Dear Church,

I pray you are in good health and high spirits. I am grateful for your understanding and support regarding my absence last Sunday. However, it was a time when my commitment to family took precedence.

As some may know, I traveled to Sydney, Australia, to attend my brother’s (first cousin in a Western context) funeral. It was a sad and emotional occasion as we bid farewell to a beloved member of our family. In times like these, we are reminded of the profound importance of family and the bonds we share.

In my Tongan/Polynesian/Pasifika culture, family holds a place of utmost significance. It is where life begins and ends, and it is our duty to honor and support one another through thick and thin. While we cherish our relationships within the church, we must remember that our commitment to family is an essential part of our faith journey.

I want to thank Stephen, who graciously stepped in to deliver the message in my absence. I have heard wonderful feedback about his sermon. Thank you also to Rev. Sammie Ellis, who consecrated the communion elements.

Blessings to you all. I look forward to seeing you Sunday.
Pastor Sela

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