Methodist church hosts luau fundraiser

The Pacific Islands came to life at the Trinity United Methodist Church in Colusa on Saturday.

The ministry’s first luau had much to offer, including rich Polynesian food in the form of a whole roasted pig, sweet barbecued chicken, Sapasui, sweet potatoes and other flavors of the clime and culture of Tonga, Hawaii, Fiji, and Samoa.

Rev. Kalolaine Lavalu-Afu, pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church, and her family prepared the meal and provided the entertainment, which included the costumes, music and dances unique to each island.

“Wherever you come from in the islands, there is a song for you,” said Lavalu-Afu, who was born and raised in the South Pacific Kingdom of Tonga.

The luau was a fundraiser for the church’s ministry and goals, which strives to overcoming poverty by lending support to organizations like A Hand UP, which helps those in Colusa who are homeless or suffer food insecurity.

“There are many in this community who are in need,” said George Sanders, a member of the congregation.

Rev. Latulala Toetuu, pastor of the Federated Church of Orland, said luaus have become popular among the regions’ churches because the Polynesian tradition of feasting and dancing is a great way to celebrate the grace of God and a way for the community to be good stewards of the church.

Bonnie Scriven, of Yuba City, who attended the luaus at Grace United Methodist Church in Yuba City on May 4 and Colusa’s on Saturday, said the food, music, and dancing were excellent.

“It was very authentic,” she said.

Elizabeth Yerxa, of Colusa, also said the event was wonderful.

“It’s the most fun that I’ve had in Friendship Hall in a long time,” she said.

The traditional dances of Fiji, Hawaii, and Tonga were highlighted with guests tossing money to the dancers, in true Polynesian tradition, to help support the church’s ministry.

“We are grateful and blessed for what God is doing for us,” said Pastor Kalo, as her congregation knows her.

In addition to great food and fun, the event served to bring families and friends together to celebrate “being happy and joyous in front of God,” Toetuu said.

The luau, like the one in Orland and Yuba City, is to be an annual event.■