New Lutheran church begins on South Shore

A new vicar who “really knows his stuff” is leading the island’s newest church.

The Rev. Dr. John Bombaro was recently installed as vicar of St. Matthew’s of Kauai Lutheran church, and the Sunday school and Sunday services are at 8:45 a.m. and 10 a.m., respectively, at the Lawai Valley Seventh-Day Adventist Church.

Bible study is each Wednesday at 7 p.m. at a private home in Po‘ipu.

It was Bonita Hensley, who with Dr. Kerry L. Dillberg and members of his family and others are the founding parishion-ers of the church, who remains impressed with Bombaro, she said.

The Dillbergs and others were seeking a Bible-based church stressing the teachings of the book, and Bombaro lived on Kaua‘i for awhile before leaving for England to continue his religious studies, Hensley said.

“We’ve been waiting for him for a year” to come back. “We’ve been learning the Bible and just kind of doing straight church,” she said.

The parishioners have been learning the sacraments and preparing for baptism, and between 25 and 40 people had been worshipping at the church before they secured their Koloa Road location, she said.

Sacraments will be given every Sunday once parishioners are ready to accept them.

In addition to being vicar, Bombaro is the Sunday school and Bible study teacher, she said.

“Bible studies are really interesting.

Different people have been popping in, and they really like it because he really knows his stuff,” Hensley said.

“Anyone is welcome. If they like what he has to say and they want to hear him, come and hear him at church, they’re welcome,” she continued.

Parishioners at St. Raphael’s Church in Koloa played a key role in the formation of St. Matthew’s, Bombaro said. Church officials at St. Raphael’s hosted Bible studies, and helped launch the church, he said.

“St. Raphael’s people have been amazingly generous, congenial, a lovable entity,” he said.

St. Matthew’s of Kauai began with a series of Bible studies in Koloa three years ago, when members of several South Shore families sought to bring the beauty and comfort of the reformation’s biblical theology to Kaua‘i, Bombaro said.

Since March of last year, members of several families had been informally meeting for worship and fellowship with guidance from Lutheran ministers from other islands.

Recently, the time came to call a pastor to the newly formed St. Matthew’s of Kauai.

In January, Bombaro was called from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of England, and permanently installed.

Bombaro and wife Melinda have been married 10 years, and have two young daughters, Sophia and Marie.

Melinda Bombaro hails from Saskatchewan, Canada, and the Rev. Dr. John Bombaro is from Philadelphia.

Kaua‘i has long been a part of their lives, with the Rev. Dr. John Bombaro living on island from 1990 to 1994, and returning annually since 2000.

The Rev. Dr. John Bombaro holds his doctorate in divinity from the University of London, and his master’s of divinity from the Divinity School at Cambridge University.

He also studied at Westfield House, and holds a master’s degree in theology from the University of Edinburgh.

Previously, he was a member of the pastoral staff at Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, and was the executive director of the John Newton International Center for Christian Studies and a lecturer in religion at Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pa., from 2002 to 2004.

Officials at St. Matthew’s of Kauai, a gospel mission endeavor of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LC MS) believe, teach, and confess that the Bible is God’s holy-spirit-inspired and infallible word; that the loving and holy God of the Bible is the creator and sustainer of heaven and earth; that God is triune, father, son and holy spirit; that the son of God, Jesus, was the promised Messiah, born of the Virgin Mary, crucified for our sins, and raised from the dead for our salvation, he said.

“We joyfully proclaim ‘For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross (Col 1.19-20).’ “He is the savior of the world who shall come again in the glory of the father,” Bombaro added.

“A full expression of our beliefs can be found in the oldest Christian confession of faith, The Augsburg Confession (1530),” he concluded.

The church office telephone number is 742-9181.

• Paul C. Curtis, associate editor, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 224) or


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