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Seattle Samoan church celebrates 45 years

September 24 was the 45th anniversary of the Samoan Congregational Christian Church Seattle II in Burien, where Kelekolio Koloi and his wife Dawn have served in ministry there since 2013.

Samoan Congregational Christian Church of Seattle II members celebrate 45th. Photo courtesy of Dawn Koloi

For the church’s anniversary, they prepared nearly eight months to raise money to pay off the loan the church had taken out in 2006 to pay $300,000 for the parsonage.

There was $32,750 remaining.

The church had members in its 17 families take 75 papers with 75 blocks, selling each for $10 and raising $56,250 with that approaoch. 

On Sept. 24, they had a raffle with 10 prizes worth $1,000, a total of $10,000 from the $56, 250.

Members invited family and friends to come and, in the Samoan tradition, throw money as members of 17 families danced.

They added those funds to the $46,250 to raise $79,000.  They paid the $32,750 and have enough for the next church project, building a church hall in the next five years.

“It’s the biggest fund-raising event we ever did,” said Dawn. “The church was struggling in its ministry during COVID. We did not gather. We did not know how to do Zoom. Only last year did we begin to do all in person. This was our first fundraiser since 2019.”

After paying off the parsonage, which is used as a church hall, they will look to raising funds to build a church hall, she said. The congregation meets at the parsonage for feasts, so after everyone leaves, Dawn cleans up.

The Koloi’s compensation is from love offerings from church members. Kelekolio does ministry full time. Dawn teaches for nonprofits and helps Samoan programs through the Office of Samoan Affairs in Seattle.

The Samoan Congregational Christian Church Seattle II was founded in 1977 out of its mother church, Seattle I. The first pastor was a licensed pastor, Tau Atoa, who served just a year before he died in 1978.

Another UCC licensed pastor, Morisa Vili served until the Congregational Christian Church of American Samoa (CCCCAS) became independent of Western Samoa in 1980 and the church decided to seek a pastor from CCCAS.

The next pastor, Rev. Emau Petaia came and began building the church building through the UCC Cornerstone Fund.  It was built from 1981 to 1983 and the loan was paid. The church then began raising funds for a parsonage.  When Pastor Petaia was called to be general secretary of the Congregational Christian Church in American Samoa, the next pastor was Fili Togi, who came in 1995 and left in 2012.

When the Kolois were called to serve the church in 2013, there were just five families, because many families left when the previous pastor left. Now there are 17 families and 100 members, but more who participate, because many of the 17 families have 20 children.

The church is bilingual, teaching and preaching in Samoan and English. They teach the children and youth Samoan language, helping them learn the alphabet and learn to read.  They often use singing to teach the language.

The young adults teach the children and youth the traditional dances

Dawn works with children and youth from other churches, including Lutheran and Catholic, and they share their building with a Honduran Pentecostal Church.

They often have feasts after church Sundays with the wider Samoan community.

For information, call 206-981-1346 or email


Copyright © Fall 2022 Pacific Northwest United Church News




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