A Message From Kahu: Sep 15th, 2022

image of Smithsonian museum of African American History & Culture

A Message From Our Kahu

A Wind Too Strong

A hot wind comes from me out of

the bare heights in the desert…

not to winnow or cleanse— 

a wind too strong for that! 

Look! He comes up like clouds,

    his chariots like the whirlwind…

    woe to us, for we are ruined!

Disaster overtakes disaster!

    The whole land is laid waste.

I looked on the earth,

and it was complete chaos,

I looked, and the fruitful land

was a desert.

(Verses from Jeremiah 4)

On Sunday, September 11, we remembered Hurricane Iniki on the 30th anniversary of that devastating natural disaster for Kauai. We also remembered the terror attacks on 9/11/01 and the wars that followed, as well as the attack on the U.S. government facilities in Benghazi, Libya, on 9/11/12. During the Call to Worship and Opening Prayer, we gave the congregation a chance to sit in silence in order to remember and to reflect on those and other devastating losses. We also considered what it means to stand in solidarity with those who remain and suffer after such tragedies. We also remembered the importance of standing in solidarity with and encouraging the peacemakers of the world. We cannot escape sadness, loss and death in our lives, but we can remember that God is always present with those who suffer. We can also remember that God’s Spirit shows up like wind—sometimes as a gentle and comforting cool breeze on a hot day, and sometimes like a hurricane to knock us out of our complacency.

In the parables of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin in Luke 15, the Gospel reminds us that God deeply loves us at all times, even when we are feeling rather lost and “unaccounted for.” It also reminds us that God loves others just as deeply and, therefore, there is not a single person alive who is any more or any less important than the rest of us. May we treat all people with compassion and understanding, and may we pray for a world where this is the common way of relating to others.

I shared some photos on Sunday from my trip to Kauai just a few days after Hurricane Iniki. I was living in Honolulu and serving on the Hawaii Council of Churches Disaster Relief Task Force and soon became the treasurer of the HCC Iniki Relief Fund. You can see those photos below.

Aloha nui loa!
Kahu Alan Akana

Church News: Aug 31st, 2022

Beware of Scams

Last week, several church members received text messages purporting to originate from Kahu. Sometimes there is a request for money or gift cards immediately and directly; at other times they are vague about the “help” they need until they hear back to see how gullible the person is.

One of those messages over the weekend looked like this:

“I pray that you are safe and well. Do you have a moment? I have a request I need you to handle discreetly. I am extremely busy and could use your help please reply by text.

Peace and love

-Rev. Dr. Alan Akana”

Please know that neither Kahu nor Koloa Union Church asks for help by asking in a text—no matter how busy we may be. 

This is a scammer trying to steal your money by posing as Kahu. Please don’t respond to these requests, whether by text, Facebook or email. If we are ever in a position to request funds from individuals on an emergency basis, we will call you directly or make an appointment to see you in person.

It is unlikely that these persons will be caught as there are many of them and they may not even be contacting you from the island or in the U.S. However, we always appreciate it if you forward any of these scams to the church office or to Kahu so that we are aware when they are happening.

Prayers and Squares

You Event Koloa Union Church Poipu Youth Group

Tuesday, September 6, 10:00 A.M. – 1:00 P.M.

Prayers and Squares is a ministry promoting prayer by creating beautiful hand-tied quilts and offering them to people in crisis or those whom we wish to offer a special aloha. A prayer is said with each knot that is tied in the quilt. When recipients put the quilts it over themselves, they are covering themselves with our prayers. Our motto: “It’s not about the quilt; it’s all about the prayers.”

To request a quilt for church members or friends in crisis, call Debbie Gunning at 808-652-7899.

No experience in quilting or sewing is necessary. There are jobs for everyone to help in the making of the quilts…and everyone is invited to pray!

Grove Farm Train Ride, Museum & Guided Tour

Rev Dr Walt Weiss Koloa Union Church

Friday, September 9

9:00 a.m. Train Ride Meet at the train depot, which is just off Haleko Road (between Nawiliwili Rd and Rice St), across from the old Lihue Mill at the bottom of the valley.

10:00 a.m. Museum & Guided Tour As soon as we arrive at the Grove Farm Visitor Center (located at 4050 Nawiliwili Road in Lihue) after the train ride, we will gather to learn all about the sugar industry on Kauai, including the Wilcox Family and Grove Farm!

Lunch under the Kamani Tree Bring your own lunch and beverage for after the tour! Grove Farm has agreed to set up tables and chairs, especially for us. You may also browse in the gift shop after the tour is completed.

Suggested Donation: $10

Carpoolers will leave the church at 8:30 a.m.

Please RSVP on the signup sheet at church or by contacting the church office by September 1. kucofc@gmail.com

This activity is brought to you by the Koloa Union Church Activities Committee. If you have any questions about this activity, suggestions for future activities, or would like to serve on the committee, please contact Elizabeth Mares, Committee Chair.

Youth

Rev Dr Walt Weiss Koloa Union Church

Youth Group Sunday, September 11th 5:45 – 8 p.m.

