General Synod Delegates 2017

Meet Our Synod Delegates

Eleven delegates from the Hawai‘i Conference will be in Baltimore from June 30 to July 4 for the Thirty-first General Synod of the United Church of Christ.

Kathy Tanaka (Tri-Isle Association), member of Iao UCC on Maui, serves on her church’s Worship and Fair Fundraising committees. Her very first Synod experience came in 2011, when she was a chaperone for the Hawai‘i Conference youth group. About her second Synod as a delegate, she said, “I love the different types of services that Synod offers. It exposes me to worshiping in a different way than I’m used to, and everybody is so welcoming, which is what I hope our church is about.”

Joshua Weible (O‘ahu Association) is a member of Kailua Christian Church and attends George Fox University in Oregon. As a youth/young adult delegate in 2015, he enjoyed meeting people. “Being with the other delegates was an awesome experience,” he said. “Being at Synod was so much fun and easier when bonding with other delegates at the table.”

Haleaka Martin (Association of Hawaiian Evangelical Churches) is a member of Kalihi and Moanalua Church on O‘ahu and looks forward to her second Synod. Currently she is Vice-President of Hawai‘i Pacific Islander Asian American Ministries and church delegate to the State Council of Hawaiian Congregational Churches. She looks forward to voting on resolutions and hearing the prophetic messages of Synod speakers.

Linda Petrucelli (Hawai‘i Island Association) is Pastor of Hilo Coast UCC and Chair of the Church and Ministry Committee of the Hawai‘i Island Association. She attended her first of five General Synods in the 1990s while serving as a missionary for the United Church Board for World Ministries. This will be her first Synod as a delegate from Hawai‘i. “The worship at General Synod is always amazing, as well as the sense of the whole church gathering as one,” she said. “And the exhibits are always so informative and interesting.”

Jayne Ryan Kuroiwa (O‘ahu Association) is Pastor of Windward UCC and a member of the O‘ahu Association Board of Directors. As a minister of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), she has attended that denomination’s General Assemblies. About going to her second Synod, she said, “I look forward to hearing an update from our General Minister and President, John Dorhauer, about the UCC’s vision and mission under his leadership.”

Glenn Frazier (Kaua‘i Association) retired as Pastor of Church of the Pacific and is currently Team Coordinator for the Kaua‘i Association’s Waineke Cabins. He has served on the Hawai‘i Conference Council and Formation Missional Team. For his second Synod term, he said, “I’m really looking forward to something I found to be so affirming at the last Synod, and that was the diversity within the church. That is the keystone of growth in a world growing less appreciative of diversity.”

Sue Smith (Hawai‘i Island Association), a member of Church of the Holy Cross, chairs the Justice and Witness Missional Team and serves as secretary of the Hawai‘i Island Association. About going to her first General Synod, she said, “I am looking forward to finding out more about what other congregations and conferences are doing with justice and witness issues considering the current political climate.”

Diane Meyer (Tri-Isle Association) is a member of Po‘okela Church on Maui and treasurer of the Tri-Isle Association. In 1957 she attended the Uniting General Synod which formed the United Church of Christ. This year she looks forward to fellowshiping with like-minded people of all colors and creeds. “Especially in this time when the mindset is that religion is irrelevant in people’s lives, I want to witness the spirit moving amongst us,” she said.

Laura Young (O‘ahu Association) a member of United Church of Christ—Judd Street, is a student at University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. She has attended numerous youth events and ‘Aha Pae‘aina. This will be her first Synod as a delegate. “I am so excited and am really looking forward to meeting new people who I know I will have a lot in common with,” she said. “I am excited to see how big the denomination that I am a part of really is.”

Pualani Muraki (Association of Hawaiian Evangelical Churches) is the moderator and chair of the board of trustees at Lanakila Congregational Church on Hawai‘i Island. She has been a delegate in the past, and she remembers greatly enjoying the worship music and educational booths at past Synods. Her favorite Synod memory is of witnessing UCC member Barack Obama deliver a message in 2007.

Isaiah Kaauwai (Kaua‘i Association) is the moderator at Kapa‘a First Hawaiian Church on Kaua‘i and president of the Kaua‘i Council of Hawaiian Congregational Churches.  This will be his first General Synod.  "I am looking forward to being part of a new process, more specifically, working on resolutions," he said.  "I also look forward to meeting new people, worshiping and singing with others."

In addition to delegates, every UCC Conference sends two associate delegates, the Conference Chair or President, and the Conference Minister.

Charles Buck (Conference Minister) has attended numerous General Synods in various capacities, including as delegate, associate delegate, committee chair and workshop leader. “Synod is a great way not only to see the church at work, but how it all works together as a body of Christ,” he says. “Although our vision statement—United in Christ’s love, a just world for all—is new, we’ve been living it every time Synod meets.”

Iese Tuuao (Conference Council Chair) will attend his ninth Synod and his second as associate delegate. He is Chair of the Conference Council, Pastor of Samoan Church of Hawai‘i, LMS, in Nanakuli, and Secretary of United Samoan Ministry. He says, “It’s quite an experience to witness and be part of a ‘glad’ denomination that gathers in unity to worship, makes decisions and has fun in the presence of Christ.”