Maui News

Good Shepherd Church Celebrates 150 Years, Time Capsule to be Opened

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Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Wailuku, Maui.

Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Wailuku celebrates the end of their 150th (sesquicentennial) year with a special “Homecoming Sunday” celebration and lūʻau at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017.

The church was founded in 1866 by Father George B. Whipple, an American Episcopalian priest who had responded to an invitation by King Kamemeha IV and Queen Emma.

Church representatives say he arrived on Maui with his wife and Ojibway daughter, and was unceremoniously let off in Māʻalea Harbor, where he hired an oxcart to take him to the site of where a new church would eventually be built in Wailuku.


One hundred and fifty years later, members of the church he founded, Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, join together for the milestone celebration.

Located on land given to the church by the Hawaiian monarchy at the corner of Church and Main Streets in Wailuku, Good Shepherd has some unique plans for celebrating.

Parishioners will be opening a time capsule from the corner stone of the present structure, built in 1910 that replaced the original wooden structure. Long time church member, Peter Lee, whose family was among some of the earliest Hawaiians to join the church, said, “It is a complete mystery to us what is in there. We know that the Baldwin family donated the bluestone box and that something was put in there. We have some historical records that it contains a gavel but it is going to be exciting to find out, as well as put in some 21st century artifacts which may be considered equally quaint and unusual 150 years from now.”


The service will feature some of the songs and readings from the service that dedicated the new church building in 1910. It will also feature some of the church youth performing a hula while other youth will participate as lay readers.

The service will be celebrated by the Episcopal Bishop of Hawaiʻi, the Right Reverend Robert L. Kealiikoaokeakua Fitzpatrick, who was conferred Honorary Aliʻi Status into the Royal Order of Kamehameha by the Aliʻi Nui and Grandmaster, Aliʻi Sir William Roback, KCGK during the Feast of the Holy Sovereigns at Good Shepherd in November 2016 as part of the church’s sesquicentennial activities.

After the service and opening of the cornerstone, there will be a lūʻau with live music and local food served by the parish.


Rector, Fr. Craig Vance, himself a recent arrival from Vancouver, Canada said, “We are inviting people who have ever had connections with the church to “come home” as well as those who would just like to celebrate with us. Good Shepherd embodies everything that we recognize as Hawaiʻi: with a diverse congregation of Hawaiians, Filipinos, Asians, Africans, mainlanders, and yes, even Canadians, rooted deeply in the history of Hawaiʻi and where the ti leaves and hula mix with guitars and drums in a glorious fusion of cultures and spirituality.”

Good Shepherd Episcopal Church was established by invitation of Hawaii Aliʻi, King Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma, in 1866. Good Shepherd has been at the corner of Church and Main Streets for one hundred and fifty years. From its beginning in 1866, Good Shepherd has drawn Christians of all races. Today, over 450 Caucasians, Chinese, Filipinos, Hawaiians, Hispanics, Japanese, as well as individuals from other ethnic groups worship at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church.

Good Shepherd Episcopal Church has been recognized as a Jubilee Ministry by the National Episcopal Church for its work with the poor and homeless. Good Shepherd’s community outreach programs include feeding the hungry every Sunday through its Ka ʻOhana Kitchen; the Queen Emma Athletic Club; and its Filipino folk dance troupe. Together with the other Episcopal churches on Maui, Good Shepherd started A Cup of Cold Water, a van ministry which provides food and sundries for the homeless on Maui. Good Shepherd is also known for its music and youth ministries.

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