“Young Stewards” Exploring Ideas of Stewardship For Today’s Generation of Young People Middle & high school students are invited to enjoy a delicious meal, games, community building, and a conversation about “stewardship.”

Friends are welcome! Please RSVP by September 7.

Lectio Divina

Rev Dr Walt Weiss Koloa Union Church
September 14th 7:00-8:30 p.m.

Join Kahu and Karen Johnson at the Smith Memorial Parsonage for a time to hear and respond to the Scriptures in a quiet, reflective and meaningful way. Lectio Divina is a traditional monastic practice of scriptural reading, meditation and prayer intended to promote communion with God and to increase the knowledge of God’s word.

Please RSVP by September 11 if you plan to attend.

Watch Our Most Recent Worship Service

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PLEASE NOTE that the video of the August 28th worship service is delayed a few days due to Michael Horning, our videographer, being on vacation.

You can click the button below to watch a video of a recent worship service:

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Our online worship services are a great way to introduce people to Koloa Union Church…and provide inspiration and hope to friends and family!

Feel free to forward this email or send the YouTube link to anyone whom you think would enjoy watching our online worship service.

Share our worship service with even more people! You can also put the link of any video of our worship services directly onto your Facebook page and thereby introducing every one of your Facebook friends to our worship services and our church!

Mahalo to Worship Participants

Lectionary Readings

Weekly Readings from the Bible

Each week, Christians throughout the world read biblical passages from the Revised Common Lectionary, including the Old Testament, Psalms, New Testament, and Gospels. After three years, a good portion of the Bible is included and the cycle begins again. RCL passages are often read in church worship services, and Kahu Akana usually includes at least one reading each Sunday.

Reading for August 28: Jeremiah 2:4-13; Psalm 81:1-16; Proverbs 25:6-7; Psalm 112; Hebrew 13:1-16; Luke 14:1-14.
Reading for September 4: Jeremiah 18:1-11; Psalm 139:1-18; Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Psalm 1; Philemon 1:1-21; Luke 14:25-33.
Reading for September 11: Jeremiah 4:11-28; Psalm 14; Exodus 32:7-14; Psalm 51:1-10; 1 Timothy 1:12-17; Luke 15:1-10.

Church Breakfast

Another Enjoyable Church Breakfast At Kiawe Roots on August 23 Join us on the 4th Tuesday of each month for delicious food and a fun time getting to know others from Koloa Union Church!

Next breakfast will be September 27. Location TBA

Fun Pictures Since Our Last Weekly News

A Message From Kahu: Aug 31st, 2022

image of Smithsonian museum of African American History & Culture

A Message From Our Kahu

“Forgiveness and Humility”

For on this day, atonement shall be made for you, to cleanse you; from all your sins you shall be clean before the Lord. It is a Sabbath of complete rest to you, and you shall humble yourselves…. (Leviticus 16:30-31)

On Sunday, we took a look at the Jewish Day of Atonement, also known as Yom Kippur. According to the Old Testament, this was an important holy day established by God through his humble servant Moses. It was a special day at the end of the Jewish year when people observed an extra day of Sabbath that week on which all of the sins of all the people were forgiven so that they might become humble. It was to be a day of complete rest for everyone so that they could focus on God’s grace and mercy, any sins that the people had done, confession and repentance. This quite naturally led to humility, for it was a reminder that we are all far from perfect even though we are created in the image of God.

 

I pointed out in my message that the Day of Atonement was to be commemorated by both the native born and the alien. Typically speaking, native born are those who are born within the boundaries of a nation and aliens are those who are born somewhere else. However, this holy day was established in the midst of the 40-year journey of the Hebrew people between Egypt and the Promised Land. There were no national boundaries yet because they had not even arrived at the land where they would settle. However, since the beginning of human language it seems that people have been describing boundaries to distinguish between “us” and “them.” Moses was very clear, however, that forgiveness is for all of us and between all of us. It is for all of us considered “us” and between “us” and “them.” Even before they settled in the land that would eventually become known as “Israel,” Moses insisted on treating outsiders with grace, mercy, compassion and forgiveness—just as much as insiders. He insisted on taking an entire day every year for the people to asks for God’s forgiveness when they failed to act accordingly, so that the people would become humble and act toward others with love and justice.

The Day of Atonement was a time to focus not only individual sins but also an opportunity to reflect on the sins of the entire nation. As we later move in Israel’s history to the time of the prophets, we find that they were adept at pointing out the sins of oppression and injustice. The prophets condemned the leaders of their nation for acting without compassion to the people living on the margins of society: the poor, the hungry, widows, orphans, and aliens. In the minds of the prophets, no one should be left out of God’s grace and abundance. They were passionate about this and risked their lives by insisting that national leaders repent from unjust policies and actions, and that people repent from supporting those leaders. I hope and pray that we will do the same. I also hope that you will remember the message from the previous week that every act and every word of grace and mercy is huge in God’s eyes, even those that seem small to us.

May God grant us wisdom as we seek to live with grace and mercy.

 

Aloha nui loa!
Kahu Alan Akana