HANAMAULU — The sermon was over, the prayers were finished and the prizes had been given out.
As the crowd of nearly 300 filtered out of King’s Chapel church Sunday morning, Pastors Steve and Vicki Franks stood watching and talking, and were about to join the group outside for a meal, music and fellowship. But before they did, a man slowly approached, shook Steve’s hand and said, “Thank you.”
Franks nodded and smiled. “You’re welcome.”
That short moment, just a few seconds, was exactly what the Aloha Fest was all about, the pastors said.
“We want to encourage everybody and let them know there are no strings. We just want to try and be a blessing,” Steve Franks said.
For the keiki and adults who attended the event, it was just that.
King’s Chapel gave away gift cards and prizes, including an iPad Air. Meals, fried ice cream and shave ice were served. There was music, entertainment and an endless sea of smiling faces as church members became volunteers and went all out to make their guests feel welcome and loved. They guided them into the parking area, helped them register, led them to the church doors, and if there were keiki, showed them to the children’s ministry.
People warmed up as the day went on.
“I think everybody was a little timid at first,” Vicki Franks said. “They’re not used to something like this.”
Steve Franks delivered a short, spirited sermon on God’s grace. He outlined some of the church’s many ministries aimed at connecting with the community and offering help to those who need it.
“Today, God’s gift of grace has been given to you,” he said. “All you have to do is open it.”
Kaleiko Lancaster attended after being invited by a friend. She said it was great and was glad to be there. “It helps me and my family out, brings our family back together,” she said.
Stephen Larry shared a conversation with the Franks while sitting down to a hot meal in the shade under a canopy. He, too, was glad he attended, and liked the church service as well as the giveaways.
“I enjoyed myself,” he said. “It was wonderful. It’s a good purpose.”
Malia Ceda, director of Aloha Fest, said King’s Chapel staff did all they could to spread word of the event. They went from town to town putting up fliers and banners, and going door to door. They found the houseless and sent out a bus and two vans early Sunday to pick up people who needed rides.
Ceda said with the holidays approaching, the church wants to help in any way it can. Members welcome all to King’s Chapel.
“It’s about the people, it’s about the community, it’s about reaching out,” she said.
Aloha Fest also is a chance for King’s Chapel to let the community learn about its programs and meet church members and staff. Vicki Franks said people can sometimes be apprehensive about stepping through church doors. They don’t know what to expect and worry the church will want something from them.
“It takes a while for people to realize, ‘They are just doing something to bless me,’” Vicki Franks said. “It doesn’t cost anything.”
“We want to let people know what we do, what our heart is, what our desire is,” she added.
Brandy Silva, a church member and volunteer on Sunday, said she struggled with past addictions and when she first came to King’s Chapel, she was usually negative and angry. As her faith grew, her outlook on life changed. Silva invited friends to Aloha Fest, and many came.
“It’s just a lot of love,” she said. “Everybody is smiling. It’s awesome.”
Silva was delighted to see such a large crowd there, receiving not just free gifts and meals, but perhaps finding new friends of faith.
“I want them to feel what I feel, the change. That’s all I want,” she said.