Three years ago Pastor Nathan Gross moved to Kaua‘i to found Lanakila Baptist Church. As the shepherd of a fledgling flock, his parish lacked a church to call home. The congregation met where they could and eventually landed at the Lihu‘e library.
Then there was a fortuitous change in the tide.
According to Gross, Kaua‘i Baptist Temple lost its pastor a year and a half ago, and Lanakila was without a church building since its inception. So the two congregations united.
“We decided to use the name Kaua‘i Baptist Temple because of their 27 year history on the island,” Gross said.
Kaua‘i Baptist Temple was originally founded by Pastor Steven Wygle, the pastor of Lanakila Baptist Church of Waipahu on O‘ahu, who came to Kaua‘i last Sunday for what Gross described as an installation fellowship where the new pastor was introduced.
“It was special to have his blessing,” Gross said. “Pastor Wygle spoke mostly on understanding what is needed for a church to go forward and on how to be united on the purpose of the church — to serve the community.”
June 1 was the inaugural service as one church and last Sunday Wygle gave his blessing. While Gross said he is aware of the differences between the two congregations, he plans to focus on what is shared.
“We know we have differences and what we want is to encourage is our similarities,” he said.
Gross has a vision for programs to be developed for teens and eventually a Bible school. But for now he’s keeping his focus primarily on a smooth transition for parishioners.
Kaua‘i Baptist Temple is located at 3335 Lala Road in Nawiliwili near Kaua‘i High School.
The temple offers Sunday school at 9 a.m. and morning worship at 10 a.m.
There is also an evening service at 6 p.m. on Sundays and a mid-week service at 7 p.m. Wednesdays. For more information, visit kauaibaptist.org or call 346-2900.