by admin | Mar 26, 2015 | Message from Kahu
OUR MISSION IS TO REACH OUT
As the Season of Lent comes to an end, we are wrapping up our focus on our new Mission Statement. We are talking this week about the final part of the statement: “Our mission is…to reach out into the broader community by sharing aloha with everyone.”
On Sunday, I shared a story about Father Gregory Boyle, who spent most of his ministry working among the inner-city gangs of Los Angeles. He took a couple of gang members with him to a restaurant (a first for both of them!). When they entered the restaurant, the hostess just glared at them. No welcome. No indication that they might be seated. With their shaved heads, tattoos and baggy clothes, they didn’t belong there, at least in her mind. Because of Fr. Boyle’s persistence, she finally sat them. The customers became completely quiet as they stared at the two gang members. Suddenly, like an angel from heaven, the waitress approached and treated them as if they were her favorite customers, calling the two young men “Sweetie” and “Honey.” She brought them additional menus, kept their drinks full, offered them “extra this” and “more of that.” When they asked if she had “Tapatio” hot sauce, she brought it to them as if everyone asked for it all the time.
The two men were blown away by her kindness. When they got back into the car, one of them said, “She treated us like we were somebody” (a kind of treatment they rarely got!). Fr. Boyle called her “Jesus in an apron.” Upon further reflection, it occurred to me that this is how Jesus treated everyone: like they were somebody! Women and men, children and adults, Jews and Samaritans, healthy people and lepers…he treated each and every one as if they were the most important person in the world. As we live out our mission, our job is to do this very same thing. May God grant us wisdom, courage and compassion as week seek to share aloha with everyone!
I hope to see you for our Wednesday Lenten Reflection, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday and Easter Sunday during this wonderful and holy time of the year!
Kahu Alan Akana
by admin | Mar 19, 2015 | News
Good Friday and Easter Sunday will be a lot of fun for the children of Koloa Union Church! Click Easter Poster to find out all about our Easter egg decorating party and Easter egg hunt!
Bring your kids, grandchildren, neighbors to these fun activities. Everyone is invited!
by admin | Mar 18, 2015 | Message from Kahu
OUR MISSION IS TO NURTURE ALL….
The part of our Mission Statement which we are exploring this week is “to nurture all with God’s unconditional love.” On Sunday, I began my sermon talking about the importance of having a nurturing theology. When our theology is nurturing, then we have a shot at being nurturing in all that we do. In the church of my youth, the theology was based more on fear than on nurture. I remember hearing over and over again that my sins were so great that I deserved to die and go to hell. Furthermore, there were certain things one was expected to believe, say and do in order to escape the fires of hell and eternal damnation. Needless to say, I don’t feel very nurtured when I look back to the theology of my youth.
As an adult who has explored the Scriptures for most of my life, I find many examples of theology that are very nurturing. In Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, he wrote these words (15:10): “By the grace of God, I am what I am.” I believe these words may express one of Paul’s most enlightened moments, to be able to look at himself and know that he is what he is because God’s love made him exactly that way.
What would change in your life if you truly believed that about yourself? What would change in your relationships if you truly believed that about other people? What would change in the world if we all believed that about everyone else?
Why not give it a try:
- Take a look in the mirror and say: “By the grace of God, I am what I am.”
- Take a look into the eyes of another and say: “By the grace of God, you are what you are.” (You may want to say this silently or you might get a really funny response!)
Try it out…and just see how your life begins to change!
I invite you to join us on Wednesday evening and Sunday morning as we continue to explore a nurturing theology…and what God is calling us to be!
Kahu Alan Akana
by admin | Mar 3, 2015 | Message from Kahu
OUR HAWAIIAN IDENTITY, LANGUAGE AND CULTURE
Each week during Lent, we are spending some time on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings taking a look at one part of our new Mission Statement:
Our Mission is to worship and serve God,
Whom we understand as Creator, Christ and Spirit;
Embrace our Hawaiian identity, language, and culture;
Invite and welcome others into our faith community;
Nurture all with God’s unconditional love;
And reach out into the broader community
By sharing aloha with everyone.
On Sunday, I shared with the congregation some of my thoughts about the 2nd part of the statement, which focuses on our Hawaiian identity, language and culture. I talked about the Hawaiian word for water, “wai”, and for wealth, “waiwai.” Wealth actually means “lots of water.” Hawaiian people have always measured wealth by the abundance of natural resources…and where there was plenty of fresh water, there was an abundance of kalo (taro), sweet potatoes, animals, and many other things to eat, not to mention an abundance of drinking water! In Hawaiian culture, it was important that there was lots of food and water for everyone. It was also important for people to work hard at whatever it was that they were good at. In fact, people from other places used to be so impressed by how industrious Hawaiians were…how hard they worked…even though they were surrounded by so much seafood and other things that grew on the land. They worked hard and long hours because they found their work extremely meaningful.
