A Message from Kahu Alan Akana

Celebration, Demolition & Construction   During our worship service on Sunday, I surprised Kei and Penny Osuga with a very special certificate regarding our office expansion, as the final big project of our capital campaign: The Church Office Shall Be Named In Honor Of: Tasaburo & Akiko Okamura Kiyoshi & Takako Shintani Kei & Penny Osuga For their generous and varied contributions to our church over three generations by gifts given by their family & friends   The certificate then listed the names of all of Kei & Penny’s family members and friends who made donations to the office project. In early fall, we were still short about $30,000 in terms of what we needed for the office expansion and new women’s restroom. After Penny mentioned to me that she wished she could think of a special way to honor her parents and grandparents, who were Kōloa Union Church members, I visited with Kei and Penny’s daughter Tara about the possibility of their family and friend’s donating the funds for the entire church office and naming the office after all three generations—including Penny and Kei! Checks poured in over the last couple of months, and a few folks made promises to send money over the next few weeks. It was a special honor to have Kei’s sisters, Irene and Sachiko, (who contributed to the effort), in church on Sunday to assist with placing lei on Kei and Penny! We had a vision four years ago to create a space that was more welcoming and inviting on our church property. We began with an ambitious goal of $150,000. Since a...

Weekly News of the Church

LECTIO DIVINA  Join us at the Smith Memorial Parsonage (3281 Waikomo Road) on Wednesday, December 12, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. as we reflect on the Scriptures in silence and share our experiences of doing so. The season of Advent is an especially important time to reflect and consider the meaning of God’s presence among us. CHRISTMAS CAROLING  Christmas caroling at Sueoka Store on Monday December 17, 5-7 p.m. We sing to support the Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign, which feeds hungry people on the island. 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 from the Revised Common Lectionary, including the Old Testament, Psalms, New Testament, and Gospels. After three years, a good portion of the Bible is included and the cycle begins again. RCL passages are often read in church worship services, and Kahu Akana usually includes at least one of them on the following Sunday. This week’s readings are Zephaniah 3:14-20; Isaiah 12:2-6; Philippians 4:4-7; Luke 3:7-18. _________________________ COMING UP. . . . CHRISTMAS FUND OFFERING  This special offering, administered by the United Church of Christ Pension Boards, provides direct financial assistance to retired and active UCC authorized ministers...

A Message from Kahu Alan Akana

On Sunday, I called attention again to the painting “The Holy Trinity” by the 15th century Russian artist Andrei Rublev. (You can see the painting below.) It a picture of three Persons sitting around a table in love, trust, vulnerability and intimacy. I pointed again to the small rectangle on the front of the table just below the dish. Art historians are aware that there are remnants of glue in that space and believe there used to be a mirror there. The author Richard Rohr tells us in his book, The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation, that his purpose in writing the book was to call his readers to reposition themselves so that they could see their faces in the mirror. Just imagine really seeing yourself as a true reflection of God, for that is what you are! Genesis tells us that human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God We are God’s reflection—not just me…or you…but every single person in the world. Imagine the peace we would have if we truly saw ourselves—all of us—in the mirror! Rohr writes, “We always become what we behold.” So let’s spend some time during this season of Advent beholding the true nature of God, which is a relational God, relating to the “selves” of God with love, trust, vulnerability and intimacy. And let us ask how we might “reposition” ourselves so that we can clearly see that we are actually a part of this loving God. Just imagine God looking upon us in the same way that the three Persons in Rublev’s painting look upon each other! There...

Weekly News of the Church

ANNUAL CHRISTMAS PARTY Friday, December 7, 6 p.m. The Smith Memorial Parsonage (3281 Waikomo Road) Potluck Feast Christmas Carols Holiday Fun Bring a Dish To Share Friends of the Church Are Welcome! _________________________ THE LATEST COCONUT WIRELESS  The Hawaii 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 from the Revised Common Lectionary, including the Old Testament, Psalms, New Testament, and Gospels. After three years, a good portion of the Bible is included and the cycle begins again. RCL passages are often read in church worship services, and Kahu Akana usually includes at least one of them on the following Sunday. This week’s readings are Malachi 3:1-4; Luke 1:68-79; Philippians 1:3-11; Luke 3:1-6. ________________________ COMING UP. . . . CHRISTMAS CAROLING  Christmas caroling at Sueoka Store on Monday December 10 and 17, 5-7 p.m. We sing to support the Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign, which feeds hungry people on the island. LECTIO DIVINA  Wednesday, December 12, 7-8:30 p.m. Join us at the Parsonage for a time to quietly reflect on the Scriptures. We will meet for Lectio Divina at the Smith Memorial Parsonage (3281 Waikomo Road). In Christianity, Lectio Divina is a traditional practice of scriptural reading, meditation and prayer intended...

A Message from Kahu Alan Akana

  We began the Season of Advent on Sunday! The church is decorated with the Christmas tree, Advent wreath, poinsettias, and the beautiful Nativity seen on the communion table. Shellee Riggio shared personal words about “hope” (our theme for the day) and then danced a stunning American Sign Language interpretation to the song “I Hope You Dance.” Kathleen Dahill sung a perfect solo for the day and taught the congregation a new song about waiting for the Lord (another Advent theme). In my message, I talked about preparation for the many ways Christ comes to us (and, yes, another Advent theme!). I said that it was a bit like when my son Palani used to visit me after I moved to Dallas and how I anticipated and prepared for each visit. It was also very much like when he came to live with me full-time in California just before his junior year in high school. God, in Christ, comes to us over and over again, and yet, God also comes to stay and never leaves. The question to ask is: “How do we constantly prepare for his presence among us—today, tomorrow and for the rest of our lives?” I also shared a famous Russian painting by the 15th century artist Andrei Rublev called “The Holy Trinity.” (There is a picture of it below.) It is a very different image of the Trinity than the pictures I saw growing up, in college where I studied philosophy and religion, and in seminary. In most of those pictures, the figures are typically very masculine: an old man with a long white beard,...