Historic Timeline

1885         Theological student Shinichi Aoki leads the first worship service at the Immigration Depot in Honolulu for the Japanese contract immigrants who arrived in Hawaii aboard the City of Tokio.

1887      The Rev. Kanichi Miyama, a Methodist minister, was called from San Francisco to organize the Honolulu Japanese Christian Church.  First met at the Queen Emma Hall, corner of Beretania Street and Nu`uanu Avenue.

 1892     The church was organized as a Congregational church under the Hawaiian Board of Missions (now called Hawaii Conference of the United Church of Christ).

1896       Moved to the Lyceum Hall, corner of Nu`uanu Avenue and Kukui Street, donated by the Waterhouse family.

1900         Cooked over 1,600 pounds of rice to help feed the survivors of the Chinatown fire.

1902       Became the first self-supporting Japanese church and was known as THE JAPANESE INDEPENDENT CHURCH.

1905         Mrs. Yeiko So founded the Home for Neglected Children. She also became housemother of the dormitories which later were called the Nu`uanu Congregational Church Dormitories.

1911      The Lyceum Hall was torn down.  A new sanctuary, a parsonage and dormitory were constructed at the cost of $14,500.

 1942     During the turbulent years of World War II, the church changed its name to NU`UANU CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH.

 1950     After 48 years, the church moved to the corner of Nu`uanu Avenue and School Street.  Dedication service was held on November 19.

 1962     The church moved to 2651 Pali Highway, acquired from the Klebahn and Angus properties (three and a half acres and three times the size of the previous location).

 1965     The new sanctuary and fellowship lanai were dedicated on Nov. 21.  Architects were Hideo Kobayashi and Thomas Nishida.  Contractor was S&M Sakamoto Contractors.  Landscape architect was Lawrence Chun.

 1967     The office complex was dedicated, the cornerstone laid, and the plaque in front of the sanctuary was unveiled on November 19.

1973         Ka Mele Nani O Ke Akua Singers, translated “The Beautiful Song of God,” was founded by Rennie Mau.  The Children’s Choir continued under the direction of Joanne Sudo (1975-79), Pat Dickson (1979-80), and Paula Pang (1980-1999).  The Choir participated not only in worship services at NCC, but shared the gospel in song throughout the community, neighbor islands, and Mainland.  In its 26 years of existence, the Choir has touched the lives of two generations of children.

1975         Women of Nu`uanu was founded. The group became an advocate for women’s issues, as well as an organizing group for various activities, including the Plant and Potpourri Fest who’s proceeds went to various missions.

1983         As members of the Children’s Choir got older, Na Leo Opio O Ke Akua Singers (Youth Choir) was established under the direction of Paula Pang to provide an opportunity for more challenging music and further outreach of God’s word.

1985         Celebrated 100 years of Christian work among the Japanese Immigrants with a  banquet honoring those pioneers. Dendo, One Hundred Years of Japanese Christians in Hawaii and the Nu`uanu Congregational Church, authored by member, Mary Kuramoto, commemorated the event.  Itadakimasu, a cookbook published by the Women of Nu`uanu, received official recognition status from the Governor's Coordinating Committee of the 1985 Japanese 100th Anniversary Celebration.  The church invited World-famous Christian artist, Sadao Watanabe of Japan to come to Honolulu in May 1985 for an inspiring exhibit of his works at the Honolulu Academy of Arts.  The State Foundation of Culture and the Arts partly sponsored his coming. 

1987      Kibo Kan building (gym, kitchen, classrooms, office complex) dedicated Sept. 20.  "Without the older members who have followed the Lord, the building wouldn't be here and without the young it would not exist in the future."  Kibo means "hope" and Kan means "a large house or building."

1989         The Children’s Center, Inc. moves to NCC.

1995     The New Century Hymnals (UCC) were dedicated. Became a founding member of FACE (Faith Action for Community Equity).

