Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that Reverend Samuel “Sam” Tikeri Tialavea, Sr., the General Secretary of the Congregational Christian Church of American Samoa (CCCAS), was the Guest Chaplain of the House of Representatives who offered the opening prayer to begin today’s regular session of the Congress.
While the Chaplain of the House of Representatives, The Reverend Daniel P. Coughlin, stood close by, Rev. Tialavea spoke in both his native Samoan language and in English offering the following prayer.
“Talofa lava. Tatou tatalo. Le Atua mamalu. Le Atua paia. Le Atua e o le viiga. Silasila maia i le faamoemoe o le nei aso ma ia e faamanuia mai.”
“God of the faith of our fathers and Lord of our homage, we embrace you and one another in heart and soul, thought and mind giving you praise and trusting your faithfulness. Bless this day and our activity in your service.
“O Lord, help us to remember that proclamation from ages past, “where there is no vision, people perish.
“Enable us, therefore, to be visionary in our decision-making, particularly with those resolved in your wisdom by the leadership of our nation. Grant this Congress the ability to see, the faith to believe and the courage to leap forward in their journey of determination for tranquility and peace, upholding those virtues by which all may benefit from, in our “home of the brave and land of the free.
“God of the Most High, may your will be done, your vision be known, and your righteousness prevail, both now and forever. Amen.”
In the tradition of the Congress, Faleomavaega, as the Representative of the District in which the Guest Chaplain resides, delivered the one-minute opening speech to welcome Rev. Tialavea to the House of Representatives.
“Madam Speaker. It is my great honor and pleasure to welcome Reverend Samuel Tikeri Tialavea, Sr. to the Chamber today. Reverend Tialavea or “Sam” as he is popularly known in our Samoan community is from my District – American Samoa.”
“Rev. Tialavea is currently the General Secretary of the Congregational Christian Church of American Samoa (CCCAS) – a position he has held since 2002. He was appointed Secretariat of the Partnership Consultation Committee on Ministry and Mission o f the United Church of Christ (UCC) and the CCCAS, a post he has also held since 2002. Rev. Tialavea was ordained in the mid 1990’s where he became pastor of the Bread of Life Church in Honolulu, Hawaii prior to his election as the General Secretary of the CCCAS. He is also the Chairman of the American Samoa Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster that was reestablished soon after the earthquake and tsunamis that impacted American Samoa in September 29, 2009.
“This is a historic day for American Samoa. To my knowledge, Reverend Tialavea is the first ever Samoan to give the opening prayer to begin a regular House Congressional Session.
“I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge Reverend Tialavea’s lovely wife – Fa’aipoipoga who is present with us in the Gallery. Also, with her to witness this momentous occasion are Rev. Elder Leatulagi Faalevao who is Vice Chairman of the CCCAS and his wife Vagai, and Rev. Reupena Alo who is Assistant to the General Secretary of the CCCAS and his wife Deanne.
“It is my distinct honor and privilege again to welcome to the House today my good friend, Reverend Sam Tikeri Tialavea, Sr.”
Reverend Tialavea and his guests were later hosted by Congressman Faleomavaega to a luncheon in the Members Dining Room and were provided a tour of the U.S. Capitol and other historical landmarks around Washington, DC.
Photo 1: Rev. Sam Tialavea is presented a Certificate of Recognition and Appreciation by The Rev. Daniel Coughlin of the House of Representatives.
Photo 2: Front row (l-r): Mrs. Vagai Faalevao, Mrs. Faaipoipoga Tialavea, and Mrs. Deanne Alo.
Back row (l-r): Rev. Elder Leatulagi Faalevao, Congressman Faleomavaega, Rev. Sam Tialavea, Rev. Daniel Coughlin, and Rev. Reupena Alo.