(The usual suspects are here: Kawaiha’o Church in Honolulu, St. Benedict’s “The Painted Church” in Honaunau on the Big Island, St. Philomena in Kalaupapa; in addition to thirty-four other old churches spread out among six of the islands. One thing I liked about the selection is that most of the choices came from islands outside of O’ahu. This provides incentive for both tourists and the majority of the population in Hawai’i (located on O’ahu if you were not sure) to explore something different when they go to Maui, Moloka’i, or the Big Island. The book features offbeat sights, and explains the history in brief informing chapters.)
Sustained by faith, they came from east and west, some from halfway around the planet. When they arrived, Hawai’i's immigrant cultures built houses of faith-churches and temples. These island structures are not tourist attractions, but they tell Hawai’i’s collective story more eloquently than any guidebook.
I started out renting a Jeep to drive the inland road to Hana. Cheeky woman! For me, this is more interesting and diverse than the windward road and definitely less travelled.
The road goes through the Ulupalakua Ranch.
bunches of rainbows, always
This abandoned church is on Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Company land in central Maui between Kahului and Kihei.
It was Maui’s first Japanese Christian church, the Pu‘unene Congregational Church played an important part in the lives of many plantation workers who lived and worked near the Pu‘unene Sugar Mill.
… is Maui’s first Christian church, established by Keopuolani herself—the sacred wife of Kamehameha I and mother of his heirs. She was considered a living goddess whose spiritual authority resulted from generations of brother-sister matings that had concentrated the sanctimony of her lineage. Months after her warrior-husband died, Keopuolani instigated the overthrow of the kapu system that had governed Hawaiian culture for more than a millennium, essentially nullifying her own high status. When the first missionaries arrived at Kailua Bay (Hawai‘i Island) several months later, she and her subjects were waiting for their instruction. In 1823 the queen brought two of these early missionaries—William Richards and Charles Stewart—to Lahaina, to this spot, and said, in effect, “Build here!”
Originally called Waine‘e, the church stood on the shore of a small lake in which dwelt a mo‘o, a water spirit, the deified form of the queen’s own ancestress. Thus, this piece of land was the queen’s pre-Christian power spot, and the decision to plant a church there must have been fraught with implications.
Keopuolani died about nine months later. In the end she entrusted her two small children, boy and girl, to the care of the missionaries, and she became the first ali‘i (royalty) to receive baptism and a Christian burial. Stewart returned to America, but Richards stayed his whole life, helped write the kingdom’s first constitution, and served as ambassador to the United States. He is buried in Waiola Cemetery along with many other important figures from these turbulent years.
The little boy and girl grew up caught in a vise of tragedy. Deep tradition would have them wed; newfangled Christianity forbade it. In time the girl, Nahi‘ena‘ena, perished after giving birth to her brother’s child, which also died. Her grief-stricken brother, Kauikeauoli (or Kamehameha III) built a mausoleum on an island in that lake, adorned it with his sister’s personal effects, and placed the coffins of his mother, sister, and child there on a four-poster bed. From this place he ruled the kingdom for many years.
As sugar production robbed Lahaina of its natural water flow, the lake silted up (it is now a waste area and ballfield) and the mo‘o withdrew. Mighty winds destroyed the church four times. The last time the congregation rebuilt, they changed the name of the church from Waine‘e (moving water) to Waiola (water of life).
So far so good.
Onward Christian soldiers…
Up-country Kona is a charming amalgamation of True Old Hawaii and whimsical counter culture weirdness–all with stunning views of the ocean.
On the Road to nowhere…♬
Lanakila Church/Kaona Uprising
The smell of plumeria, Hulopoe Beach, the pool at Manele Bay, aqaintances, and of course churches were all welcome sites upon my return.
Kai Okahi Oka Malamalama Church
Situated in front of the Four Seasons Lodge at Koele, feeling slightly out of place, this church has been a part of the Lanai community for nearly 80 years. Services are both in the Hawai’ian and English language. Visitors to the church are welcome.
