Kōloa Union Church Participates in Pride Parade
Guest Contributor: Alan Akana
Kōloa Union Church (KUC) participated in the Kaua‘i Pride Parade and worked at an information table on the lawn of Kaua‘i's Historic County Building on Rice Street on Saturday, June 3. Since KUC is celebrating its centennial this year, the church's parade entry theme was, "Many Cultures, One ‘Ohana for 100 Years." Children, teenagers and adults walked and carried a banner; others sat on the float, including Kahu Alan Akana and musician Dr. Douglas Duvauchelle, who sang songs about God's inclusive love for all people. Chair of the church's Board of Deacons and Open & Affirming Committee, Michael Horning, youth leader Melissa Gregory, Kahu Akana and others staffed the information table after the parade where they handed out stickers, flags, wristbands and information about the church.
One of the highlights for Kōloa Union Church was the Grand Marshal, Michelle Molina, who attends KUC with her husband Chris. They are frequent musicians in worship services and serve as youth leaders to the church's middle and high school students. Michelle was recognized by the Kaua‘i Pride Committee for her commitment to LGBTQ+ teenagers, especially for her work with the Waimea High School group "Prism," which Michelle oversees throughout the school year. This year, Michelle coordinated with another group at Kaua‘i High School in order to host an island-wide prom for LGBTQ+ students and their friends. Michelle was recognized on stage in front of a large crowd and spoke on behalf of LGBTQ+ teens and allies.
Kahu Akana said, "We are all so proud of Michelle and the work she does both inside the church and in the public schools. It was truly a great day for our church to honor Michelle and also to share God's inclusive love for all people on our island. This is the fourth year we have participated in Kaua‘i Pride, and every single year we have people who attend church on Sunday mornings because they learned about us at the Pride Parade. We already had two women attend our worship the very next day and one of them plans to bring her teenage son next week!"
Kōloa Union Church became an official "Open & Affirming" (ONA) congregation in 2019 after submitting a covenant to the ONA Coalition of the United Church of Christ—a public covenant of welcome into the full life and ministry to persons of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions.