Assembly of God Factions in Bitter Dispute Over Church AffiliationPosted: March 14, 2010
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One side believes it should be affiliated with the Samoan Assemby of God. The other side believes it should be affiliated with Assembly of God Incorporated.
The two groups – each one with allegiance to a different national church body – both lay claim to the Green Valley Church in Wainiuomata, and have been at loggerheads for six years.
The battle has seen one group locked out of their place of worship, forced to rent another building for their weekly services.
The other group, led by the current pastor, has taken over the church’s board of trustees and has aligned it with a rival Samoan Assembly of God organisation.
Police have been called at least once when a confrontation on church grounds became heated. The battle has now gone all the way to the High Court.
Justice Ronald Young has ordered the two groups to work together under a court appointed public trustee, and elect a new board. “There has been a complete breakdown in the structure and organisation of this Church and trust,” he wrote in a judgment released this week. “There is now an intractable standoff between the two groups.”
The dispute is the culmination of a falling out between two of the church’s founders. Seneti Time and Luaiva Fagalilo were initial trustees when a group of Samoan families began the church in 1984. However, in 2005, two groups within the church disagreed about which national body the church should be affiliated with.