2000         NCC played a key role in the installation of a pedestrian-activated traffic light at the crosswalk at Jack Lane and Pali Highway.

2003          Hosted/sponsored an ecumenical workshop on worship renewal called Led by the Spirit.

2007          Became a host church with Family Promise Hawaii, by providing shelter, food and creating a compassionate, enabling environment for homeless families.

2008          Called the Rev. Mary Paik as its Senior Pastor.  She’s the first woman and the first person not of Japanese ancestry to hold this position at NCC.

 

History

Nu`uanu Congregational Church had its beginning on February 8, 1885 when 950 immigrants from Japan arrived in Honolulu on the SS City of Tokio.  Shinichi Aoki, a divinity student at Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan was also on board the ship.  Aoki, along with Dr. Charles McEwen Hyde, one of the secretaries of the Hawaiian Board, conducted Bible classes at the YMCA hall.  This class evolved into the Japanese YMCA with Dr. Hyde as its first president.  These efforts by the early Christians resulted also in the formation of the Japanese Benevolent Society, which in turn established the Kuakini Medical Center.

           After two years Shinichi Aoki returned to Japan to further his education.  Although the group met regularly and was ready to be organized as a church, there were no Japanese-speaking ministers to take the helm.  Help came from the Methodist Episcopal Church in California.  One of the men sent by the Methodist Episcopal Church was The Rev. Kanichi Miyama.  In 1887 Miyama helped to organize the Honolulu Japanese Church, a joint venture of the Congregational and the Methodist denominations.  In September 1891, lacking funds to continue, the Methodist Board of Missions asked the Hawaiian Board to assume full support and direction of the Japanese work in the Islands.  The Honolulu Japanese Christian Church met in the Queen Emma Hall, located on the makai-Waikiki corner of Nu`uanu and Beretania Streets.  In 1894 the church moved to the Lyceum on the makai-Waikiki corner of Nu`uanu and Kukui Streets.

           The church became self-supporting in 1902 during the pastorate of The Rev. Takie Okumura, and its name was changed to "The Japanese Independent Church."  The church was one of the few self-supporting churches in Hawaii.  Under the leadership of succeeding ministers, the Japanese Independent Church grew into one of the leading Japanese churches in Hawaii, primarily serving the Japanese-speaking community.  During this period, the English-speaking membership had English worship services using guest preachers.

           With the arrival of The Rev. Paul Tamura in 1928, the emphasis began to shift to the English-speaking congregation.  The Rev. Masaichi Goto, whose term began in 1938, was instrumental in completing the shift of the management of the church to the English-speaking congregation.  It was during his pastorate that the church became known as the Nu`uanu Congregational Church.  Under the ministries of The Revs. Masaichi Goto, Paul Osumi, and David Hirano, Nu`uanu Congregational Church continued to grow in influencing Hawaii.  It provides leadership in the Oahu Association, Hawaii Conference, and its denomination, United Church of Christ, based in Ohio.

          In 1985, the church celebrated 100 years of Christian work among the Japanese immigrants with a banquet honoring and remembering our pioneers.  Dendo, One Hundred Years of Japanese Christians in Hawaii and the Nu`uanu Congregational Church, authored by member, Mary Kuramoto, commemorated the event.  Itadakimasu, a cookbook published by the Women of Nu`uanu, received official recognition status from the Governor's Coordinating Committee of the 1985 Japanese 100th Anniversary Celebration.  The church invited World-famous Christian artist, Sadao Watanabe of Japan to come to Honolulu in May 1985 for an inspiring exhibit of his works at the Honolulu Academy of Arts.  The State Foundation of Culture and the Arts partly sponsored his coming.

          The Rev. Dr. Wallace Ryan Kuroiwa, former senior pastor, engaged the congregation's focus on the specific local missions of homelessness and native Hawaiian sovereignty.  He led the church to explore the areas of leadership development, long-range planning and Jubilee/sabbatical spiritual renewal.