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  • Hawai‘i Conference

Ka‘ahumanu Church Starts Capital Campaign

On Thursday, March 3rd, Ka‘ahumanu Church in Wailuku, Maui launched a capital campaign to restore its historic sanctuary. The church was established in 1832. Queen Ka’ahumanu attended a service on church grounds and requested that when a sanctuary was built it be named after her. Her request was honored in 1876 with the completion of the present sanctuary building.

As a historic and cultural icon in the community, Ka’ahumanu Church was placed on the National Historic Register in 1975. It is one of the oldest Protestant missionary churches on Maui, celebrating its 190th anniversary in 2017. The property was also a part of the royal compound of Kahekili, the last independent King of Maui. The present sanctuary may have been built using pohaku (stone) from and possibly on the site of a heiau within the compound. There are two cemeteries on church property where several early Hawaiian converts to Christianity are buried including Bartimaeus Pua‘a‘iki, known as the blind preacher of Maui and, in unmarked locations, John Honoli’i and Thomas Hopu, two of four Hawaiians that were among the first contingent of Christian missionaries.

King’s Cathedral Senior Pastor Dr. James Marocco (on the left) presents the $10,000 check to Ka‘ahumanu Church’s Kahu Wayne Higa (on the right).
King’s Cathedral Senior Pastor Dr. James Marocco (left) presents the $10,000 check to Ka‘ahumanu Church’s Kahu Wayne Higa (right).

Ka‘ahumanu Church is seeking $2,000,000 in total to complete this project. To date a $150,000 grant from Maui County and a $800,000 grant-in-aid from the State of Hawaii are in the application process. In 2021 Architects Hawaii completed drawings and specifications for the Ka’ahumanu Church project that are contract ready.

The start of the church’s capital campaign officially kicked off today with a generous $10,000 donation from King’s Cathedral in Kahului.

From 1832 to date, Ka’ahumanu Church has served the local community by providing a place of Hawaiian worship as well as a monthly gathering place for local residents and visitors to enjoy celebrations, performances, special events and various other social and cultural events. The church's grounds often serve as a place for First Amendment freedom of expression and vigils. Throughout its many years of service to our community, it has become apparent that we must continue to preserve and restore a unique Wailuku site which promotes Hawaiian culture, music, and education. The church plans to continue serving as a meeting place for support groups and other human service needs. Church property is valued for both its design, architectural and historical significance and what it means to the people of Hawaii who consider its cultural heritage priceless.

For over a decade, it has also been the site of a Hawaiian immersion preschool program, Punana Leo O Maui.

The church has long served the greater Wailuku community and is desperately in need of renewal and restoration. The church has developed a program to restore the church buildings and the grounds which is consistent with the general restoration and preservation of Wailuku town itself.

Submitted by George Burnette, Ka’ahumanu Church Vice Moderator


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