My Study Leave Retreat on Oahu
I returned to the church office yesterday from my 2-week study leave in California and Oahu. I spent 3 days in Berkeley, beginning with a welcoming/training session and dinner for new trustees and staff at Pacific School of Religion, where I have been a trustee for four years and am a member of the Board Membership and Effectiveness Committee. I then spent 2 days in board meetings, considering important matters such as academics, finance, recruitment, enrollment, innovation in education, and, of course, advancement, which is the committee I chair that oversees our philanthropic endeavors. I also attended chapel on Tuesday where I listened to students share about the saints in their lives. (All Saints Day was November 1.) That evening, I had dinner with PSR’s President David Vasquez-Levy as the two of us planned his next trip to Hawaii in January. After dinner I attended a talk at First Presbyterian Church Berkeley to hear Jim Wallis, who is one of my favorite authors and heroes of the Christian faith. He spoke about his newest book Christ in Crisis, focusing primarily on the parable of the Good Samaritan and how Christians in America today have missed the point of being neighborly to those who are considered “other.” After the talk, David Vasquez-Levy participated in a panel with Jim. By the way, Jim authored the book America’s Original Sin, which our church’s book group discussed over the summer!
For the remainder of the two weeks, I spent most of my time reading, writing, focusing on our church’s vision and mission statements (and how they might guide us in the upcoming months), preparing worship services and catching up on a bunch of church “business” that I rarely seem to have time for in my regular weekly schedule. For example, I updated our church website with new color, photos and fonts, and updated information on most of the pages.
Overall, it was a very productive study leave. I also got to spend a bit of time with family and friends. The highlight was being with my sister and her family, including her 3 grandkids, including baby Kaia who is less than 2 months old! On Oahu, I enjoyed staying in a beach house near Kahana Bay. It was a nice place to work without interruptions while listening to the ocean and enjoying a view of the beach right outside. It was also a great place to hike and swim during my breaks. I also got together with good friends for Halloween and my birthday on Sunday! I feel rested, refreshed, “caught up,” and ready for the upcoming holiday season!
“A Message from Kahu Alan Akana” is provided most weeks by Koloa Union Church, an Open & Affirming (ONA) congregation of the United Church of Christ (UCC), a member of the Kauai Association and Hawaii Conference.
To see a video of one of Kahu Akana’s recent messages, click HERE. 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.
You are welcome to join us on Sunday mornings! To see our Sunday morning schedule, click HERE.
Kahu Akana is also an accomplished artist! He specializes in creating vibrant watercolors of the flowers of Hawaii and hosts a Sunday afternoon reception in a gallery at his home, the Smith Memorial Parsonage. He also meets visitors by appointment. Most of the profit from the sales go for the maintenance and upkeep of the parsonage. To see a video about his art and gallery, click HERE. To see the gallery website, click HERE.
To learn more about Kahu Akana (and the rest of the staff at Koloa Union Church), click HERE.