Time on Hawai`i Island
I began last week by flying to Kona on Monday morning to the annual Hawai`i Conference (United Church of Christ) Clergy Retreat. Whenever I attend this event, I find something inspirational and something new to learn. I was especially encouraged to gather with colleagues and Cynthia Scherr, the consultant whom the Conference hired to lead us in creating a strategic plan for us all. The strategic planning committee is considering a new mission statement and vision, as well as areas of focus so that our efforts and budget of our Conference might clearly reflect our values as the people of the Hawai`i Conference– for we are the Conference! On Tuesday, March 13, Cynthia will be joining us at Koloa Union Church to hear our thoughts and the thoughts of people on Kaua`i regarding vision, mission and priorities.
After three days at the clergy retreat, I headed up to Volcano for some hiking, visiting friends, reading, and searching for new flowers. I intend to paint the `ohi`a lehua blossom sometime this year, so I walked around Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park for some inspiration. I love how its striking bright red blossoms stand out against the black lava of Halema`uma`u Crater (the photo above). I also saw a species of the rare hau kuahiwi flower, which I had never seen before.
One of my great surprises to come across an `io–the rare Hawaiian hawk, which used to inhabit all of the islands (including Kaua`i), but now is only found on Hawai`i Island. The majestic bird I saw was covered with mostly light-colored feathers and stood nearly a foot and a half tall, as it perched in the branches of an `ohi`a tree for about ten minutes before flying off. It is a royal symbol in Hawaiian lore and is sometimes called `iolani, meaning “exalted hawk” or “heavenly hawk.” I was so grateful to see this bird for the first time!
I had a wonderful week retreating, hiking and resting. Now, it is good to be back. I enjoyed visiting with the men this morning at our weekly men’s breakfast. I look forward to seeing everyone at tonight’s strategic planning gathering, tomorrow’s soup supper and Lenten reflection, and (of course!) Sunday morning worship!
Our Kahu (Pastor) offers a weekly message in church most Sundays during the year. You may see the Koloa Union Church YouTube channel to see many of his past messages and subscribe in order be notified when a new message is posted. Please share these videos with friends and invite them to church. Please feel free to “Like” any of the videos you see and share them on social media, such as Facebook, so that others will notice them.
“A Message from Kahu Alan Akana” is provided most weeks by the Kahu (Pastor) of Koloa Union Church, a congregation of the United Church of Christ (UCC), a member of the Kauai Association and Hawaii Conference.