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"Samoa's date change meant Saturday became the sixth day"
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"Samoa's date change meant Saturday became the sixth day"

Steven NsubugaThe decision of Pacific island state Samoa to change its timezone over the New Year has not pleased all islanders, least of all those respecting Saturday as a holy day, reports Steven Nsubuga, 27, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Kampala, Uganda.

As a devout Seventh Day Adventist, I have followed with great interest the change of the International Dateline in Samoa, especially the resultant debate among my fellow Seventh Day Adventists there on the implications of the date change.

Seventh Day Adventists, as the name suggests, are Christians who observe the Sabbath as the Seventh Day of the week as stated in the fourth commandment in Exodus 20:8-11. This day, as almost everyone agrees, is Saturday.

What is the ruckus about? Well, the change, which was made after Thursday December 29th 2011, involved skipping Friday December 30th and moving straight to Saturday December 31st. This in effect meant that Saturday in Samoa became the sixth day and Sunday the seventh day.

Seventh Day Adventists have always been known to congregate in church on Saturday. The Seventh Day Adventist church in Samoa therefore decided to henceforth begin observing Sunday as the Sabbath. This has not, however, pleased everyone, especially those who have always linked Sabbath with Saturday.

As a Ugandan, I am hesitant to respond or advise my brethren in Samoa, since this is primarily a Samoan issue. Nevertheless, I do offer my two cents worth of opinion. I believe the church in Samoa did the right thing, especially since this is not the first time the International Dateline has been changed in Samoa.

The seventh day of the week is not an arbitrary date of the week, in fact, it is not even given a specific name in the Bible. It is only referred to as the seventh day. It is merely an issue to do with counting, and in this case, the change to Sunday makes sense.

My last word to my Samoan brethren is to consider the matter calmly and prayerfully.

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About me:

“I am a 27-year-old software developer from Uganda. When I am not writing code, I am either reading my bible or playing Scrabble, football or badminton (I am a classic single-tasker, so I only one activity at a time).

“Sometimes you may also find me pondering who was the greater detective – Hercule Poirot or Sherlock Holmes.”

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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