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  • Hawai‘i Conference Office

Conference joins bicentennial commemoration of first printing in ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i

January 7th, 2022, marked 200 years since the first pull of the printing press that printed ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i, the Hawaiian language. Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site & Archives hosted a commemorative event where all were invited to stop by to do a pull on the printing press and print their own commemorative flyer. Members of the Hawai‘i Conference UCC editorial team were in attendance.

The day began with a short ceremony in which our Conference Minister David Popham offered the following pule, prayer:

Holy and creating God, who comes to us as word-made-flesh or we might say as published-word, our sacred stories tell us of the power of language: the ability of words to create worlds and set into motion all that is. Your gift of language allows to express ourselves and connect with each other in both the intimacy and wild currents of shared thoughts and ideas.

You blessed humanity not only once with language, but again with alphabets and the ability to articulate and convey our thoughts by way of the written word. Our ability to give understanding now multiplied through manuscripts that could be carried and shared with others.

We acknowledge that language is a potent instrument that we have exercised for both good and for bad. Continue, we pray, to call us into the noble use of language to build up and unite, to heal and acknowledge wrongs done. Forgive us when we our language becomes divisive, hurtful, and arrogant.

We give thanks for those Hawaiian and missionary partners that sought to provide an alphabet for ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i, ancient mother tongue of this archipelago. We give you thanks that working together, Hawaiians and missionaries produced written materials in ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i to build up a nation of learned and literate people.

Here we mark this day, the 200th anniversary of the first pull of a press which unleashed the power of the printed word in Hawai‘i.

Much has transpired since that first pull of the press. Some of which brings honor and glory to you. Some of which is, unfortunately, a blot upon your good and holy name. Grant us, who are the inheritors of the first pull and all that follows, wisdom to use our words in ways that lead all who live upon these islands into paths of righteousness for your name’s sake.

‘Amene and Amen.

—Rev. Dr. David K. Popham

View this informational brochure provided by the Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site & Archives:


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