I also shared my observation that so much of the Old and New Testaments also speaks of wealth in the same way, including our reading from Isaiah 55:
Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters;
and you that have no money, come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wind and milk without money or price.
Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
This sounds like the same message to me! There is something deeply satisfying about working hard at something when you know your place and see the overall purpose of your work, especially when you know that you are making life better for others.
I invite you to come to the water and drink deeply! Enjoy the abundance all around us! And, if you haven’t already, find something that you are really good at, and figure out how to use that gift to make life better for others! Let’s commit to that as individuals…and as a church!
Kahu Alan Akana
by admin | Mar 3, 2015 | News
A NOTE FROM KAHU AKANA
Dear Members and Friends of Kōloa Union Church:
I have found that the older I get, the more meaningful Lent becomes for me. When my parents’ sent me to Catholic School as a kid, I was asked, “What are you going to give up for Lent?” Of course, suggestions were made that I was not interested in at all: meat, candy, dessert. From my perspective Lent was all about sacrifice and guilt. (The guilt came mainly because I didn’t want to give anything up, especially candy and dessert!) All of the students were required to attend Ash Wednesday services where I was told I was going to die–and the implication was: “So get used to it,” or, at the very least, “Get ready to die.” As a 10-year-old, Lent was a pretty scary and negative time.
I don’t remember Lent being mentioned at the Baptist Church I attended in junior high and high school. Yet, as I reflect back upon those days, it seems that every week provided that same kind of Lenten experience steeped in sacrifice, guilt and fear. As kids, we were constantly reminded of the threat of hell… and told to accept Jesus NOW…and tell our friends to accept Jesus NOW…because we could die or Jesus could return at any moment. We even sang in a musical called “Tomorrow May Never Come.” The message was, “Accept Jesus NOW because (you guessed it) tomorrow may never come.”
After attending several churches which celebrate Lent, this special season has become for me a time of joy and reflection while focusing on God’s compassion and the human ability to imagine how such compassion can change hearts and even change the world. Our Ash Wednesday service this year was a special time to remember God’s love and the hope we have in life–even in the midst of saying good-bye to loved ones and remembering the temporary nature of all physical things, including our human bodies. On Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings, we will be focusing on our brand new Mission Statement and how God might be leading us as individuals and as a congregation to move forward into our identity and calling as God’s people.
I hope you will join us on Sunday mornings and on Wednesday evenings during Lent as we celebrate the joy of God’s presence among us and all around us, and as we explore how God can lead us into an exciting and joy-filled future!
Aloha Nui Loa!
Check out our special edition newsletter for Maika’i Hana Hou (our capital campaign):
Special Edition Newsletter
AUNTY NIELE’S NEWSY NOTES
By Penny Osuga
Fab having Dan (Naomi) Giovanni join the church AND lead our Capital Campaign! As many of you recall, Naomi’s dad, Rev. Susumu (Miyeko) Yamane was our pastor 1957-1962! Marie Buckner (George) sang a beautiful duet with Doug [“Somewhere Over the Rainbow”] before heading home to Washington. Kahu awoke with laryngitis on Sunday, February 8! Doug filled the pulpit that day and did such a fine job….again. One of the lessons he preached: “Love is forgiving and love is for giving.” Totally enjoyed Lori Miller as she filled our pulpit on February 15. She attends Kapaa Hawaiian. She joined our “drop in choir” that day. Kahu had flown to the Big Island to inter his Mom’s ashes. Mom is now happily resting next to Dad. Was great having Tom Batey and Toyo Nishida in church. Thanks to Bonnie Kakinami and Missy Foley for the weekly altar flowers. I have been told that somewhere in this world everyone has a twin. I found my “twin” in church last Sunday! And I am proud to say she has great taste. Please allow me to introduce my twin, Jane Reed, visiting all the way from British Columbia, Canada! I am the one wearing the name tag! The Deacons had a very productive retreat at the parsonage. Thank you, Deacons, for all you do. We celebrated Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday/Shrove Tuesday with a fun pancake dinner. About 30 attended. The following night we started our annual soup suppers then an Ash Wednesday Service. Fran Johnshoy’s carrot ginger soup was such a hit everyone requested she make that soup a 2nd time!!! Their daughter and 2 granddaughters [Lisa, Bronwyn and Avery]helped and Bronwyn was one of the readers during the service as were Al and Carole Pugsley. The Pugsley’s daughter, Lori, has been here for a visit and she joined in our fun events. Wowwie! I hear Kelsey Duvauchelle has been invited to attend the Cannes Film Festival! She will be hobnobbing with the rich and famous and she will be, too!!! Congratulations to our former pastor, Rev. Dr. Nani Hill on her recent retirement!! I am guessing that she and Jerry will be spending a lot of time with their 7 year-old granddaughter, Mililani.
