Leeward churches unite to march against violence
The walk and vigil will decry the fatal beating of a man and a church fire
Several Leeward Coast churches will march Thursday to make a stand against recent Waianae violence that left a man dead and a church burned.
The 6:30 p.m. one-mile walk along Farrington Highway will demonstrate support for the Mormon congregation whose church was set on fire Sept. 12. It will end with a candlelight vigil that will also remember Roger Haudenshild, who died after being beaten by three men in a road rage incident Sept. 1. The march will proceed from Waianae Mall and end near Waianae Market.
The event will decry the increasing incidence of violence on the Waianae coast, said the Rev. Kaleo Patterson, president of the Pacific Justice and Reconciliation Center, which is sponsoring the event.
Patterson, also pastor of Ka Hana O Ke Akua Church in Waianae, said prayers for justice, healing and reconciliation will be offered for Haudenshild's family, the defendants and their families, witnesses to the beating as well as the community at large. Three Leeward men were arrested in the death.
"We have to use our moral force to prevent such violent actions," said the Rev. Sebastian Chacko, pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Waianae, whose Sunday's sermons were about the recent violence. Chacko, who heads the Samoan ethnic ministry of the Catholic diocese, said, "I spoke in Samoan because the (defendants) are Samoan. I said I feel ashamed that our community, who are peace-loving people who entertain and dance and work so hard, that our good name is lost by people who may be on drugs and lose control of their anger and take the law into their own hands."
Chacko conducted the memorial service for Haudenshild Saturday at Pokai Bay. "We need to put our act together to live in peace and harmony," said the Catholic priest. "We need to make Hawaii and Waianae a place where our children grow up in peace."
No arrests have been made in the arson. About 500 congregation members will join services at the Makakilo Stake Center until their church is rebuilt.
"We lifted the people of the Mormon church up in prayer" at Sunday services at Waianae United Methodist Church, said the Rev. Roby Correa. "Also the man who was beaten to death.
"We also pray for the people who felt the anger, the viciousness of burning a church, that God would touch their hearts and change their lives. The void that must be in their lives ... proves that God's work is not done, even in Waianae where we call ourselves a close community."
The march and vigil is being held this Thursday because the date was designated at International Day of Peace in a 2001 resolution passed by the United Nations General Assembly.