“In the beginning” – powerful words which start the story of a people of God journeying with intrigue, expectation, and hope. Such is the case for spelling out the story of Waialua United Church of Christ, sitting at the foot of majestic Mount Ka’ala, a metaphor of God’s steadfast call to love and grace for all.
In the beginning, in 1901, a small band of Christians from Japan who came to work in the sugar plantation in Waialua, Hawaii, answered God’s call to start a church. Twenty years later in 1921, in almost the exact fashion, a small band of Christians from the Philippines who came to work in the sugar plantation also responded to God’s call to start a church.
After a time of separate ministries among particular people reﬂecting distinct cultural practices, the Filipino Evangelical Church and the Waialua Japanese Christian Church saw ﬁt to merge into one church, witnessing to Jesus’ call to become One (John 17:21).
Prior to the 1956 merger, the Waialua Japanese Christian Church changed its name to Waialua Pilgrim Church. Folk from the Waialua Caucasian Church and Waialua Korean Church came into the Japanese Church in 1940. In 1956, God’s formation of a colorful ekalesia anuenue (rainbow church) reﬂecting the character of its multi-cultural community took place when all entities described above declared themselves to be one church. They chose to be called the Waialua United Church of Christ, and for thirty-five years was set amongst the backdrop of the Mill Camp residential community of sugar plantation workers on Pu’uiki Street.
In 1988, after years of fundraising and donations by the small but growing membership, a beautiful sanctuary and administration building were dedicated at the church’s current location next to Waialua High and Intermediate School, along five acres spread about the foothills of Mount Ka’ala.
In 2002, with more years of fundraising and donations, in addition to a grant with the Harry and Jeannette Weinberg Foundation, another extraordinarily beautiful building – housing a social hall, preschool, classrooms, and offices was dedicated to the honor and glory of God in Jesus Christ.