Kaneohe Church Looks Back On Many Pastors, Many Names

Kaneohe Congregational Church has been congregating since 1834, when the Rev. Benjamin Wyman Parker established his first church at “Kaneohe station.”

It will mark its 180th anniversary at a 9 a.m. worship service this Saturday at 45-114 Waikapoki Road, followed by an ‘Aha Mele by visiting churches and a Hawaiian luncheon.

The church has had more than 30 ministers and many names over the years, reports Emalia Keohokalole, including Kaneohe Protestant Church, Lanakila Church, Kaneohe Hawaiian Church and its present official name, Kaneohe Congregational Church of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. Current pastor is Kahu Wendell Davis.

The church sits on land acquired during the Great Mahele of 1849, and its first building was a hale pili (grass hut), which evolved into the current building that was completed in 1956, and then moved the back of the property. The original land grant from Kamehameha III was for a total of 7 acres, most of which is now in cemetery use.

According to Keohokalole, it shifted roles during World War II, serving as a staging area for the military. Today, its ministries include Ben Parker Elementary School, a women’s shelter, regular community cleanups at Kalaupapa, visitation to the sick and elderly, and food donations for the needy.

The church’s longevity, explained Keohokalole, is derived from “the faithfulness of Ke Akua to its members, the power of the gospel of salvation, and the steadfast faith of its membership.”

For more information on the church celebration, call 375-6354.