The island, once almost entirely devoted to pineapple production, has become a destination for visitors eager to find Hawaii's natural side.
By 1882 the workforce of Lihu'e plantation was up to 245. It consisted of 76 Chinese, 60 South Sea Islanders, 55 Hawaiians, 43 Germans and 11 Norwegians. Around 1885 pineapple plantations were started in Hawaii. In 1898 the sugar planters were able to convince the United States to annex Hawaii as a possession in spite of some native opposition. They knew that they would then receive a special payment for shipping sugar to the mainland. The islands eventually became a territory of the United State on June 14, 1900.
The German families here formed a strong community. They built their own church and established their own school on the Lihu'e Plantation with an imported German teacher. Fredrich Richter, a theology student who came on the first boatload, was not only the teacher but also the minister for the Lutheran congregation. The German language was spoken and taught for many years in both the school and the church.The Lutheran Church in Lihu'e, Kaua'i, 1885
(photo courtesy of Ursula Timann)
The school was operating until 1918 when the United States went to war and the Isenburgs were urged to close the school. At that time there were still thirty-five students. Through these institutions the culture and traditions of Germany were undoubtedly kept intact on Kaua'i. Records were kept of all the births of the early immigrants and are now in the Hawaii state archives. Very few of these immigrant families remain in Kuau'i today except through intermarriage with the native Hawaiians, Portuguese, Norwegian or other nationalities. Many of the families immigrated to the mainland to Washington, Oregon and California by the early 1900's.
I love this ‘primm’ little church on top of the hill.
Lihue Lutheran Church rebuilt twice, once in 1982 after hurricane Iwa and again in 1992 after hurricane Iniki. The re-building of the church was accomplished with contributions from all over the world its mission statement is, Ka Hale pule ‘o na lahui apau…Hele pu makou me Jesu Krista-(“The Church of All Peoples…Walking together with Christ”).
"Joyful water" seems an appropriate name for a church on Kauai's North Shore, but it just so happens that the Wai'oli Hui'ia Church in Hanalei is named for the stream that begins in the green mountains and ends in Hanalei Bay.
Waioli Mission House, built in 1841, is one of Hawaii's best-preserved mission houses and therefore well worth visiting. While most mission houses are built in the New England style (including the interiors), the exterior of this house shows a definite influence of the Southern States. This can be attributed to the fact that the missionary William P. Alexander came to Kauai from Kentucky. Five years later, the Wilcox family, who were also missionaries, moved in. The rooms have been kept as far as possible in their original state and show the Hawaiian style of home decoration of the malihin (non-natives). A large part of the missionary Abner Wilcox's library can still be seen in his study including some of the earlier schoolbooks printed in Honolulu.
Christ Memorial Episcopal Church is one of the most picturesque Episcopal churches in the Hawaiian Islands.
In 1939 the Kilauea Sugar Company deeded the churchyard to Christ Memorial Church and gave the native stone used in the erection of the present building. The chief benefactor, however, was Mrs. Robert Shapard, of Griffin, Georgia, in memory of her husband, and on the Second Sunday after Epiphany on January 19, 1941 The Right Rev. Harrington Littell consecrated the church.
The graveyard surrounding the church dates back to the earliest days of the original Hawaiian Congregational Church, with many graves dating back over 100 years. Unfortunately, many graves are unmarked and the number of people buried here will probably remain a secret known only to God.
“Aloha is an overused, misused, and abused word that to ousiders merely means hello or goodbye. To Hawaiians, however, aloha is a state of mind that summons a spirit of generosity, tolerance, sponteneity, compassion and creativity that is infectious… …Aloha is an instinctive love that loops back through the generations. Aloha is the essence of the old churches of Hawai’i.”
-so ends the introduction to “Glory by the Wayside.”
I could not think of better words to end this post. Aloha.