Introducing the 2015 General Synod Delegates
Twelve delegates will represent the Hawai‘i Conference at General Synod 30 to be held June 26 to 30 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Darrel Itano (O‘ahu Association) has been a longtime member of Nu‘uanu Congregational Church. He currently serves on the O‘ahu Association Board of Directors and has assisted on the Association Nominating Committee. This will be his second Synod, which he views as a reward for his involvement in local and wider church settings.
Joshua Weible (O‘ahu Association), a member of Kailua Christian Church, has been to General Synod before but is looking forward to attending his first as a delegate. A senior at Castle High School, he is a member of his class council and volunteers at He‘eia and Waikalua Loko Fishponds. He has enjoyed meeting people from around the world at past UCC national and regional youth events and Synods. He hopes Synod youth delegates can provide insights from their generation's perspective regarding events and changes within the UCC.
Kathy Tanaka (Tri-Isle Association) is Treasurer of Iao UCC on Maui. Though a first-time delegate, she was at General Synod in 2011 as a chaperone for the Hawai‘i Conference youth group. "I really enjoyed the experience of the different services," she said. "I was especially inspired by the re-nomination speech by Rev. [Ben] Guess, Executive Director of Local Church Ministries." Outside of church, Kathy serves as Secretary to the Chief Technology Officer of the County of Maui's IT Services Division.
Welina Tong (Association of Hawaiian Evangelical Churches) is an active leader at Ola‘a First Hawaiian Church, where she serves as an usher, lay reader, and praise and worship music leader. She currently attends Midland University in Nebraska on a wrestling scholarship and works full time as a certified nursing assistant. This will be her second Synod. "This General Synod I hope to contribute my input as to what I think will be the best fit for younger kids in the UCC because they are our future," she said.
Mele Moala (Kaua‘i Association), a member of Lihue United Church, will be attending her second General Synod. She is a student at Eastern Washington University, where she works as a residential adviser. She has served on the Kaua‘i Association Executive Board and was a member of the Youth and Young Adult Committee of the Association. Her favorite memory of Synod is worshipping with people from across the country.
Jayne Ryan Kuroiwa (O‘ahu Association) is Pastor of Windward UCC. This will be her first General Synod. "Coming from a background in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), I am familiar with that denomination's General Assemblies and am curious to see the uniqueness of General Synods," she said. "My hometown is just outside of Cleveland, so I'll be happy to be an informal tour guide."
Kalani Wong (Tri-Isle Association), Chaplain at Kamehameha Schools Maui, serves on the Formation Missional Team and is a past president of the Tri-Isle Association. This is his second Synod. He says he appreciated seeing the diversity of the UCC at his first Synod. "The variety of worship styles, ethnicities, and theological viewpoints were all present, yet we could all be one, much like what the motto of the UCC stands for," he said. "There were those times of pushback to ideas, but that was expected for it showed the passion by which we live our faith."
Michael Warren (Hawai‘i Island Association) is licensed minister at Kalapana Maunakea Church. He is chair of the AHEC Church and Ministry Committee, Hawai‘i Island Association treasurer, and a Christian Endeavor Hawai‘i board member. This will be his second Synod. "What I brought back from the last General Synod is that our church is part of something so much greater than we can imagine," he said. "People all around the United States are doing great things, and there is a wider ministry that continues to work."
Glenn Frazier (Kaua‘i Association) is a retired minister. He was most recently Pastor of Church of the Pacific on Kaua‘i. He has served on the Hawai‘i Conference Council and Formation Missional Team. He is the Team Coordinator for the Kaua‘i Association's Waineke Cabins and owner of Clock Repair of Kaua‘i. He has never been to Synod—or Cleveland. "I am anticipating the resources, worship, and inspiration which I am sure will be part of the General Synod," he said.
Haleaka Martin (Association of Hawaiian Evangelical Churches) is Vice-President of the Hawai‘i Pacific Islander Asian American Ministries and a member of Kalihi and Moanalua Church on O‘ahu. She is a Christian Endeavor Hawai‘i board member, church delegate to the State Council of Hawaiian Congregational Churches, and a former board member of the Woman's Board of Missions. This will be her first General Synod.