A Message from Our Kahu

“Stories of Generosity & Joy… And Appreciation!” I was surprised and overwhelmed on Sunday morning when Penny Osuga came to the front of church for one final “announcement.” She told the congregation that it was “Pastor Appreciation Sunday,” and then explained that dozens of members and friends submitted words of appreciation for me, including some of our “snow angels” from as far away as New Hampshire! Expressions of appreciation were read, lei were placed around my neck, then Rose danced a beautiful hula while Doug sang “You Are My Strength.” By the end of all the expressions of appreciation, my eyes were moist with tears of gratitude, not only for the appreciation that was shown to me but also for the opportunity to minister alongside and among such a loving, generous and joyful congregation. Thanks to each and every person who makes Kōloa Union Church what it is, for we are a special church where every person can come and know that she or he is loved unconditionally and offered opportunities to participate in and share that love with one another and the world around us. My message was about the stories we tell which are so very important to our lives and our communities. I shared about the Mokihana Festival, which I attended just a couple of weeks ago, and how the songs, chants, dances and even the implements all told stories about these islands and the people who have lived here for hundreds of years. I also talked about how the kupuna, or elders, in Hawaiian culture passed down the important stories from one generation to another....

A Message from Our Kahu

“Abundance” We had a meaningful and joyful worship service on Sunday. We welcomed Steve Sparks and Norma Doctor Sparks into our church membership. (There are a few others planning to join later in the fall as well!) We collected over $500 for the “Neighbors in Need” special mission offering for the United Church of Christ. We celebrated World Communion Sunday, with special emphasis during the service on our abundant world. In my message, I talked about this beautiful and amazing world in which we live. In traditional Hawaiian culture, people were aware of the abundance of these islands but also knew that the resources were limited, so they only took what was needed for family and community. When the chiefs, with the help of the priests, saw that any resources were getting low, they would declare “kapu” on them, thus forbidding anyone from taking any more. These practices were part of a larger worldview of stewardship and respect for the Earth and her waters. Today, it seems that the mentality is to acquire as much as you have room for, and when you run out of room then build or rent space to store even more. Jesus talked a lot about abundance and life, believing that abundant life is found in love, generosity and joy—and definitely not in acquiring more and more and more…. In Luke, chapter 12, he said to the crowd, Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions. Jesus wanted people to have abundant life while they experienced God’s abundant love as they lived...

A Message from Our Kahu

“GENEROSITY and JOY” We had a wonderful kick-off with our theme “Generosity and Joy” on Sunday. I talked about one of my favorite authors, Lynne Twist, who wrote The Soul of Money. I had the privilege of spending a good part of a week with Lynne about ten years ago at a retreat on fundraising. Lynne is one of those people who is out to change the world. In her book she writes about the dark side of money (when we worship it and allow it to control our lives). She also writes about the immense healing power in even the smallest amount of money when we use it to express our humanity—our highest ideals, values and commitments. And the beauty of it all is that we get to choose how we want to relate to money. We can either allow it to enslave us or we can use it to heal ourselves and the world; but we must choose, otherwise money will choose for us. So much of what Lynne says in her book sounds like the New Testament to me. Jesus, of course, also made it clear that we must choose. He said, “You cannot serve God and wealth.” Jesus actually talked a lot about the relationship between people and money because he saw how enslaving it can be and how much value it can add to our lives and communities when seen in proper perspective. The Apostle Paul, who spent so much of his letters focused on loving God, also pointed out the importance of choosing our relationship with money when he said, “The love of...

A Message from Our Kahu

  Dear Members & Friends of the Church, During the next four weeks, our theme will be “Generosity and Joy!” My messages will be focused on God’s generosity to us and the joy we find in understanding God’s generosity and being generous to others as God has been generous to us. We will also hear stories from one another who have experienced God’s generosity and their joyful responses. I hope you will join us during this inspirational and joyful time! In the meantime, may we all consider how God’s love might motivate us to live with more generosity & joy in our lives…for God LOVES a cheerful giver! Aloha nui loa! Kahu Alan Akana __________________________________________ Click HERE to see a video of a recent message by Kahu Akana from Sunday morning. You may see the Koloa Union Church YouTube channel to see many of his past messages and subscribe in order be notified when a new message is posted. Please share these videos with friends and invite them to church. Please feel free to “Like” any of the videos you see and share them on social media, such as Facebook, so that others will notice them. “A Message from Kahu Alan Akana” is provided most weeks by the Kahu (Pastor) of Koloa Union Church, an Open & Affirming (ONA) congregation of the United Church of Christ (UCC), a member of the Kauai Association and Hawaii...

A Message from Our Kahu

  I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who made our capital campaign celebration this past Sunday such a great success! After four years of generous giving, hard work and prayers, our money has been raised and, except for a few “smaller” projects that Dan Giovanni is still working on, all of the work is done! It was an honor to dedicate the capital campaign plaque, which mentions all donors as well as each special gift that was given in memory or in honor of a loved one or special group of people! The plaque now permanently hangs above the Deacon’s cabinet and is made of glazed aluminum in a beautiful wood frame made specifically to match the cabinet below. I am grateful for the special music by Debbie and Chris, Doug, Kathleen and our choir, as well as the beautiful hula by Rose! We welcomed and honored The Rev. Dr. David K. Popham, our brand new Conference Minister of the Hawai`i Conference of the United Church of Christ on his first day on the job, and enjoyed a message he delivered. Our Deacons showed up early and made the sanctuary especially nice. Missy made another exceptional floral arrangements and lei for Rev. Popham and capital campaign leaders. Our Aloha Hour ladies and Kiawe Roots did a great job on the special luncheon. Thank you to all who helped and participated on Sunday and to everyone for your love and commitment to God and to our church! Aloha nui! Kahu __________________________________________ Click HERE to see a video of a recent message by Kahu Akana from Sunday morning. You may see the Koloa Union...

A Message from Our Kahu

Maika`i Hana Hou (Creating Goodness & Beauty Once Again)   I look forward to our capital campaign celebration this coming Sunday with great anticipation! After four years of generous giving by members, family, friends and the Vidinha Family Trust, our capital campaign is finally coming to a close. We have accomplished so much together! The overall appearance both inside and outside of our church has truly transformed into a place that is welcoming and inviting to everyone! I hope all of our members and friends of the church who are in town on Sunday will make every effort to come and celebrate! Come and join us for a festive worship service and a delicious catered luncheon afterwards. During our worship service, there will be special music and dance, a time to give thanks to all who donated to the capital campaign, and much more! I am especially excited to introduce the congregation to the Rev. Dr. David K. Popham, the brand new Conference Minister of the Hawaii Conference of the United Church of Christ. Sunday will be Rev. Popham’s first day on the job, and I feel very honored that he has chosen to spend it with us at Koloa Union Church. We will welcome him to Hawaii with a lei and special gift from our congregation. I also look forward to dedicating our beautiful new capital campaign plaque, which will hang on the wall inside the sanctuary. There are also a few final touches that our capital campaign chair Dan Giovanni is finishing up this week that I am certain we will all notice! Koloa Union Church is...