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New Beginnings Church joins PNC during 2014 Annual Meeting

Annual Meeting welcomed the New Beginnings Samoan Church in Lacey into the PNC.

aleni tonuao

Thomas Tavai and Aleni Tonuao

The pastor Aleni Tonuao and a member Thomas Tavai said they chose to enter the UCC because in the past three years they lost two youth at the ages of 17 and 18—one was shot and one was stabbed.

Aleni said they were in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong crowd, because there was nothing for them to do.  The church wants a place for the 50 youth in their church to connect with more youth.

“We want to take them places to experience good things, affiliating with other Christian youth,” he said.

Aleni began as youth pastor and music director seven years ago under the first pastor. He has been pastor since 2010. 

While he supports his family as a truck driver, he hopes to be a full-time, ordained UCC pastor.  He grew up in Samoa and served six years in the U.S. Army in Kentucky, where he had two years of Bible school.  He also took a six-month seminar at a Bible School in Lakewood and is working to be ordained as a UCC pastor.

When he moved to Lacey and his family began attending the church, there were five families.  Now there are 19.

New Beginnings met at a retirement center until it began renovations.  It now meets at 1 p.m., Sundays at Paramount Church in Lacey.

Coming from a non-denominational background, Aleni seeks the consistency of a denomination.

Members come from different backgrounds—Latter-day Saints, Catholic and Methodist—with many ideas about how to operate.  They have been working with the Church Development Committee to join the UCC and PNC.

In addition to looking forward to the church being involved with PNC programs—camps, men’s and women’s retreats, youth events—New Beginnings members are involved with a program feeding homeless people once a month.

“God is opening many doors for us,” said Aleni.

For information, call 360-878-3926 or email pastor


Copyright Pacific Northwest Conference United Church News © Summer 2014


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