Parking on Sunday Mornings Good News and Bad NewsFirst the good news: we are growing as a church and our attendance is increasing! (Actually, that is great news…fantastic news!!!) The bad news: with attendance in the 70’s and 80’s, we are running out of space for parking in front of the church. With further growth, we anticipate that this space will get even tighter. Since lack of parking (even the perception of a lack of parking) is one of the hindrances for visitors (especially first-time visitors) to attend our church, we request our members and regular attendees to park along the south side of Moore Hall. We will leave the gate open on Sunday mornings, so you can pull right in. That way our guests and handicap drivers will be able to park in the front; and they will be able to see as they drive into the parking lot that there is a space for them! Mahalo for your kokua!
Church Membership and Baptism Interested in Joining the Church or Baptism? The Deacons are hosting an informational gathering on Sunday, March 1, from 12:30-2:00 (right after the Aloha Hour) for everyone interested in church membership, baptism, or having children baptized. All those who attend and decide to join Kōloa Union Church will have the opportunity to do so during the worship service on Sunday, March 29th. If you are interested in membership or baptism but cannot attend the gathering on March 1, please contact Kahu Alan Akana as soon as possible to make an appointment for another session with him and the Deacons.
Capital Campaign Please Say YES! Our Capital Campaign Leadership Team has begun meeting and will need YOUR help in order to have a successful capital campaign. Please see the enclosed Special Edition Newsletter for all of the details. And, remember, Please Say YES, when asked to volunteer!
A Dinner for Snowbirds, Monday, March 2, at 5 p.m. Kahu Alan Akana invites all of our snowbirds (those who “flock” to Kaua‘i each year to escape the cold climates on the mainland) to the parsonage for an old fashioned “taco toss” and social gathering. Kahu will provide rice and Mexican chicken, as well as ice tea and water; everyone else can sign up to bring anything else you would like to add to the tacos (and additional beverages if you like). Please invite other snowbirds who are your friends and neighbors, and let Penny know what you would like to bring. The parsonage is located at 3281 Waikomo Road in Kōloa.
Henry ‘Opukaha‘ia Sunday Thanks for Giving to the Special Offering on Feb.15! Thanks you to everyone who gave a gift to the Henry ‘Opukaha‘ia offering. This special offering honors the memory of the first known Hawaiian to convert to Christianity and who was instrumental in bringing the first Christian missionaries to Hawai‘i. A special offering was collected on Sunday, February 15, to provide educational scholarships for current and prospective pastors. Together, we raised $306! Combined with what other churches in Hawai‘i gave, we make a big difference every year toward the Hawai‘i Conference scholarship fund!
One Great Hour of Sharing Please Consider a Generous Gift this Year One Great Hour of Sharing is the Lenten Offering of the United Church of Christ that supports disaster, refugee, and development actions. Please consider a generous offering this year. We will collect the One Great Hour of Sharing offering on Palm Sunday (March 29), Maundy Thursday (April 2) and Easter Sunday (April 5).
Lenten Soup Suppers & Reflections Wednesdays in Lent Each Wednesday in Lent (February 25 through March 25), we will enjoy a soup supper at 6 p.m. and then a time of reflection afterwards in Moore Hall. We will use our recently adopted Mission Statement as a guide while exploring our spirituality. Please sign up to bring soup if you are able.
Save The Dates
Take a Look at What is Coming Up….
April 2, 7 p.m. Maundy Thursday Communion Service
April 3, 10 a.m. Good Friday Easter Egg Decorating and Lunch
April 5, 6 a.m. Easter Sunrise Service, 9 a.m. Breakfast, 11:30 Brunch and Easter Egg Hunt
April 24-25 Spring ‘Aha Mokupuni at Lihue United Church (‘Aha Mele on 4/24!)
May 17 Capital Campaign Commitment Sunday and Special Event
June 7 Capital Campaign Celebration Sunday and Party
Website Updates www.koloaunionchurch.org Did you know that our website gets updated every week? Did you know that Kahu Alan posts a weekly devotional message? Did you know that important announcements get posted? Did you know that you can receive all of our website posts in your email so that you can automatically get the most recent news and announcements as soon as they are posted? (To do so, just enter your email address in the white box on any page and click “Subscribe”.)
Thank you, Joni, for our updated,fresh, fancy and fabulous bulletin board.
Our talented choir: Jean, Edie, Doug, Jo, Becky, Debbie, Karen, Sam, Karen and Sally!!!