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  • Hawai‘i Conference

Special Recognitions at the 202nd ‘Aha Pae‘āina

The following congregations and people were recognized during the ‘Aha Makua in 2024. We give thanks and celebrate the generosity and ministry of our churches and clergy!


"5 for 5" Churches

The following churches are "5 for 5", meaning they contributed to Our Church’s Wider Mission and the four Special Mission Offerings of the United Church of Christ in the past year.

  1. Amataga Fou

  2. Central Union Church

  3. Church of the Holy Cross

  4. Ewa Community Church

  5. First Marshallese Church - Kauai

  6. Hanapepe Hawaiian Congregational Church

  7. Hawaii Kai United Church of Christ

  8. Hilo Coast United Church Of Christ

  9. Hokuloa United Church Of Christ

  10. Honolulu Marshallese  Ministry

  11. Iao United Church of Christ

  12. Ka Hana O Ke Akua Church

  13. Kahikolu Congregational Church

  14. Kahikuonalani United Church Of Christ

  15. Kailua Christian Church

  16. Kalaiakamanu Hou Congregational Church

  17. Kalua‘aha Congregational Church

  18. Kapa‘a First Hawaiian Church

  19. Kapa‘a United Church Of Christ

  20. Kauaha‘ao Congregational Church

  21. Kaumakapili Church

  22. Kawaiaha'o Church

  23. Koloa Union Church

  24. Kona Lanakila Congregational Church

  25. Lahuiokalani Ka‘anapali Congregational Church

  26. Lihue Christian Church

  27. Lihue United Church

  28. Living Stones Church

  29. Manoa Valley Church

  30. Nu'u Lotu

  31. Nu'uanu Congregational Church

  32. Ola‘a First Hawaiian Church

  33. Pearl City Community Church

  34. Po‘okela Church

  35. Puka‘ana Congregational Church

  36. United Church Of Christ Judd Street

  37. Waialua Congregational Church

  38. Waiokeola Congregational Church

The following churches are recognized as leadership churches in giving:

Highest total dollar support (OCWM and the four special offerings)

  1. Nu'uanu Congregational Church

  2. United Church Of Christ - Judd Street

  3. Filipino United Church Of Christ

  4. Church Of The Holy Cross

  5. Church Of The Crossroads

  6. Central Union Church

  7. Hawaii Kai United Church of Christ

  8. Koloa Union Church

  9. Keawalai Congregational Church

  10. Pearl City Community Church

Highest giving per capita

  1. Lahuiokalani Ka‘anapali Congregational Church

  2. Puka‘ana Congregational Church

  3. Hokuloa United Church Of Christ

  4. United Church Of Christ - Judd Street

  5. Nu'uanu Congregational Church

  6. Kahikuonalani United Church Of Christ

  7. Church Of The Holy Cross

  8. Koloa Union Church

  9. Hanapepe United Church of Christ

  10. Hawaii Kai United Church of Christ

Increased giving 100% or more over the previous year

  1. Filipino United Church of Christ

  2. Makiki Christian Church

  3. Honolulu Cosmopolitan UCC

  4. Hanapepe Hawaiian Congregational

  5. Lihue Christian Church

  6. The Giving Circle Church

  7. Samoan Congregational Christian Church - Honolulu

  8. Epenesa Fou Congregational Christian Samoan Church of Hawaii

  9. Keolahou Congregational Hawaiian Church

  10. Waialua Congregational Church

  11. First Marshallese Church - Kauai

  12. Laupahoehoe Congregational Church

  13. Kalaiakamanu Hou Congregational Church

  14. Kaulanapueo Congregational Church

2024 Church Anniversaries

  • Wahiawa United Church of Christ - 105 years!

  • Makiki Christian Church - 120 years!

  • Hilo Coast United Church of Christ - 130 years!

  • The First Chinese Church of Christ in Hawaii - 145 years!

  • Kahakuloa Hawaiian Congregational United Church of Christ - 145 years!

  • Nahiku Hawaiian Church - 160 years!

  • Palapala Ho‘omau Congregational - 160 years!

  • Huialoha Congregational Church - 165 years!

  • Puka‘ana Congregational Church - 175 years!

  • Kana‘ana Hou-Siloama UCC - 185 years!

  • Kahikuonalani Church UCC - 190 years!

  • Wai‘oli Hui‘ia Church - 190 years!

  • Haili Congregational Church - 200 years!

  • Kahikolu Congregational Church - 200 years!

2024 Clergy Anniversaries

  • Emerson Smith - 80 years!

  • Norman Jackson - 70 years!

  • Jack Belsom - 55 years!

  • Philip Mark - 50 years!

  • Wayne Ibara - 35 years!

  • Caroline Miura - 35 years!

  • Kevin Page - 35 years!

  • George Scott - 30 years!

  • Alexander Tychkin - 30 years!

  • Nofotolu Alo - 25 years!

  • Sharon Inake - 25 years!

  • Kyle Lovett - 25 years!

  • Jihey Roach - 20 years!

  • Anne Troy - 20 years!

  • Brian Welsh - 20 years!

Clergy New to Hawai‘i

  • Cheri Dennis – Lihue Christian Church, Kaua‘i

  • Rushan Sinnaduray – Central Union Church, O‘ahu

  • Gary Percesepe – Keawala‘i Congregational Church, Maui

  • Brianna Lloyd – Ka Hana O Ke Akua, O‘ahu

In Memoriam

  • The Conference recently learned that William Nagata, 91, retired ordained pastor in the United Church of Christ, had passed away on March 14, 2023, in Atlanta, Georgia, where he had been living. He received his Master of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in 1956 and was ordained in the UCC later that same year. Bill also received a Doctor of Ministry degree from San Francisco Theological Seminary in 1973 and a Master of Social Work from Atlanta University in 1979.  He was a Chaplain in the U.S. Army and retired in 1978 after 25 years of service with the rank of Colonel. He served several local churches in Hawai‘i, including Honomu Christian Church (now Hilo Coast UCC), Kalihi Union Church in Honolulu, and assisted with ministries of Nu‘uanu Congregational Church in Honolulu, where he held his membership until moving to Georgia. He was married to Frances Kansaki Nagata and they had two children, Michael and Janice.

