Ka’ahumanu Church Celebrates 180 Years
By Wendy Osher
The Ka’ahumanu Congregational Church in Wailuku celebrates its 180 year anniversary on Sunday, August 19, 2012.
Ka’ahumanu Church was established in 1832 on the site of a heiau, and part of the royal compound of High Chief Kahekili.
The original congregation, under the leadership of the Reverend Jonathan S. Green held worship meetings in a shed. The small church began with just seven members and grew to 3,000 in just two years.
The present building was constructed in 1876 and is actually the fourth place of worship for the congregation. The building was named in honor of Queen Ka’ahumanu, the Kuhina Nui of the Hawaiian Kingdom, an ardent convert to Christianity.
It was built as an adaptation of the New England style of Gothic architecture, and used native materials in its construction.
The grounds of Ka’ahumanu Church are said to home to the unmarked grave of John Honoli’i, who studied with Henry Opukaha’ia, and was one of four Hawaiians to come back with the missionaries.
Also on the church grounds is the grave of Bartimaeus Pua’aiki, the Blind Preacher of Maui, and the first licensed pastor of Hawaiian ancestry.
The celebration on August 19th begins with worship at 9 a.m., followed by lunch and entertainment. Joining in the celebration will be musicians Sheldon Brown, Na Leo Lani O Maui Choir, and Uncle Richard Ho’opi’i.
The mea’ai or lunch portion of the celebration is by invitation.
The entertainment portion of the event is free, but donations are always welcome, and guests are asked to bring a non-perishable food donation to the Maui Foodbank.
The present congregation has also begun fundraising efforts to restore the halepule and the pre-school building now being used by Punana Leo ‘O Maui.
In September the church will host the 3rd Annual “Restoring Our History” event. The fundraiser will include a rummage sale, craft booths, food booths, and entertainment.