Auckland, New Zealand.

 

August 15, 1999 - Dedication of Sanctuary Clock in Memory of Charles Sale Savaiinaea. (Clock Gifted by Loto Tagaloa and the Tagaloa Family).

 

October 5, 2003 - Dedication of Lectern for the Sanctuary. (Lectern Gifted by A’oga Aso Sa / Sunday School).

July 26, 2004 - Mrs. Tuiomatagi Iofi passes away in Hawaii. Her final Service with the Church in San Diego was Easter Sunday, April 11, 2004. Praise God for her service and love for the Church in San Diego.

 

October 3, 2004 - Dedication of Inside Glass Sanctuary Doors in Celebration of the 60th Wedding Anniversary of Lay Preacher Veve & Inita Tafao – October 1, 2004. (Doors Gifted by The Children and Family of Veve & Inita Tafao).

December 21, 2004 - On a trip to San Diego in preparation for the Church's 50th Anniversary celebration, Elder Rev. Dr. Fa'afouina Iofi suffers from a sudden heart attack and passes away peacefully from this world into God's eternal care. Lord thank You for Your humble and committed servant. Praise You Lord, for his life offered so that all may hear the Saving News of Jesus Christ.

January 22, 2005 - Celebration Weekend begins for Church’s 50th Anniversary with Worship and Cultural Protocols and Performances.

 

January 23, 2005 - The First Samoan Congregational Christian Church - San Diego's 50th Anniversary Communion Worship and Celebration – Guest Preacher: Elder Rev. Si’ueva Gogo (Moderator Congregational Christian Church of Samoa / EFKAS). Participating Ministers: Elder Rev. Dr. Ulisese Sala, Rev. Dr. Tafatolu Filemoni, Elder Rev. Makerusa Porotesano.

 

January 23, 2005 - Dedication of Church 50th Anniversary Memorial Membership Stones affixed to the Front Entrance Columns of the Sanctuary.

 

January 23, 2005 - Dedication of Church Sanctuary East Window “Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane”. (Window Gifted by Alofasau Tufualemata’afa, Asi Allan & Tina Porter and Family in Memory of Lokeni Tufualemata’afa).

 

January 23, 2005 - Dedication of Church Sanctuary Bell. (Bell Gifted by the A’oga Aso Sa / Sunday School).

 

July 30, 2006 - Congregation hosts Worship and Fellowship with Elder Rev Dr. Fa’atape & Mrs. Sipa’u Lavata’i and the ‘Au Talavou / Youth Fellowship from E.F.K.A.S. Ta’u, Manu’a, American Samoa.

May 21, 2006 - New Church Sanctuary Entrance Doors Blessed and Dedicated. A Gift from the Finau Family in Memory or former Church Moderator: Rev. Finau Finau Jr. who passed away in January of 2005.

February 8, 2009 - Ordination of Lay Preacher Tulia Tafao.

June 20, 2014 - Thanksgiving Service to mark the Actual Day of the 50th Anniversary of the Blessing and Opening of the Church Sanctuary (20 June 1964).

June 22, 2014 - Celebration Worship to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Blessing and Opening of the Church Sanctuary (June 20, 1964).

June 10, 2015 - Visiting Missionary – Rev. Charles Sagay: Director of the Mission School of Hope, Cameroon.

December 6, 2015 - Dedication of New Church Steeple.

May 8, 2016 - Dedication of New Side Doors of Church Sanctuary.

June 12, 2016 - Visiting Missionary – Mr. Geoffrey Lipale: Mission Director: Pilgrim’s Presence, Kiwawa, Kenya.

November 6, 2016 - Ordination of Lay Preacher Ionatana Eli.

February 27, 2017 - Dedication of New Choir Robes for ‘Au Faipese Tele / Chancel Choir.

June 23-24, 2018 - Church Participates through Cultural Presentation: “Samoa – A Journey of Faith and Culture” and Choir singing in Worship for the NACCC Annual Meeting & Conference hosted by Cal-West in San Diego.

July 25 - 29, 2018 - Church hosts over 40 Delegates from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Peru, Mexico, Peru and Sierra Leone, who attended the International Christian Endeavor Conference / Fono ‘Au Taumafai a Le Lalolagi held in San Diego.

December 23, 2018 - Refurbished Church Vestry Dedicated. A Gift from the Mafutaga Tina / Women’s Fellowship.

September 1, 2019 - Refurbished Deacons Room Dedicated.

November 10, 2019 - New Minister’s Office Dedicated.

 

March 15, 2020 - The Final In-Person Worship in the Sanctuary, as COVID 19 sweeps across the nation and world. Pandemic Protocols call for all Church Worship Services to be canceled until further notice.

April 2, 2021 - In partnership with the Pacific Islander Covid Response Team and UCSD Health, the Suitonu Hall is used as a COVID Vaccination Site.  569 pacific islanders and community residents were vaccinated with the first round of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

April 30, 2021 - Suitonu Hall is used as a COVID Vaccination Site for the second round of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

June 20, 2021 - In-Person Worship in the Sanctuary resumes after 15 months of being closed due to COVID 19 Pandemic Protocols.

 

June 20, 2021 - The 57th Anniversary of the Blessing and Opening of the Church Sanctuary (20 June 1964).

April 5, 2023 - Installation of Sanctuary media completed.

April 23, 2023 - Farewell Service for Rev. Fa'afouina & Mrs Tuitogama'atoe Solomona.  Rev. Fa'afouina Solomona preaches his farewell sermon to the Church in San Diego; he has answered God's call to minister in the Church of the Messiah - Los Angeles, California.

February 9, 2024 - A Service of Ordination and Installation for Rev. Sekuini Fiava'ai as Minister of the congregation.  Rev. Dr Jim Schibsted, Rev. Lincoln Skinner and Rev. Emily Raasch presided on behalf of the Cal-West Ministers Association.

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