According to state records, Christian missionaries from New England first arrived in the islands on April 23, 1820. The Reverend Hiram Bingham gave his first sermon on Hawaiian soil on O‘ahu. One of the Bible passages he shared was from the Book of Luke: “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.”
In a recent press release from Kapa‘a Hawaiian Church, the “Kalawina churches” on Kaua‘i were the first Hawaiian churches that were the result of missionaries.
“In 1832, 2000 Hawaiians attended the first services at Waimea and soon after started churches in Hanalei, Hanapepe, Koloa, Kapa‘a and Anahola. These congregational Hawaiian churches established the foundation for the more than 85 churches on Kaua‘i today compromising many Protestant denominations, Catholic and independent churches,” states the church’s release. These ‘first’ churches are called Kalawina Churches.
The choir performance will be presenting the “Aha Mele” or “gathering for song,” a traditional church community gathering to promote connectedness and unification on May 27 at 4 p.m. at the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall, the Kalawina churches of Waimea United Church of Christ, Hapapepe Hawaiian, Kapa‘a First Hawaiian, Ko‘olau Hui‘ia, Wai‘oli Hui‘ia in conjunction with Kaua‘i Island Ministries are “inviting the public and all Christian churches on Kaua‘i to ‘Nani Ke ‘Li‘i Ki‘eki‘e’ — a gathering sharing praise and songs ‘in the spirit of Aha Mele.’”
Sam Ka‘auwai, Music Director for Kapa‘a Hawaiian Church, will be directing a combined choir of the Kalawina churches and a piece with all participants. Ka‘auwai currently teaches for “Ke Kula Kaiapuni Hawai‘i o Kapa‘a,” a Hawaiian language immersion school in the Department of Education.
He also has just completed his Masters of Teaching degree, specializing in Reading Curriculum and Instruction. Ka‘auwai has translated many contemporary Christian songs from English into Hawaiian for the “Na Himeni” — the Hawaiian church hymnal. The concert is free and open to the public.
To be a part of the event or for more more information, please call: Alpha Goto, 826-6253; Roy Sasaki, 246-0774; Herman Texeira, 822-5959; Christobel Kealoha, 245-9944.