KOLOA — The Koloa Missionary Church celebrated its 50 anniversary Saturday evening with a festive lu‘au held on the grounds of the church along Poipu Road.
Highlighting the event was the return visit of founders of the church who traveled from Indiana and elsewhere to join current Pastor Niles Kageyama at the event.
In the late 1940s the Indiana-based Missionary Church sent out pastors including Dan Rohrs of Elkhorn, Ind., who attended the lu‘au. The Indiana denomination began its Kaua‘i work at the Koloa Hawaiian Church, commonly known as the Brown Church for the color of its building along Poipu Road. The roots of that church dated back to the 1840s and the early missionary work of Dr. James Smith and other Congregational missionaries sent from New England and the Mid-Atlantic States.
Eventually, a Missionary Church was officially started at Koloa in 1953 under the leadership of the Rev. David Siemens.
The church purchased its current site in 1954. A building at the site was formerly used as a hospital by Dr. A. H. Waterhouse.
The Missionary Church grew and now has active churches in Kalaheo, Kapa‘a and Lihu‘e, as well as the original church in Koloa.