During the weekend of Nov. 9 to 11, the Episcopal Church in Hawai'i celebrated its sesquicentennial (150th) anniversary. All were invited to take part in the many public events and activities that took place at St. Andrew's Cathedral in Honolulu. The gathering celebrated King Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma's invitation to the Anglican Church to Hawai'i in 1862.
The king and queen aspired to establish a church that would honor Jesus Christ as well as meet the needs of its multi-cultural community.
"The journey of faith and the promise of hope are not over," said The Rt. Rev. Robert L. Fitzpatrick, fifth Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Hawai'i. "Our future lies ahead."
The weekend’s sesquicentennial celebration of the Episcopal Church in Hawai‘i concluded with a festival Eucharist in the Cathedral of St. Andrew. The Presiding Bishop, the Most Rev. Katherine Jefferts Schori (right), preached and celebrated with the Rt. Rev. Robert L. Fitzpatrick, fifth Bishop of the Diocese of Hawai‘i (left).
Photo: Richard Schori
"Our intention is to remember and honor our history and to also focus on present and upcoming ministries," he said.
Recently, each island celebrated the sesquicentennial with a special event attended by Bishop Fitzpatrick. The statewide festivities culminated in the weekend at St. Andrews Cathedral.
The celebration began Friday, Nov 9, with honored guest speaker Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in the U.S. Bishop Schori congratulated the Diocese of Hawai'i for 150 years of faithful presence in the islands.
"All faiths must continue to work together, be inclusive and navigate the divides to heal," she said.
Ceremonies in the cathedral's Tenney Theater opened with oli, prayers and music. Several honored guests were present, including Bishop Schori; Bishop David Lai of Taiwan; Vicar General John Gray of Te Pihopatanga O Aotearoa, New Zealand; Supreme Bishop Ephraim Fajutagana of the Philippine Independent Church; and two past bishops of the Diocese of Hawai'i, the Rt. Rev. Donald P. Hart and the Rt. Rev. Richard Chang.
"In spite of conflict, we must restore a culture of stability by creating justice and moral responsibility," said convention Chaplain Dr. Jenny Plane-Te Pa'a, the first lay indigenous woman to be appointed dean of Te Rau Kahikatea at the College of St. John the Evangelist in New Zealand. "We are all co-authors and must give more selfless human compassion, generosity, devotion and service to uphold the entirety of God's people."
The program continued with an O'ahu premiere of the documentary film "Grace and Beauty." The film was created and produced by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Steph-anie J. Castillo, a Kaua'i resident and member of St. Michael's Church.
"This documentary tells the story of King Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma's vision to establish a church along with Anglican Bishop Thomas Staley, who they invited to Hawai'i in 1862," said Bishop Fitzpatrick.
King Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma supported the church's establishment throughout the islands with gifts of land.
On Maui, the Church of the Good Shepherd in Wailuku was built on a parcel of land given by the king and queen. Its first service was on Christmas Day 1866.
"Our history serves to remind us that we are blessed as a parish," said Good Shepherd Pastor Marvin Foltz. "We are blessed with the talents and treasures of our predecessors and we must continue to be faithful stewards of everything God has given to us."
Following the film, a ministry fair was held at Queen Emma Park directly behind the cathedral. This event featured many of the nonprofit outreach agencies that the Episcopal Churches work with, besides outreach ministries from the schools, camp and independent programs.
In the afternoon, a dramatic portrayal of Queen Emma by Denyse Woo-Ockerman enthralled the audience. Throughout Jackie Pualani Johnson's one-act play, "Vespers at Hanaiakamalama," Woo-Ockerman told the history of the king and queen's efforts to take responsibility (ho'okuleana) for the Hawaiian people.
The day ended with Gabriel Faure's Requiem Mass in the cathedral.
"The mass honored those who have gone before us in these past 150 years, beginning with the sovereigns and concluding with our 2012 necrology," said Bishop Fitzpatrick.
Saturday was dedicated to the 44th Annual Meeting of Convention.
"While it contained many of the usual orders of business, including the election of officers, there was time to honor our heritage," Bishop Fitzpatrick said.
A delectable evening event gave clergy, convention delegates and guests an opportunity to visit food stations to sample special plates under the Queen Emma Park tent.
"Chef stations from the private sector and culinary arts programs of several Leeward High Schools offered a variety of excellent tastes," said Austin Murray, pastor of Trinity-By-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Kihei.
"The evening's entertainment was provided by 'Iolani's performance band and guests were hosted by 'Iolani students, who will be observing their own sesquicentennial in 2013," he said.
Presiding Bishop Schori celebrated and preached at the closing event, a grand festival Eucharist held at the Cathedral of Saint Andrew on Sunday.
The mass, which incorporated the Hawaiian language, hula and seven other languages, was made available to the entire diocese-wide church community. Through live-streaming Internet video, all congregations were able to see and hear the service in their churches.
"We look forward to expanding our ministry with a shared message of love and inclusion," said Bishop Fitzpatrick. "We wish to fulfill in this place, if even for an instant, God's intention of love, with justice, healing and holiness for all."