Kalolaine Lavalu-Afu has officially begun her duties as minister of Trinity United Methodist Church in Colusa.
Pastor Kalo, as her congregation knows her, was appointed to the position by the California Nevada Conference Bishop in June, and preached her first sermon on July 1.
“It is my pleasure to be here,” Lavalu-Afu said. “I’m very excited.”
Lavalu-Afu, 51, was born and raised in the South Pacific Kingdom of Tonga, a chain of islands with about 100,000 people.
“The ministry is my calling,” said Lavalu-Afu, who has been a minister for five years. “It has been my calling since I was a child.”
With few opportunities for woman to be in the ministry in Tonga, Lavalu-Afu came to the U.S. in 1991, and earned a bachelor’s degree from Patten University in Oakland, and a master’s degree in Divinity from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley.
She lives in Yuba City with her husband, Tevita Lavalu, and teenage sons, Eli and Otu, and daughter Nunu, who will be entering college in the fall.
Lavalu-Afu said she is committed to embracing the diversity of the community and hopes to enable people to know God’s loving presence and experience by bringing them together into the family of Jesus Christ. She also plans for the church to form a youth group and sponsor events that bring the congregation together with the community.
“The church as a family is my focus,” she said. “With God’s power and our faith, we can do great things.”
Trinity United is located at 511 Oak St., Colusa. Worship and Sunday School is held at 11 AM each Sunday. All are welcome.