Religion Calendar

Saturday, September 11, 1999

A kind of sampler of faith
will offer a taste of
other religions

Jewish New Year events from last week's column

Mary Adamski


You went to a co-worker's funeral but felt embarrassed not knowing when to sit or stand, or whether to light incense, or if it was OK for you to join the singing.

You are curious about your friend's newly adopted faith, but you don't want to offend her by asking questions -- nor set yourself up for aggressive proselytizing.

Those folks who worship across the way seem OK, they joined us in the community project, but we've heard some weird things about that sort of group.

People who have gotten comfortable asking questions about those kinds of differences among themselves want the rest of the community to join their "pilgrimage for religious understanding."

"Our diversity is a very fragile element," said Alfred Bloom of the Hawaii Association of International Buddhists. "We need to cultivate it." He and members of Buddhist, Christian mainline and not-so-mainline organizations described the project to open windows of insight into Hawaii's spiritual diversity.

Their aim is to open a different church or temple to the public each month and, more important, open it to questions in the context of education rather than evangelization. The theological trek will follow Pali Highway, which, Bloom said, has the nickname "God's Highway" because there are so many religious organizations situated along the short corridor.

"We hope to bring out people who would not normally feel comfortable walking into a different church. We want to provide a non-threatening situation," Bloom said.

"It is not with the idea of converting," explained Ruben Betancourt of the Baha'i Faith. "It is to allow the rest of us to understand and to ask questions."

The Rev. Hidemi Ito, pastor of Wahiawa United Methodist Church, said "we have a tendency to accept myths about each other. We want to de-absolutize the myths."

The planners are participants in the Open Table, a monthly gathering of Christian and Buddhist ministers who have invited Muslim, Sikh and atheist speakers.

The pilgrimage will get to the Jewish, Baha'i and Catholic churches early on, but it will start with a church that is a mystery outside its congregation. The Church of Perfect Liberty, one of the so-called "new religions" that arose in Japan earlier in this century, will host the first session at 4 p.m. on Oct. 17.

It's not envisioned as a tidy little series, but as a continuing journey "to breach the veil of ignorance that exists," said the Rev. Mike Young of the First Unitarian Church of Honolulu.

The planners recognize that the dispassionate scrutiny won't be comfortable for churches who see all outsiders as missionary territory. And the audience who needs to study diversity may not attend. "We're not going to draw the people who need to be here: the people who have such deep prejudices that they are socially disruptive are not likely to participate," Young said.

"What feeds those prejudices is the larger atmosphere of the community. When it becomes known that this is what's happening in this community ... that we look outside ourselves and say, 'Hey, they're not that weird,' we will establish an atmosphere," he said.

"We all have prejudices that are hidden from us," said Mark Richardson of the Wesley Foundation, a Methodist organization at the University of Hawaii. "When we have the background of information and understanding, we can confront those prejudices."

Betancourt said, "Without putting down any others, I find that my own beliefs are strengthened by hearing about others."

Florence Kelley, also of Baha'i, said, "I think people will find out the similarities, that 'they' are not so different from 'us.'"

"When I make that step of learning about another, I find I always learn more about myself and what I believe," said Young.

"In America we tend to make things black or white, east or west, north or south," said Bloom. "It eludes our thinking that the world is a lot more than one body's interpretation."

The pilgrimage will continue on Nov. 12 at an 8 p.m. Sabbath service at Temple Emanu-El. The Baha'i Faith will host a Dec. 10 meeting, and the series will continue next year.

Religion Calendar

Aquarian Foundation

2440 Kuhio Ave., 926-8134
Bullet Master Kumara will present "God's Greatest Gift: Spiritual Healing," 11 a.m. tomorrow.

Bullet "Outer Space and Inner Space," by Master Hilarion, 7 p.m. Wednesday. Spiritual healing service to follow. Free. Parking available.

Center for Positive Living

Ala Moana Hotel, 410 Atkinson Drive, 739-5683
The Rev. Frank White, church director and minister of the Religious Science Church of Honolulu, will speak about "The Still Small Voice," 10 a.m. tomorrow at the Ala Moana Hotel.

