A Message from Kahu Akana

A Tree Planted by a Stream On Sunday, I shared with the congregation about Pando, which is the largest known single living organism on Earth. It has been growing in central Utah for some 80,000 years—around the time of the last ice age. It weighs 13 million pounds and covers over 100 acres. Pando is a cluster of aspen trees. When I moved to the mountains of Utah in 1997, I lived in a place that was surrounded by aspen groves. Someone told me that a grove is actually one living unit, connected by an amazing root system of sometimes thousands of trees, all sharing the same genetic material. I pondered how the world would be so much better if human beings all saw that we are connected to one another like an aspen grove. Just like the individual trees, we all look different and are unique in our own special ways. Yet, we are connected in invisible ways that we will never truly comprehend in their entirety. Perhaps if we reflected on this more closely we would say, “Your happiness impacts my happiness; your health, my health; your fulfillment, my fulfillment.” Jesus understood this when he said, “I am the vine and you are the branches.” I invite you to consider this week just how very connected we are to one another, to Jesus and to God; for an appreciation of our connectedness is what will save us and lead us to an abundant life together. I look forward to seeing everyone this week at the beach! Aloha nui! Kahu P.S. If you watch this week’s video of...

Weekly News of the Church

CHURCH ON THE BEACH Sunday, February 24, 11 a.m. The Pavilion at Poipu Beach Across from Nukumoi Surf Shop/Brennecke’s Restaurant Come Early to Hang Out Worship Will Begin at 11:00 Potluck Luncheon Bingo and Other Games Stay for the Afternoon Bring something to eat for the potluck. Bring lawn chairs if you like. There will be no worship service at the church on this day! (P.S. This date coincides with Kahu’s 5th anniversary as our Pastor.) SCENT-FREE ENVIRONMENT  We have members, friends, and a kahu who are highly allergic to various scents, often resulting in coughing, sneezing, difficulty breathing and speaking, as well as other symptoms. Heavy perfumes and colognes are particularly troublesome. We are requesting that our church be, as much as possible, a “scent-free” environment during worship services, social activities and meetings. We realize that there is no way to keep all scents away, and we plan to continue having fresh flower arrangements each week and lei for special occasions, but we do ask everyone to be sensitive to the needs of those around them when it comes to perfumes, colognes and lotions. THE LATEST COCONUT WIRELESS  The Hawai`i Conference of the United Church of Christ shares news on the Coconut Wireless, the regular weekly newsletter of the HCUCC. If you would like to keep abreast on news, opportunities and events, please click HERE for the latest news. If you like what you see, you may subscribe and get every issue of the Coconut Wireless automatically and get the very latest news hot off the press. LECTIONARY READINGS (Old & New Testament Readings for the Week)  Each week, Christians throughout the world read biblical passages...

Weekly News of the Church

MEN’S BREAKFAST  Join the men of the church and their friends as they continue this winter tradition. The men meet each Tuesday (except the 4th Tuesday of each month when they are welcome to join the All-Church Breakfast) at 7:30 a.m. at Kalapaki Joe’s in Poipu for this time to catch up with returning snowbird friends and church members. BIBLE STUDY  Kahu will offer a Bible study for people who would like to read passages in the Bible and learn about how they are interpreted; we will read biblical texts that encourage welcoming and accepting people who are different, as well as texts that are often used to condemn people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and those who question sexual and gender norms. There will be a time for questions and conversation. You are welcome to attend the Bible Study on Wednesday, February 6, at 7 p.m. at the Smith Memorial Parsonage (3281 Waikomo Road). CHURCH ENSEMBLE  Singers are asked to meet at the church on Saturday, February 9, at noon for practice. You will be featured on Sunday, February 10, during Ka Mele Makana. THE LATEST COCONUT WIRELESS  The Hawai`i Conference of the United Church of Christ shares news on the Coconut Wireless, the regular weekly newsletter of the HCUCC. If you would like to keep abreast on news, opportunities and events, please click HERE for the latest news. If you like what you see, you may subscribe and get every issue of the Coconut Wireless automatically and get the very latest news hot off the press. LECTIONARY READINGS (Old & New Testament Readings for the Week)  Each week, Christians throughout the...

A Message from Kahu Akana

“The Greatest Commandments” On Sunday, I shared a couple of stories about gay friends of mine who were physically and emotionally tortured. The people inflicting pain believed they were doing God’s will, and had Scriptures to back up their actions. I wholeheartedly disagree with their interpretation and use of biblical passages. There are commands in both the Old and New Testaments which are troublesome and conflict with others. I shared some of those commands (and the ensuing punishments) which are so outlandish that no followers of Jesus would ever attempt to follow. People have used the Bible to defend slavery, abuse women and children, and inflict judgment and pain on those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and gender-nonconforming. So how do we interpret the difficult biblical passages—or any parts of the Bible, for that matter? I said in my message that we should first pay attention to Jesus when he gave tha answer to the question, “What is the greatest commandment?” His response was, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Since Jesus said that these are the two greatest commandments, it seems clear to me that all other commandments should be seen in light of these two. Our church is going through the process of moving toward becoming an official “Open & Affirming” congregation of the United Church of Christ. By doing so, we will publicly state that everyone is welcome to worship and participate in...