“Community and Sanctuary”

In the Lord you are light.

Live as children of light.

Ephesians 5:8


In my online message this past week, I talked about the importance of community and how we are still a strong community of faith even when we are not physically together. All of the key ingredients of community still apply today, although they look quite different because we have to do them differently. I offered these thoughts about community during these days of isolation and social distancing:

  • Community is about showing up as we are and knowing there is a place where we are loved and accepted as we are. We can still show up as we are—as we watch the online worship service and as we call to check in on church members.
  • Community is about sharing a common purpose. We still share the same purpose of sharing the love of God with one another and the world as the body of Jesus Christ.
  • Community is about sharing our stories and our beliefs and perceptions with one another in honest and nonjudgmental ways. We will continue sharing our stories, beliefs and perceptions with one another—just not in person.
  • Community is about asking for help when we need it. I urge you to ask for help from me, our Deacons, our Council members, and anyone else in the church who can help you.
  • Community is about being honest and transparent. We need each other to be honest and transparent with one another—now more than ever.

I also talked about the importance of sanctuary. In his book, On the Brink of Everything: Grace, Gravity and Getting Old, Parker Palmer writes about about the importance of sanctuary. Although we church folks often refer to “sanctuary” as the room where we worship, Palmer reminds us the broader meaning of the word. I found these words some of the most helpful in his book:

“Sanctuary” is as vital as breathing to me. Sometimes I find it in churches, monasteries, and other sites formally designated “sacred.” But more often I find it in places sacred to my soul: in the natural world, in the company of a faithful friend, in solitary or shared silence, in the ambience of a good poem or good music.

Sanctuary is wherever I find safe space to regain my bearings, reclaim my soul, heal my wounds, and return to the world as a wounded healer. It’s not merely about finding shelter from the storm—it’s about spiritual survival and the capacity to carry on.

I invite you to find your sanctuary ever week and every day: a safe space to regain your bearings, a place to reclaim your soul, a place to heal your wounds, a place to breathe. You may have to be a bit more creative now to find that space, but I trust that you will make it a priority to do so—not only for your own spiritual survival but also for you to share God’s light with others.

I look forward to continuing the conversation online on Sunday!

Aloha nui!

Kahu Alan Akana


“A Message from Kahu Alan Akana” is provided most weeks by Koloa Union Church, an Open & Affirming (ONA) congregation of the United Church of Christ (UCC), a member of the Kauai Association and Hawaii Conference.

To see a video of a recent message by Kahu Akana, click HERE. 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.

You are welcome to join us on Sunday mornings! To see our Sunday morning schedule, click HERE.

Kahu Akana is also an accomplished artist! He specializes in creating vibrant watercolors of the flowers of Hawaii and hosts a Sunday afternoon reception in a gallery at his home, the Smith Memorial Parsonage. He also meets visitors by appointment. Most of the profit from the sales go for the maintenance and upkeep of the parsonage. To see a video about his art and gallery, click HERE. To see the gallery website, click HERE.