Local Samoan residents will soon have a new church in Killeen to congregate.
The Samoan Congregational Church of Killeen; aka Samoa-i-Texas (Samoans in Texas), officially kicked off their new building construction on Stan Schlueter Loop, according to a news release from the church.
Attendees celebrated with Samoan food, music and dance. Lay Minister Leasina Lefotu opened with prayer and congratulatory remarks followed by group and family photos. Every family was provided a set of personalized hard hats and shovels to break ground with. The event had activities for all ages: inflatables for the kids, a hilarious game of adult musical chairs that left a few bruises, and a senior citizen talent show that had some of the ladies rolling down the mounds of dirt onsite to roaring laughter and applause, according to the release.
Samoa-i-Texas began in 1993. Services were held in Army chapels, while
Sunday school, pot lucks, and meetings rotated amongst members’ homes
and local parks, Long Branch Park in Killeen, the City Park of Copperas Cove and
Sunburst on Fort Hood to name a few. In 2001, the church purchased the current 3 acre property with an old warehouse as their home base, according to the release.
The construction of the new 11,000 square foot worship space and classrooms are the final phase in a 20 year plan. In 2010, the warehouse was renovated into a modern meeting hall and church run day care center, Koinonia Christian Academy.
The church alternates worship locations every Sunday between Fort Hood and the current meeting hall in Killeen since increased security to enter the military installations have made it difficult for non military members to attend.
“We want to create a safe haven for both military and nonmilitary families who want to worship in the Samoan language and for our evening English services. Our congregation has grown to include many worshippers who are non-Samoan and from other Christian denominations” said Deacon Sivia Sasa, the project leader.
“After 30 years, we finally have a permanent site to worship without restrictions. Viia le Atua, praise the Lord, we did it,” said Tu’u Falefia, chairman of the church board.
Construction of the new church building will hopefully be completed within the year.