The General Secretary of the Methodist Church, Reverend Elisaia Vaiao Eteuati Tuitolova’a, has defended the church against claims by its members that they are financially burdened by the accumulating costs of its latest project, the big Church at Faleula.

The claims were made by members who asked not to be named.

They contacted the Samoa Observer questioning the cost of the church and expressing  concern about the large amounts of money follo

wers are forced to raise to fund the construction.

However Reverend Eteuati is adamant the church is “a private organization” and as such it is above public criticism.

“This is a private organisation and we are not subject to scrutiny from the media or anybody else,” he said yesterday in an interview during the church conference at Faleula.

He said church followers are not obligated to give to the church; it’s a personal choice.

A report on the church construction was read at the conference.
Said Reverend Eteuati:  “We are still on target.”

He explained that about $NZ5 million ($T$9.7 million) was put aside for the new church. “The report was read out here at the meeting and there were no objections raised.”

Once it’s completed the new church will be the main place of worship for Methodists in Samoa.

The building has been under construction for almost two years. Itis not known when it will be completed.
This will be the Methodist Church’ second main House of Worship. The first one is on Beach Road at Matafele, Apia.