A Message From Kahu: July 21th, 2022

image of Smithsonian museum of African American History & Culture

A Message from Our Kahu

“Christ in You”

“The riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you” (Colossians 1:27)


On Sunday, I invited the congregation to consider the great mysteries of the universe. It seemed especially pertinent since so many of us had just viewed some of the new and amazing images of the universe from the James Webb Telescope which were released to the public during the previous week. It was mind-boggling to see so many galaxies in a small photograph and also to know that the photographs represented just a pinprick of the sky. With trillions of galaxies out there in space, each with billions of stars, there is no question that mystery is here to stay. There will always be more that we don’t know than all that we do—and that goes for God as well as the universe!

According to the Letter to the Colossians, the most important mystery is that the fulness of God is in Christ—and Christ is in you! And because Christ is omnipresent, the fulness of God is in every other human; and not only in every other human, but in all creation. Imagine that: the fulness of God is everywhere in the trillions of galaxies of the universe! I invite you to ponder this for awhile. Consider how you might live differently knowing that the fulness of God is in you and everywhere in the universe. Remember that God is love. Remember that God deeply desires peace and reconciliation between people…and between families…and between communities…and between nations. Let’s live knowing that this is what God wants…and we have the fulness of God within us to do something about it.

Aloha nui loa!
Kahu Alan Akana

A Message From Kahu: July 13th, 2022

image of Smithsonian museum of African American History & Culture
“Gratitude, Faith, Love, Hope”

On Sunday, I told the congregation that this past 4th of July was hard for me to get into the spirit of the holiday. Early in the day, I heard the news about the tragic mass shooting at the Independence Day parade in Highland Park, Illinois. I had spent close to a year there consulting a church with their capital campaign. The former mayor of the town was part of the campaign leadership team, as were other community members. Although it has been nearly 20 years since I was there, I knew that some of those people with whom I worked rather closely would have been at the parade last week. I wondered if any of them were shot. I wondered if any of their family members were killed or injured. I wondered how many funerals they would be attending in the days to come.

To be completely transparent, most of the news these days has been very difficult to hear. I almost dread turning on the radio to NPR every morning. So much of what our country promotes regarding independence and freedom these days seems the opposite of what our founding fathers would have wanted and certainly different from what Jesus and his early followers taught about freedom.

We began this week diving into the Letter to the Colossians and we find in the opening chapter 4 themes that help us both to figure out what freedom meant to Jesus and also how to cope with national politics when so many of our leaders who claim to be followers of Jesus seem to not be following him at all.


I encourage you to spend some time reflecting on these four themes—in terms of how they help you to define true freedom and also how they might help you determine a role you might play in helping our society to overcome and end inequality, racism and injustice. May these themes guide us and may they sustain us and help us to thrive as individuals, families, communities and as a nation.

Aloha nui loa!
Kahu Alan Akana

A Message From Kahu: June 22nd, 2022

image of Smithsonian museum of African American History & Culture
On Sunday, I shared with the congregation about my time in Jamestown, Virginia, where the first slaves from Africa arrived in 1619 on soil that was to become the Unites States. I also shared some of my written reflections regarding my visit to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture the day before. I visited both of these places just a few weeks ago while I was on my study leave. The massive Smithsonian building is in the shape of a slave ship with four stories above ground, which focus on heritage, community and culture, and three levels below ground focussing on history. I was with my friend David, who lives in the D.C. area, and we were told that it is best to start at the very bottom level and work our way up.
Suffice it to say that by the time we got to the ground level, I was emotionally spent. There is so much sad history in our nation as well as so much perseverance, drive and hope! However, a person can only take in so much emotional trauma and hope at once, and so David and I decided that we would each have to return to the museum at a later date in order to see the four stories above ground!
One of the things I learned at the museum was that Juneteenth has been celebrated by African Americans since June 19, 1865, when news of the end of the Civil War came to Galveston, Texas, the final location in the American South where slaves were freed after four long wars of bloody battles for their freedom. Last year, President Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law, thus making June 19 a federal holiday. It is a day for Americans to reflect on the importance of freedom for all people and to recognize that freedom has come to us at great cost of blood, sweat and tears. Our nation has made great strides toward equality and freedom since the end of the Civil War, but I have no doubt that we still have a lot of work to do in order for freedom and equality to fully work their way through all segments of our society.
The Apostle Paul wrote in his Letter to the Galatians, “There is no longer slave or free…for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” To Paul, the Gospel meant freedom, and he knew that there were many forms of slavery in human life and community. May we all live free and do whatever we can to ensure that everyone lives free in our nation and in the world.


