In the morning, while it was still very dark,
Jesus got up and went out to a deserted place,
and there he prayed.
—Mark 1:35

Lessons from Kalaupapa

Congregations in Hawaii Conference of the United Church of Christ are invited to commemorate “Kalaupapa Sunday” each year on the fourth Sunday in January. On Sunday, we remembered and honored all the patients of Kalaupapa. Kalaupapa is the isolated settlement on the stunning north shore of the island of Moloka`i, where patients with Hansen’s Disease (formerly known as leprosy) were sent by the government to live out the remainder of their days without the support of family and friends.

On Sunday, I shared some of the lessons I have learned from the place during my visits there and also from a special book from Kalaupapa that I read in 2020. I also shared an important lesson I have learned from Jesus from the first chapter of the Gospel of Mark. Jesus was in great demand even at the very beginning of his ministry. People wanted to be healed from spiritual and physical ailments, including leprosy, and were constantly seeking him out. Jesus also knew the importance of his teaching ministry so that the crowds would understand his healing ministry in the wider context of his purpose and mission. These two things kept his schedule more full than I can even imagine. However, Jesus seemed to understand the importance of self-care, spending time alone in prayer, recharging his batteries, and making sure he had the energy to accomplish what God sent him to do.

During these past ten months of the coronavirus pandemic, I too have been learning the importance of self-care and making health a priority—even in those times when there is more demand on my time than I am able to give. I encourage you to take care of yourself so that you can be of greater service to others. Attend to your physical, spiritual and emotional wellbeing, so that life will continue to be joyful and full of energy so that you can faithfully serve in what ever way God is calling you to serve.

Aloha nui!
Kahu Alan Akana


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“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 this week’s worship service, including the message, click HERE. You may see the Koloa Union Church YouTube channel to see previous worship services and many of Kahu’s past messages. You can 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.