Pastor Peter Kamakawiwoole looks at a bell that was part of the original Kalihi Union Church.

Kalihi Union Church
invites public to
celebrate its history

Kalihi Union Church members and friends will celebrate the history of the 90-year-old church next Saturday with a festival on the grounds at 2214 N. King St.

The history is described on a plaque to be dedicated at 10:45 a.m. at the church tower, which houses the 1,300-pound church bell, the only surviving artifact from the original sanctuary.

Members have prepared a time line and a display of historical photographs for the event, which will continue until 5 p.m., said member James Ohta. Free food will be served, and a carnival for children will be set up in the gymnasium. Musical entertainment will be presented at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Personal links with church history are the reason the congregation decided not to hold the celebration until the traditional 100th anniversary.

"Many of the members who helped bring this church up are in their 80s and 90s, so we want to celebrate now, while they can enjoy it with us," said member Sue Yamashiro.

Three former pastors who can provide a combined time line back to 1954 will return for the event. The Revs. John Boaz and Stanley Johnson, of Colorado, and the Rev. Richard Weisenbach, of Massachusetts, will join senior Pastor Peter Kamakawiwoole for the festivities.

Ohta said the focus will turn from past to future in a panel presentation by the four pastors at the Sept. 7 services at 7:15, 9 and 10:45 a.m.

"The scriptural lesson for that Sunday is about the parting of the Red Sea," said Ohta. "The theme very simply is, Are you looking back to Egypt or forward to the promised land?"

A Sunday noon lunch will be the celebration finale.

Kalihi Union Church was founded by the Hawaiian Board of Missions, an outgrowth of the Kalihi Settlement founded as a social services provider as well as spiritual ministry. It was organized as a church in September 1913 with the Rev. Horace Chamberlain as its first pastor. Members voted in the 1990s to withdraw from the United Church of Christ. The church is now affiliated with the Evangelical Free Church.

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