Windward Methodists To Honor Their Past
Congregations will gather Saturday at Parker United Methodist Church in Kaneohe to celebrate the 85th anniversary of three churches and to honor their founding pastor, the late Rev. Chinpei Peter (CP) Goto.
The public is invited to the 10 a.m. worship service as well as the luncheon reception at the church, located at 45-211 Waikalua Road. An RSVP is requested to 247-3250. Members of Goto’s family as well as the pastors and members of the Kailua and Kahaluu United Methodist churches will attend to “renew relationships and memories.”
“It’s going to be a blessing for all of us,” said Andrew Lee, current senior pastor at Parker Methodist, “and all old-time members are invited.”
Goto, who died in 1954, was best known for the way he brought the faithful together through the three Bs – Baseball, Bicycle and Bible. Arriving in Kaneohe in 1927, he pedalled his bike all over the Windward side to reach out to people and forming youth groups at each church. A charter member and star outfielder on the Asahi baseball team, he organized games after church and wrote a book in Japanese about baseball in Hawaii. As for the Bible, Lee described Goto as “an energetic evangelizer” responsible for the amazing growth of his three Windward congregations. In 1932, for example, some 800 worshipers flocked to a Christmas program in the newly built Parker church, which also had more than 1,000 Sunday school students.
According to highlights from Goto’s history, his personal Bible was autographed by President Franklin Roosevelt. This happened when Goto went to Washington, D.C., in 1937 to represent the interests of Hawaii farmers.
Goto’s wife organized church programs for women and girls during the couple’s time in the area, and continued doing so for more than 30 years after his death. Goto, meanwhile, reached out beyond the church walls to help Windward Japanese families with citizenship and other matters. Along with many Japanese leaders, he was picked up in 1941 and interned at Honouliuli and other locations, but was released on Christmas day to continue helping local families and soldiers from the Kaneohe air station during the tense wartime period.
One of their sons became a missionary in Japan, and one daughter married into the Kosasa family, which endowed a scholarship fund at the Kailua church.