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Waves on the Rocks

Our Denomination

We are the

Pukaʻana Congregational Church is a self-governing, autonomous, local church of the United Church of Christ, as defined by Article V of the UCC Constitution and Bylaws. Our congregation traces the history of its relationship with the UCC to the very introduction of Christianity in the Hawaiian Islands by its first missionaries in 1820.

Our church is committed to being a part of the UCC, and is actively involved in the work and mission of the United Church of Christ at all levels, from the local church to the national setting.

When a young Hawaiian by the name of Henry ʻŌpūkahaʻia sailed to New England, even he did not know the impact he would have on Christianity in Hawaiʻi. While in the United States, after making the decision to become a Christian, he begged his teachers to send missionaries back to Hawaiʻi.

ʻŌpūkahaʻia died before he could see his wishes become reality, but in 1819 the American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions for the Congregational Churches sent its first missionaries to Hawaiʻi. King Kamehameha II charged them " aim at mking people of every class wise and good and happy."

Following their arrival in Kailua Kona, the first missionaries began to hold worship services; and, more were soon to follow. In 1823, the Hawaiian Association of Ministers and Churches was formed; followed by the ʻAhahui Euanelio Hawaiʻi, or the Hawaiian Evangelical Association in 1853.

An image of Henry Opukahaia who became the first Hawaiian Christian. He died in Cornwall, Connecticut, in 1818 and inspired the Protestant missionaries to travel to Hawaii to spread the Gospel.





The United Church of Christ was formed on June 25, 1957, when three Protestant denominations - the Congregational Christian Churches, the Evangelical and Reformed Church, and the Afro-Christian Convention united. The UCC is thus one of the youngest Protestant denominations in the United States, yet its roots reach far back to the 16th century.

The United Church of Christ is a progressive Protestant Christian denomination with nearly 750,000 members in 4,500 congregations. The national offices of the UCC are located in Cleveland, Ohio. In accordance with our congregationalist polity, the local church is independent in matters of policy and doctrine and may not necessarily observe the theological and moral position of the national office or the General Synod creating an extremely pluralistic and diverse denomination.

As of August 1, 2023, the current General Officers of the United Church of Christ are the Rev. Dr. Karen Georgia A. Thompson as General Minister and President, and, the Rev. Shari Prestemon as Acting Associate General Minister and Co-Executive for Global Ministries.


David 1_edited

David 1_edited

Jonathan Roach portrait 2021-10-29-1

Jonathan Roach portrait 2021-10-29-1





In 1959, two years after the formation of the United Church of Christ, and the same year in which Hawaiʻi became a state, the ʻAhahui Euanelio Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian Evangelical Association) which was historically affiliated with the Congregational Christian Churches voted to join the United Church of Christ. Today, it acts as the Hawaiʻi Conference of the United Church of Christ (HCUCC).

Today, the Hawaiʻi Conference UCC has nearly 10,000 members in 120 culturally diverse local congregations - reflecting the diversity of the Hawaiian Islands. Since 1822, the highest decision making body has been the ʻAha Paeʻāina - today, consisting of elected delegates from the churches and covenantal partners of the Conference.

The Rev. Dr. David K. Popham was elected by the 2019 ʻAha Paeʻāina to be our Conference Minister. He is assisted by the Rev. Dr. Jonathan C. Roach as Associate Conference Minister.

Pukaʻana Congregational Church relates to the Hawaiʻi Conference UCC as a member of the Hawaiʻi Island Association. Associations are subregional entities that grant standing to local congregations and to ministers serving those congregations or other entities within that particular region. The Hawaiʻi Conference has five: Hawaiʻi Island, Oʻahu, Kauaʻi, ʻAha Mokupuni o Maui, Molokaʻi a me Lānaʻi (formerly known as Tri-Isle), and the Association of Hawaiian Evangelical Churches.

In 1968, the Hawaiʻi Conference Foundation was founded. Today, it acts as the investment and property management arm of the Conference and supports its ministries as the faithful steward of its assets. Andrew Bunn serves as Executive Director.

The State Council of Hawaiian Congregational Churches traces its roots back to the 1948 ʻAha Paeʻāina of the Hawaiian Evangelical Association. The State Council was established to provide leadership for Hawaiian churches, promote their work, and to nurture fellowship.

The State Council of Hawaiian Congregational Churches was formally recognized at the 1952 ʻAha Paeʻāina. It continues today with approximately fifty member churches working together to keep alive the legacy and traditions of the native Hawaiian churches out of a sincere love for the Hawaiian churches and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Pukaʻana Congregational Church is a member of the State Council of Hawaiian Congregational Churches, and a member of its local arm, the West Hawaiʻi Council of Hawaiian Congregational Churches.

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