EKT mourns the death of Mother Taliu Eli Penitusi

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Today, Monday 17 August 2020 – Kitiona Tausi

It was about 9.30pm, Thursday 13 August 2020 when Late Mother Taliu Eli Penitusi, the wife of Rev. Penitusi Taeai passed away peacefully at the church’s parsonage which they served at the Vaiaku EKT Congregational Church. Mother Taliu according to family report has been struggling with cancer for quite sometimes and had sought local treatment and prayers.

Late Mother Taliu has been inactive in the church for a couple of weeks before she passed away and before that she was performing her responsibilities as a Mother to the congregation and as an assistance to her pastor husband, Rev. Penitusi Taeai.

In the church, Mother Taliu was a Sunday School Teacher, a member of the Church Choir and a Mother to the Women’s Association, the Youth Association and the Church as a whole.

During her funeral last Saturday at the Tulakiiga Falekaupule, husband Rev Penitusi Taeia referenced her as the major shaper of his life. She said she has been providing very good counsel to him during their family life and especially during their pastoral ministry.

Late Mother Taliu Penitusi was laid at the Tulakiiga Falekaupule for families, friends to offer their final respects and condolences to her before she was taken to the Vaiaku Church for her funeral service.

Women from the Funafuti Church led by Mrs. Oliula Kalahati were also in attendance and through Mrs. Kalahati, gave a good reference for the Late Mother Taliu Penitusi. The Leader of the Funafuti Community, Mr. Siliga Kofe was also present at the funeral.

The Tulakiiga Falekaupule was packed with family members, friends and people who knew the Late Mother Taliu Penitusi who came to pay their final respect to her.

The Prime Minister, Hon. Kausea Natano was also present and he spoke words of condolences representing the Government of Tuvalu.

He also commended the Late Mother Taliu Penitusi for her contribution to the nation not only to the Ekalesia Kelisiano Tuvalu but also to the Government of Tuvalu when she was a Primary School Teacher.

There was one EKT congregation on the capital which came to pay respect, Fa’kai Fou Church Congregation accompanied by their Commissioned Minister, Rev. Tofiga Falani and the church’s choir. Wives of retired and serving ministers were also in attendance.

The staff and the students of the Fetuvalu Secondary School also came to the funeral to offer their respect to the Late Taliu Eli Penitusi as Rev Elder Penitusi Taeia is the Chairman of the school’s Board of Regents.

At about 3.00pm in the afternoon, the Late Mother Taliu E. Penitusi’s coffin was taken to the Vaiaku Church for her final funeral service.

The last service for the Late Mother Taliu Eli Penitusi took place in the Vaiaku Church and was led by Rev. Alefaio Honolulu from the EKT’s Head Office. The prayers were also said by representatives from the Head Office, Ordination Candidate Walter Pulogo in the Prayer of Thanksgiving, Ordination Candidate, Satalaka Faiva in the Prayer of Confession and Wife of the Late Kalahati Kilei, Mrs. Oliula Panapa offered the Prayer of Intercession.

There were also representatives from church organizations who presented their testimonies in respect of Mother Taliu Penitusi Eli; the EKT’s Women Fellowship by Mrs. Malisi A. Honolulu; the family by Rev Penitusi Taeia’ from the Ekalesia Tuvalu by Rev. Fitilau Puapua and from the Vaiaku Church Congregation by Elder Deacon, Mr Keli Polapola.

The sermon was delivered by Rev Fitilau Puapua, the General Secretary of EKT who gave a sermon on Aquila and Priscilla who were converted to Christianity through the work of the Apostle Paul and they remained inseparable from each other.

He said that although death is our final destiny but we cannot be separated from each other through the love of Christ.

Mrs. Malisi Alefaio gave a list of the Late Mother Taliu Penitusi’s history of her important involvement with the Church:

She hailed from the island of Nui and she became President of the EKT’s Women Fellowship in 2014-2018 following her husband’s appointment as EKT President during EKT’s 2014 General Assembly that was held on Niutao.

During her presidency, she represented the Fellowship at overseas meetings especially of the Council for World Mission (CWM) and she did speak very strongly in support of women issues.

Also during her presidency, she represented EKT’s Women Fellowship at the Executive Committee of the Ekalesia Kelisiano Tuvalu for 4 years. She was also engaged in providing counselling to ministers’ wives as well as to staff in the Fellowship’s Head Office.

Before her departure, she was the Mother of the Southern District churches and she also led the National Ecumenical Committee. Although she has started to get sick, she continued to perform her duties. Mother Taliu never undermined her fellow mothers in the ministry but she used to provide pastoral counselling to them.

Late Mother Taliu Penitusi was married to Rev. Penitusi Taeia in 1984 and started their pastoral ministry on the island of Niutao in 1984-1988. In 1989 – 1991, the couple were at PTC doing their Bachelor’s Degree of Divinity. In 1992-1995 they took charge of the Vaitupu Church and in 1995-1998 they were at the Nanumea Church.

In 1998 – 2002, her husband, Rev Penitusi Taeai was EKT’s President and in 2002 – 2004, Rev. Penitusi Taeia became Chaplain at the Fetuvalu Secondary School while the Late Mother Taliu Penitusi became an English Teacher at the School.

In 2004, Rev. Taeia was again at the Pacific Theological College for the Master of Theology Degree program. In 2012 – 2014, Rev. Taeia was Hospital Chaplain at the Princess Margaret Hospital and in 2014- 2018 he became EKT’s President.

The husband, Rev. Penitusi Taeia also gave a testimony of his wife, the Late Mother Taliu Penitusi Eli. He said that “my life was shaped by this woman.” She was a woman of many talents which may have been derived from her teaching profession.

“In my weaknesses, she used to encourage me. She came from a very devoted Christian family. She was the first child of her parents out of six other children. A family that lived on Nauru when Nauru was economically doing very well. Her parent, Eli Talaa and Ane Lanto were great supporters of the Church’s annual offerings and they really worked very hard for the offerings.”

He said, his wife, was really keen in ensuring the house inside and outside were neat and tidy and she liked gardening.

Rev. Taeia was proud to have a very dedicated and hard-working woman for his wife. He said, he’s being blessed by her marriage to Mother Taliu.

After he final service in the Vaiaku Church, her coffin was carried on foot from the Church to her grave, about 200-meter distance.

All the family members and church members walked on foot to the grave besides the runway.

There were church ministers’ wives who are present at the last burial service at the grave and they posed for a photo beside the grave.

From the grave, the attendants at the grace all walked back to the Tulakiiga Hall for the final funeral feast.

The Late Mother Taliu Penitusi Eli will be missed by her husband and children, family members and especially the members of the Vaiaku Church.

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