Church of the Holy Nativity

5286 Kalanianaole Highway
Softball game open to anyone, 3:30 p.m. tomorrow at Osco Field. Bats and some gloves will be provided. Bring equipment.

Central Union Church

1660 S. Beretania St., 941-0957
Dr. Lorraine Carlson will speak about "Queen's Hospital School of Nursing Since 1916," 10-11 a.m. Tuesday in the Women's Building. Free.

Cornerstone Fellowship, Mililani Mauka

Corner of Ukuwai and Maikaikai streets, 626-7719
The Rev. Tim Floyd of the First Baptist Church of Enterprise, Ala., will speak at services, 7 p.m. Thursday-Sept. 19. Nursery available.

First Samoan Assembly of God Church

P.O. Box 658, 456-7330
Holy Ghost, musical/ministry youth rally, 6:30-9 tonight at Kawananakoa Intermediate School cafeteria. Free.

Hawaiian Islands Ministries

Dick Hubbard, a career transition counselor at Success Discover in Honolulu and a former U.S. Navy captain and counselor, will speak about vocational counseling on the "Hawaiian Islands Ministries Radio Magazine," 1-2 p.m. Tuesday on KAIM Radio, AM 870. Pam Chun, vice president and co-founder of Hawaiian Island Ministries, is host of the weekly program.

Honpa Hongwanji Hawaii Betsuin

1727 Pali Highway, 536-7044
The church will start a dharma school, a Buddhist Sunday school, with family services 9 a.m. tomorrow at the Barbers Point Kalaeloa Elementary School dining hall.

Kilohana United Methodist Church

5829 Mahimahi St., 373-3373
Musical entertainment, 6 p.m. tomorrow. Includes ice cream sundaes. A $5 donation is suggested to benefit the Rita Thompson Music Scholarship for student instrumentalists. Tickets available at the door, with open seating.

Koganji Temple

2869 Oahu Ave., 587-2015
Mini-bazaar, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. next Saturday and Sept. 19.

Nuuanu Congregational ChurcH

2651 Pali Highway, 595-3935
The Rev. Robert Fukada of the School of Theology, Doshisha University, will preach at worship services 8, 9 and 10:15 a.m. tomorrow.

St. George's Episcopal Church

511 Main St., 422-7888
Adult education course on the foundations of the church and of Christian discipleship, 6:30-8 p.m. Tuesdays. Child care available. Includes a one-day workshop in November on prayer.

St. John Lutheran Church

1004 Kailua Road
Volunteers needed to make coffee one Sunday a week and for Altar-Care setup, in-between service and cleanup. Call Bob Knight at 262-2271.

Unity Church of Hawaii

3608 Diamond Head Circle, 735-4436
Bullet Kumu hula Brad Lum will teach hula, 7-8 p.m. Friday. Donation appreciated.

Bullet New member orientation, a prerequisite for joining the church, 12:30 p.m. tomorrow in Room 204. New members will be spiritually baptized at services 11 a.m. Sept. 19.

Bullet Learn the ancient art of feng shui and discover how to enhance your wealth, relationships, health and career. Introduction, 7-8 p.m. Thursday at the chapel. Cost is $18. The workshop is scheduled for 9 a.m.-5 p.m. next Saturday in Room 201. Cost is $99.

Vedanta Society of Hawaii

Memorial services for artist/teacher Eli Marozzi, 11:15 a.m. tomorrow at Richards Street YWCA.

Waipahu United Church of Christ

94-330 Mokuola St., 677-3317
Bullet The Rev. Chris Eng will preach "Free at Last, Free at Last," tomorrow at the 8:30 a.m. contemporary and 10:30 a.m. traditional services.

Bullet "Rally Sunday" at 8:45 a.m. and Ice Cream Making Party at 10:45 a.m. tomorrow.

"Religion" is a list of special services, guest speakers, fund-raisers
and other events that runs Saturdays in the Star-Bulletin. Send items
and photographs, if available, 10 days in advance to: Religion Calendar,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
Items may be faxed to 523-8509. or send e-mail to

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