St. Elizabeth’s celebrates
100 years in Hawaii

A Palama church that has combined social activism with its evangelical mission since it was established will celebrate its centennial next week. The congregation of St. Elizabeth's Episcopal Church will mark the 100th anniversary of the church at 720 N. King St. with a special service and luau.

Episcopal Bishop Richard S.O. Chang will preside at the 10 a.m. Sunday service Oct. 27 with the Rev. Gerhard Laun, current rector, and the Rev. Gerald Gifford as concelebrants. The Rev. Ed Bonsey, former pastor, will preach the sermon.

The Rev. Peter S. M. Fan, who serves the Chinese-speaking members of the congregation, will proclaim the gospel in Cantonese and the Rev. Heather Mueller-Fitch in English. A brass ensemble will augment the choir led by Karl D. Bachman.

St. Elizabeth's was started in 1902 as a mission to Chinese immigrants, providing vocational training and English-language classes, as well as Bible classes. An early benefactor was William Proctor, a founder of Proctor and Gamble household products manufacturers, whose family continued contributions after his death. The church name not only memorializes the mother of St. John the Baptist but also honors Proctor's wife, Elizabeth.

The church later expanded its outreach to other new Asian immigrants. In the 1960s, the Palama Inter-Church Council was established with headquarters at the church. Its successor, the Immigrant Center, served 20,000 people each year at its peak. The focus of the urban mission has shifted to assisting people who are making the transition from welfare to work and providing daily youth activities for residents of nearby Mayor Wright public housing.

The Rev. Franklin Chun will be master of ceremonies at the Saturday luau. The tickets have been sold out.

"The Centennial of St. Elizabeth's Church" by Diane Mark, with full details of the history, is on sale at the church for $10.

Star-Bulletin staff

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