The current resolution from the Association of Hawaiian Evangelical Churches (AHEC), A RESOLUTION ENCOURAGING TO END 128 YEARS OF WAR BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM, arose out of the Association as allowed by the By-Laws of the United Church of Christ (UCC). Due to the pandemic, and the timing of the resolution, the resolution was not able to enjoy a robust discussion of its contents within the Hawai‘i Conference. For example, while a workshop on the resolution occurred at our most recent ‘Aha Pae‘āina (annual meeting), the resolution was not submitted for public debate at the meeting. For the action of the Conference Council, at their meeting on May 15, 2021, please see document “Summary of Hawai‘i Conference Council on the Resolution.”
Introduction to History of Hawai‘i Conference and United Church of Christ Apology, Redress, and Reconciliation
In 1991, General Synod 18 directed the Office of the President of the United Church of Christ to offer a public apology to native Hawaiians for the predecessor’s complicity in the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893. The Rev. Dr. Paul Sherry offered an apology on behalf of the denomination on January 17, 1993, in Hawai‘i. Previously, the National Apology Task Force had challenged the denomination to consider appropriate acts of redress. As a result, redress funds of $1.25 million were given by the then UC Board for World Ministries together with the UC Board for Homeland Ministries.
On June 18, 1993, the Hawai‘i Conference ‘Aha Makua (Business session), agreeing by consensus, offered an apology and directed the governing board to initiate steps to address issues facing Na Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiians). The Hawai’i Conference held a service of apology, confession, reconciliation, and commitment to redress on May 1, 1994.
$1,250,000 of the UCC funds were used to establish the Pū‘ā Foundation to work on issues that would support native Hawaiians.
From assets of the Hawai‘i Conference Foundation (HCF) intended for the use and benefit of the Hawai‘i Conference, the following grants of money were offered:
A total of $1,500,000 in grants directly to 47 Hawaiian churches that were established at the time of the overthrow of Queen Lili‘uokalani and were in existence at the time of the redress
A total of $1,000,000 as a grant to the Kupono (Pū‘ā) Foundation
A total of $1,000,000 as a grant to the newly established AHEC, “to augment funds for programs in support of, primarily, small Hawaiian churches, and for theological education for laity and clergy, to be used in consultation with the State Council of Hawaiian Congregational Churches (SCHCC)
In addition, HCF initially conveyed six parcels of land (on five islands) with a combined assessed value of $1,097,200: three parcels (one on O‘ahu and two on the island of Hawai‘i) to the Pū‘ā Foundation; one parcel on Maui to Pā‘ia Hawaiian Church; one parcel on Moloka‘i to the Topside Moloka‘i churches; and one parcel on Kaua‘i to Waimea UCC.
The work of reconciliation is ongoing and has many facets. A Reconciliation Working Group was established by the Hawai‘i Conference in 2019 to engage in a soul-searching process to explore what reconciliation means for the Hawai‘i Conference today. The conversation continues.
The resolution for consideration at the 2021 General Synod was adopted by the AHEC Board of Directors. AHEC, a non-geographic association, was founded in 1994 to address concerns for Native Hawaiians and their churches.
The following documents are offered as witness to where the wider discussion of the resolution is trending in the Conference. These documents, of course, do not capture all the discussions or how the issues raised within them are being addressed. It is hoped that this data helps to round out the broader conversations within the United Church of Christ.
On White Supremacy
(part of Resolution Workshop, 199th ‘Aha Pae‘āina in 2021)
The following two documents were the initial documents sent for General Synod consideration, the prequels to the current Resolution:
GS33 Proposed Pronouncement and Proposal for Action
"A PRONOUNCEMENT ON A UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST MINISTRY TO RESTORE SELF-GOVERNANCE TO THE FIRST CHRISTIAN NATION IN THE PACIFIC, THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM"
GS33 Resolution on Hawaiian Self-Governance
"A RESOLUTION ENCOURAGING MODELS OF SELF-GOVERNANCE"
The following documents from other organizations provide more context on the Resolution:
International Association of Democratic Lawyers Resolution
IADL RESOLUTION CALLING UPON THE UNITED STATES TO IMMEDIATELY COMPLY WITH INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW IN ITS PROLONGED OCCUPATION OF THE HAWAIIAN ISLANDS—THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM
From the National Lawyers Guild to Governor Ige, State of Hawai‘i
UPDATE ON THE RESOLUTION from our Conference Minister
"It is always a heady thing when church people come together and seek to discern the paths forward for their denomination. Debates ensue and decisions are made. Then these same decisions are pondered later with the blessings of hindsight. At first, the Association of Hawaiian Evangelical Churches (AHEC) Resolution Encouraging to End 128 Years of War Between the United States of America and the Hawaiian Kingdom to General Synod 33 did not garner the two-thirds vote needed to pass a Resolution of Witness. It did garner a favorable vote, but not the full two-thirds required. Normally at General Synod that would be the end of the discussion. But it was not so, as folks looking back in hindsight wanted to revisit the AHEC Resolution. Through the parliamentary process the Resolution was brought back for consideration a second time by the full delegation. This time the AHEC Resolution garnered the needed two-thirds vote and was passed by the delegation.
Whether you are in agreement with the Resolution or not, it raised critical attention to the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian Monarchy. Let us through this Resolution seek the voice of the Still Speaking God which calls us to hear the pain and see the wounds of historic trauma and give ourselves over to addressing the continuing legacy of colonialism." —David Popham
View the final amended version of the Resolution
Read UCC News article about the vote: "Synod changes decision, passes resolution on occupied Hawaii"
Read statement from AHEC Papa Makua Wendell Davis issued through a press release on July 18, 2021.