Samoan Leaders Break Ground on Long-Term Dream

November 20, 2016 | Heidi Baumgartner

It’s a high-traffic, east-west crossroad between South Hill and Spanaway, Washington, and now it's the perfect location for the new Southside Samoan Adventist Church.

“We praise God for this location,” says Doug Bing, Washington Conference vice president for administration. “We looked at lots of locations and prayed for God to open the right option.”

Samoan elders and guests gathered on Oct. 2 to break ground for the church at 401 176th St. E., in Spanaway.

“It’s been a dream for Samoan members to have a church home for community ministry,” says Nevile Nevile, Tacoma (Wash.) Samoa Tokelau Church pastor.

Samoans value large family gatherings, and there are a limited number of locations in western Washington to hold these special occasions, according to Fred Toailoa, Southside Samoan Church pastor. With Southside Samoan’s two-phase building project, church leaders plan to first build a multipurpose ministry center and then build a sanctuary. The facility will be open and in use seven days a week.

“This site will be a real jewel in this community,” says Don Kirkman, architect.

The chief council of the Samoan community attended the groundbreaking to express the council’s interest in utilizing the building in the near future. Right now, for example, the council hosts their meetings in a local fast-food restaurant.

The ceremony included prayers of dedication, a seven-shovel breaking of ground, a property tour, a luncheon, remarks and financial gifts from community leaders, plus a chief-to-chief response from the church.

“This is a momentous day for Samoan work in Washington Conference,” Toailoa says.

Construction is expected to start in spring 2017.