  • Sharon Lee MacArthur, retired ordained minister, passed away on June 5, 2023 after suffering a stroke days earlier. Although she lived in Northern California, Sharon served as Interim Minister at Church of the Crossroads in Honolulu and most recently at Community Church of Honolulu and was well known in the Hawai‘i Conference. She was an active member of Pacific Islander and Asian American Ministries (PAAM) nationally and served on the UCC committee that is updating the Manual on Church. Sharon is survived by her husband, Nowell, and their adult children Ryan, Gavin, Melissa, and Vicki. 

  • Kency K. Conrad, a principal leader in the Namoneas Congregational Churches Association—Chuuk State and former Micronesian Council UCC General Secretary, died on June 7, 2023. We mourn his passing with our Chuukese sisters and brothers. 

  • Palukne Johnny, former president of Jarin Rarik Dron (JRD) who also served the Maui Marshallese Ministry from 2008 – 2009.  The Pacific Conference of Churches posted the following: “The churches of the Pacific give thanks to the life, ministry, and leadership of the late Rev. Palukne Johnny. In particular, the Pacific Conference of Churches acknowledges his willingness to support the programmes of PCC, particularly our Child Protection Programme and the support to PCC’s re-engagement with our churches in the North Pacific. . .  “As we mourn with you, we remit ourselves to Rev. Johnny’s vision for JRD and the churches of the North Pacific to remain an important part of the Pasifika Household. “May the love, light, and peace of God give you all comfort, strength, and hope as we give thanks for the life of this dedicated servant of God.” 

  • Paul Brennan, 84, retired ordained minister, passed away in the early morning hours of Tuesday, September 26, 2023. Among other degrees, he received a Master of Arts (1964) and a Ph.D. (1968) from Hartford Seminary Foundation. He served as pastor of Kailua Christian Church (1986 – 1987), Waialua Congregational Church on Moloka‘i (1987 – 1988), Moanalua Community Church (1988 – 1989), Topside Moloka‘i churches (1994 – 1999), Kailua United Methodist Church (1994 – 2000), and First Chinese Church of Christ in Honolulu (2000 – 2005). In 2023, Paul celebrated his 60th anniversary of ordination.  In 2009, the Rotary Club of Windward O‘ahu honored Paul as their “Service Above Self” awardee for his “tireless service to our community in the areas of historical, anthropological, archaeological, and environmental preservation.” In his later years, Paul used his woodcarving skills to create art pieces out of discarded church pews. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Dorothy “Dottie” Nesseth Brennan, and four sons, Eric, Nathan, Lars, and Jason and their respective families. Paul and Dottie have 16 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Paul and Dottie also lovingly cared for numerous foster children over the years. 

  • Iese Opetaia, 70, Pastor of Epenesa Fou Congregational Christian Samoan Church on O‘ahu, passed away on Sunday, December 17, 2023. He was born in Samoa to parents who both served churches there. Iese was ordained by the Congregational Christian Church in American Samoa in 2014 and was in the process of applying for Dual Standing authorization for ministry in the UCC. He is survived by his wife, Sunema, and five children.

  • Aunty Aletha Kaohi passed on April 9, 2023, at her home in Waimea, Kaua‘i. She was a staunch supporter of the Conference and Foundation and of course, the State Council of Hawaiian Congregational Churches, and had served all three in various capacities. Aunty was deeply respected in the wider community and was just a wealth of knowledge about the ‘āina, the people and the Conference. Without her, we wouldn’t have the book Celebrating Advocacy: Past, Present, and Future and the history it provides. Aunty represented the Conference for many years on the G.N. Wilcox and Elsie Wilcox distribution boards. And because of that, the Conference was the recipient of many large grants from those foundations. She always advocated for the Conference and Foundation, and she wouldn’t hesitate to say if she thought we were going in the wrong direction…actually, she had no problem telling anybody if she thought they weren’t behaving well or being “pono.”

  • Larry Walter passed on May 29, 2023, at his home on Hawai‘i Island. Larry was a retired ordained minister and a member of Hilo Coast UCC. He was serving as the Chairperson of the Hawai‘i Island Association Committee on Ministry and had attended General Synod 34 in Indianapolis as a Conference delegate in 2023. Larry previously served as the pastor of First United Protestant Church (2003 – 2013) and the interim pastor of Hilo Coast UCC (twice). When asked back in December of 2022 what had made ministry sustainable for him, he replied, “I was ordained in June of 1971. I have had the privilege of serving churches in the Northern California Nevada Conference and the Hawai‘i Conference. The dynamism of faith as it unfolds in the lives of individuals and within a gathered fellowship has been the sustaining grace of my ministry. The dynamism changes from one community to another and as the years pass. But this truth remains: faith grows, struggles, affirms, and flows from the lives of God’s people. This is sustaining Grace!”  Larry is survived by his wife, Debbie; daughter Kristin, and two grandsons; son Erik and daughter-in-law Joyce. 

Graduates of Pacific School of Religion's Certificate in Theological Education for Leadership (CTEL) Program

  • Rebecca Choi

  • Patricia Dunham

  • Dr. Kimberly Fong

  • Stanley Puaa


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