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PNC welcomes Samoan church in Alaska

Faavae Fou church in Anchorage sought connection for youth

Members of the Faavae Fou Congregational Christian Church in Anchorage wanted their youth to have connection with other youth in the wider church.

Faavae Fou members meet other PNC members and share in worship at Annual Meeting.

In April at the PNC Annual Meeting in Wenatchee, after several meetings with the PNC Church Development Committee, they were accepted as members of the Conference.

Mimi Lane and others with the Church Development Committee visited the Faavae Fou Church in Anchorage twice. 

The first time was in the summer, when it was light 24 hours.  When she entered the room, there were elders, babies, youth, young adults and older adults.  The room was full.  They shared their Christian journeys, asked about the UCC and worked on requirements to join the PNC.

Mimi’s next visit was in the winter the darkest time of the year.  They finalized their covenant, worshiping and dancing together.

The Rev. Edwin Galeai receives a candle from the PNC.

Members of the Faavae Fou Christian Church attended the Samoan Congregational Conference the week before they journeyed to Wenatchee to be with the PNC Annual Meeting.

Their pastor, Edwin Galeai, is a 1995 graduate of Claremont Theological School.  Others in the delegation at Annual Meeting were his wife, Iva, lay preacher Tamnan Nago and his wife, Losi, treasurer Vai Fofunga.

Edwin formed the church in June 2014 to become part of the Christian Churches of America Samoa and the United Church of Christ.

His father also had dual standing with the Central Pacific UCC Conference and said he should have dual standing.

“We are a young church, coming with grateful hearts, hands and minds, bringing respect and unity,” he said. “We bring our spirit of celebration and  joyful hearts.”

While young, he said Faavae Fou’s foundation is old.  We are new to the UCC but not to being Christians, because we also have ties to the Samoan Christian Community,” he said.

He shared some of the history of Pacific Islanders’ Christian roots.

The Congregational movement went to the Samoan Islands as missionaries to the people the 1830s.  Most Samoans grew up in the Congregational Church, under the London Mission Society led by John Williams and later connecting to American Congregational churches, and eventually the UCC.

Edwin’s journey to the Northwest to Alaska came with the migration of Samoan families through the armed forces.  Edwin is a retired chaplain with the U.S. Air Force.  He served in Fairbanks.

Iva Galeai spoke about the background of the congregation.

Iva said their children were raised outside the Samoan Islands. 

When Edwin was to leave Fairbanks and go to the lower 48 where it would be warmer, “God moved us to start the church in Anchorage,” she said.  “It’s not where we first wanted to be, but we saw people hurting people in Samoan churches. Many were staying home and awaiting a prophetic word.

“We established the church in Anchorage to bring us connection for our children to have a safe, grounded place to come to be fed by our culture and Christian faith,” Iva said.

“Anchorage is where we are called to be.  God opened a door for us here,” she said.  “I fell in love with Alaska, and now we do not want to move. 

Iva said they were surprised that there are so many Samoans, and realized they could start a new church, ministering to families and ministering to hurting people.

The young adults and teens are interested in camps, so they started a scholarship fund to send students.

“We can connect with you.  I do not Skype, but my grandchildren do,” Iva said.  “We love to be in fellowship, hearing what God is doing with others, making bonds, sharing stories and making them ours.”

Faavae Fou is starting a homeless shelter.

There is strength in being received, said Edwin. 

“I look forward to our young people having fellowship outside our community in the UCC, discussing contemporary issues, doing justice,” he said.  “I want to pass on the faith to the next generation.”

Faavae Fou UCC youth participated in the National Youth Event July 23 to 30 in New York, which included two days at Fauntleroy UCC for a community service project before going.

For information, call 907-868-2557 or email


Copyright © September 2016 - Pacific Northwest Conference United Church of Christ News


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