HIA Welcomes Waikoloa Marshallese Ministry
On September 20, 2021 the Hawai'i Island Association (HIA) Committee on Ministry voted unanimously to recommend the Waikoloa Marshallese Ministry for membership in the United Church of Christ with congregational standing in the Hawai'i Island Association. At the recent HIA Fall Mokupuni on November 6, delegates voted to welcome the Waikoloa Marshallese Ministry into the Hawai'i Island UCC 'Ohana!
The Waikoloa Marshallese Ministry has been gathering as church for the past eight years. Before the pandemic, they worshipped in a rented space in Waikoloa but since COVID restrictions were put in place, they have gathered outside at a local park as well as on Zoom. Their membership numbers around 300 of all ages and is growing. Members come from Kona, Hilo, Waikoloa, and elsewhere on Hawai'i island.
The Waikoloa Marshallese Ministry is seeking to join the UCC because they desire a wider church connection. They find the mission history linking Hawai'i and the Marshalls strong evidence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ at work. They are seeking dual-standing, enabling them to be members of the UCC while maintaining connection with the JRD, the United Church of Christ in the Marshall Islands, which church officials in Majuro have affirmed.
Representatives of the church include Rev. Boktir Labin, pastor; Ms. Thalia Asheel, lay representative; and Chairman Rubar Zepty, Moderator of the congregation. With joy and thanksgiving, we welcome the Waikoloa Marshallese Ministry to the Hawai'i Conference!