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HIAUCC Installs Kahu Keoki Kiwaha

The Hawaiʻi Island Association of the United Church of Christ held a Service of Installation for Kahu Keoki Kiwaha as Pastor and Teacher of Pukaʻana Congregational Church on Saturday, January 13, 2024. Held at Pukaʻana Congregational Church in Keālia, South Kona, the service was a formal recognition and celebration of Kahu Keoki's new ministry which began on September 8, 2023. Pukaʻana has been without a settled pastor since the retirement of the Rev. Nancietta K. Haʻalilio in October 2014.

In addition to members of the congregation, Kahu Keoki's family, and friends from our sister churches on Hawaiʻi Island, the following special individuals were present:

  • The Rev. Dr. David Popham, Conference Minister, Hawaiʻi Conference UCC

  • The Rev. Dr. Jonathan Roach, Associate Conf. Minister, Hawaiʻi Conference UCC

  • Mrs. Roberta Jahrling, Chairperson, HCUCC Administration Missional Team

  • Ms. Kristen Young, Social Media Coordinator, Hawaiʻi Conference UCC

  • Mr. Frank Mulec, Treasurer, Hawaiʻi Island Association UCC

  • Members of the Committee on Ministry:

    • The Rev. Larry Walter (Retired), Chairperson

    • The Rev. Dr. Gwendolyn Hill, Pastor, Hōkūloa UCC

    • Mr. Boyd Matsuyama, Moderator, Pukaʻana Congregational Church

  • Pastor Cara Ann Maeda, Pastor, Hilo Coast UCC

  • The Rev. Jihey E. Roach, Chaplain, Bereavement Counselor, Hawaiʻi Care Choices

  • The Rev. Sam Masilamoney, Pastor, Kona Lanakila Congregational Church

  • The Rev. Kyle Lovett, Chaplain, Mid-Pacific Institute

  • The Rev. Mary Herbig, Minister for Congregational Life, Central Union Church

  • Dr. Toni Bissen, Executive Director, Pūʻā Foundation

The installation sermon was written by the Rev. Eric Anderson (Pastor, Church of the Holy Cross), who serves as Kahu Keoki's mentor and advisor in the Member in Discernment process. Unfortunately, due to illness, Kahu Eric was unable to attend. Kahu Jonathan was asked to deliver the sermon in his place - and he did a outstanding job!

The singing of celebratory hymns and praise songs in English and ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi filled the 124-year old sanctuary and echoed in the small town of Keālia. And, there were many emotional moments during the Installation Liturgy where kahu, congregation, and association affirmed their covenantal relationship with one another.

Following the 10AM service, those in attendance enjoyed a delicious Hawaiian-style lunch that included lau lau, lomi salmon, poi, chicken long rice, chicken lūʻau, and an assortment of tasty, sweet desserts like cheesecake, banana cream pie, and more!

As the newly installed pastor, Kahu Keoki shared the following thoughts which recognized 2024 as the 175th year since Pukaʻana was founded in 1849:

"This is God's house of prayer, refuge, and belonging for all people. We believe that no matter who you are or where you are on life's journey, you are welcome here. There are too many exclusive spaces in this world - including some churches. We are not one of them. Everyone is invited, and all are welcome to experienced the love and presence of God and community just as they are...We made it to 175 years by loving people the way Jesus loves people, and by being faithful to God's call to us in this community, and in this world. And, that will be true in the next 175 years."

With thanksgiving to God for our new pastor and for all who made this celebration possible and such as success, we ask for God's presence and blessing as we journey this path of shared ministry together into the future.

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