I moved to the island of Maui from the Big Island of Hawai’i two years ago. I think one of the things I missed the most was my church. Kuhio Chapel is located in the Hawaiian Homesteads and has a large congregation of mostly those that live in the area. It was my idea of what a Hawaiian church should be. Kahu Brian gave sermons from the heart. He never used notes as he knew and lived his material.
On Maui I felt I needed a church again. I first went to Keawela’i. It’s a huge church with a huge congregation. However, most of those there were visitors and there was no feeling of local camaraderie. Although it is purported to be a Hawaiian church, it didn’t, to me, seem to be very Hawaiian. It is located in Makena which is pretty long hike from Kula. Later I went to Keolahou in Kihei. Again, quite a drive but a sweet church. There was a nice feel to it, lots of opportunity to play my ukulele. However, the kahu fractured the Hawaiian language. It too was quite a drive and when my days off changed and I now work on Sunday afternoon, it was difficult to drive all the way there, then home again to get ready for work and then drive down the mountain again.
I tried Ka’ahumanu, but the congregation was terribly small. I do so enjoy going to Ka’ahumanu for the monthly Picnic for Poki which is a Hawaiian musical series on the grounds under the Monkeypod tree. I heard there was a Hawaiian church in Waiehu (another drive) and another very small congregation–five including myself. However, I did enjoy Kahu Roy. He also spoke from the heart. However, it didn’t feel like a community and was another long drive.
I was then told of a Hawaiian church in Paia. Paia is a small Hippie/New Age town right down the mountain from where I live. I would have never thought of Paia when looking for a Hawaiian church. But, when I pulled into the parking lot, it reminded me so much of Kuhio Chapel. It’s a cozy church with an active congregation of about 35. There is a piano and ukulele. The Lord’s Prayer is in Hawaiian, the Doxology is in Hawaiian, the hymns are in Hawaiian. I felt so at home. Their Kahu passed away a couple of years ago so they have an interim kahu–Kahu Roy! He is fluent in Hawaiian. I felt so comfortable singing (well making a joyful noise). I was moved to tears, so, I think I’ve finally found my Maui church.