Religion in Samoa


Religion in Samoa
Mulivai Cathedral, Apia (Catholic), Samoa. The earthquake damaged Cathedral has now been demolished.
Bahá'í House of Worship, Tiapapata, Samoa.

Religion in Samoa encompasses a range of groups, but nearly 100% of the population of Samoa is Christian.[1] The 2001 Census revealed the following distribution of Christian groups: Congregational Christian, 34.8 percent; Roman Catholic, 19.6 percent; Methodist, 15 percent; the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), 12.7 percent; Assemblies of God, 6.6 percent; and Seventh-day Adventist, 3.5 percent.[1] These statistics reflected continual growth in the number and size of Mormons and Assemblies of God and a relative decline in the membership of the historically larger denominations.[1] The following groups constitute less than 5 percent of the population: Nazarene, Anglican, Congregational Church of Jesus, Worship Centre, Jehovah's Witnesses, Full Gospel, Peace Chapel, Elim Church, Voice of Christ, and Baptist.[1]

Historic Methodist Chapel at Piula Theological College on Upolu island.

There are also members of other religions such as Islam and the Baha'i Faith; the shared estimate of the Bahá'í population in Samoa circa 2000 according to a profile by the World Council of Churches and the online encyclopedia Encarta was 2% of the nation — some 3600 people — and the only non-Christian community of any number.[2][3] The country hosts one of only seven Baha'i Houses of Worship in the world.[1] The Baha'i Houses of Worship was dedicated by Malietoa Tanumafili II, King of Samoa (1913-2007), who was the first reigning Bahá'í monarch.[4] Although there were no official data, it is generally believed that there are also some practicing Hindus, Buddhists, and Jews in the capital city.[1]

All religious groups are multiethnic; none are composed exclusively of foreign nationals or native-born (Western) Samoans.[1] There are no sizable foreign national or immigrant groups, with the exception of U.S. nationals from American Samoa.[1] Missionaries operated freely within the country.[1] There is strong societal pressure at the village and local level to participate in church services and other activities, and financially support church leaders and projects.[1] In some denominations, such financial contributions often total more than 30 percent of family income.[1] The constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the government generally respected this right in practice.[1] The US government found there to be no reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious belief or practice in 2007.[1]

See also

  • Bahá'í Faith in Samoa
  • Roman Catholicism in Samoa
  • Piula Theological College

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m International Religious Freedom Report 2007: Samoa. United States Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (September 14, 2007). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. ^ "Samoa". WCC > Member churches > Regions > Pacific >. World Council of Churches. 2006-01-01. http://www.oikoumene.org/en/member-churches/regions/pacific/samoa.html. Retrieved 2008-06-15. 
  3. ^ "Samoa Facts and Figures from Encarta - People". Encarta. Online. Microsoft. 2008. http://encarta.msn.com/fact_631504895/samoa_facts_and_figures.html. Retrieved 2008-06-15. 
  4. ^ Bahá'í International Community (2007-05-14). "Funeral and memorial service planned for Samoan head of state". Bahá'í World News Service. http://news.bahai.org/story/543. Retrieved 2007-05-14. 

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