Aloha nui loa!
Kahu Alan Akana

A Message From Kahu: June 2nd, 2022

Picture of a lamb in a tall grass looking at the camera

It has been an amazing three weeks on the East Coast! The highlight was the wedding of my son Palani to Isobel Mifsud in New York City! The wedding was beautiful, and it was so nice to gather with family and friends, and finally meet Isobel’s parents and sister who flew over from England! From there I took a train to Philadelphia to see the sites for a couple of days and then onto the D.C. area for an entire week. I then drove in a rental car to southern Virginia to see more historic sites and also visit the Norfolk Botanical Garden where they will feature my art when they celebrate the opening of a state of the art conservatory that will feature tropical plants and trees! On my final day, I took a leisurely drive through Maryland and Delaware to catch my flight home from New York.

Except for NYC, it was my first time to visit these places. There was a lot of history to take in from all the museums, monuments, statues, battlefields, historic homes, and so much more. I look forward to sharing some of my thoughts on Sunday mornings during the coming weeks, especially from my time in Philadelphia and D.C. One thought in particular that stands out to me is that there are many ways to be a democracy and even more ways to structure a government—and some of those ways are certainly better than others.

In the meantime, I look forward to celebrating Pentecost on Sunday as we consider what it means to be filled with Spirit. Just as there are many ways to understand democracy and government, there are also many ways to understand God’s Spirit and be the Church—and some of those ways are better than others!

Let us discover together how we can be filled with the Spirit and honor the life and teachings of Jesus!

Aloha nui loa!
Kahu Alan Akana

A Message From Kahu: May 11th, 2022

Picture of a lamb in a tall grass looking at the camera

Recognizing Jesus

 “But the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.”
(John 21:4)


On Easter morning, Mary Magdalene did not recognize Jesus, who was standing there in her midst and talking to her. Seven of the male disciples did not recognize Jesus when he stood on the lakeshore and had a conversation with them. Throughout history, church leaders have failed to recognize Jesus as he appeared over time. And today there are times when we too do not recognize Jesus as he shows up in our midst. One reason is because Jesus shows up in so many different ways, and we all have our preferred ways. I’m guessing most of us also can think of ways that we would rather Jesus not show up—for most instances of divine presence and direction tend to be inconvenient, to say the least, and possibly even disorienting or causing us to live our lives in a completely different way!

One thing I am pretty confident about is that Jesus always shows up in love: love for me and love for you, love for family and friends, love for strangers and enemies, love for those who make important policy decisions and those on the margins of society. My prayer for you is that you would be open for any way that Jesus shows up in your life and in the world, so that you will both recognize Jesus and joyfully serve him!

Aloha nui loa!
Kahu Alan Akana

A Message From Kahu: April 27th, 2022

easter eggs

The Season of Easter

“That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” 
(John 21:7)


You may have heard that I have been rather sick the past couple of weeks. On Wednesday evening before Easter, my throat was sore and I was rather tired. I figured I was pushing myself a bit too hard and my allergies were kicking in but, just to be safe, I took a Covid test…and it came out positive. I thought it might be a “false positive” as I wasn’t feeling that bad. Since I was planning on serving communion at our Maundy Thursday service the next day, I decided to test again in the morning—but there was no need. When I woke up I felt like I had come down with the worst flu of my life. For a week and a half, I felt sick and had very little energy.

When I went to bed that Wednesday night, I was all ready for Maundy Thursday, looking forward to hanging out with the kids as they colored Easter eggs on Good Friday, and my message for Easter morning was nearly complete. I was looking forward to it all! Once I started to feel a bit better, one of my first thoughts was, “I have missed Easter!” However, as I looked at the church calendar and continued preparing worship services for the upcoming weeks, I was reminded that Easter is a season! Yes, I missed the first day: Easter Sunday. As I spent most of the next week lying in bed and on my couch, I missed some more days. However, I am now “up and about” and looking forward to celebrating the rest of the Easter Season with more energy!

As I have been reading over the Scriptures for the upcoming weeks, I am reminded that, throughout the Gospels, Jesus kept showing up to his disciples. Sometimes they recognized him; sometimes they did not. Sometimes they seem to understand who he was; sometimes they did not. Sometimes the path seemed clear; sometimes it did not. That continued to be the case even after the resurrection; and it continues to be the case today. However, now as then, Jesus keeps showing up. Sometimes he does so in ways we expect; sometimes in unpredictable and surprising ways. Regardless of how the Risen Christ appears, and whether or not we recognize him, I am grateful that he keeps showing up, in fact, that he never leaves us—not even in our sickness, or when we face the death of loved ones, or when we confront our own mortality.

May we keep our eyes and our hearts open so that however Jesus shows up, we will say the words of the disciple whom Jesus loved, “It is the Lord!”

Aloha nui loa!
Kahu Alan Akana