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  • Hawai‘i Conference

Kūhiō Chapel's Bible Release Time Students Are Celebrated

News shared by Lorna Bufil and Ku’ulei Hughes Okada

From kindergarten through sixth grade, a group of students has attended Bible Release Time at Kūhiō Chapel in Hilo, Hawai‘i. This after-school program is the only one of its kind in Hawai‘i, and is in walking distance from the students' school. The children receive snacks, learn scripture readings, and engage with music. Due to COVID shutdowns in 2020, no graduation service had been held for the oldest student who had just completed sixth grade.

This summer, the leaders of the program, Ku’ulei Hughes Okada and Haili Church delegates Cynthia and Meli Akimseu, with help from Gary Akimseu, got together to plan a graduation ceremony. The students, who are now in seventh and ninth grade, were recognized in a special graduation ceremony on July 24, 2022, at Haili Congregational Church.

Kūhiō Chapel students with Bible Release Time instructors

As part of their graduation, the students sang a song and recited the scripture John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

Each student received a bible in a bible case and their kīhei, which they wore to the graduation. Stamped on each student’s kīhei are symbols of what they learned each year. The kīhei with its symbols will remind them of the lessons they learned while attending Bible Release. "We thank the State Sunday School Association for their continuous support through the years," shares Lorna Bufil, a member of Haili Congregational Church.


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