Friday, May 21, 2010

Kawaiaha‘o Church

Last week, we visited Kawaiaha'o Church in Honolulu which was the first Christian church built on Oahu and is still used for services today. The name comes from the Hawaiian noun phrase "Ka wai a Haʻo" (the water of Haʻo), because its location was that of a spring and freshwater pool in the care of a woman chief named Haʻo. The Hawaiian language is still used in parts of the service.

The "Stone Church" as it was known by locals is actually not constructed of stone. It is made from giant slabs of coral cut from ocean reefs. The slabs had to be quarried from under water (back in the early 1800's before modern day equipment) and each slab weighed more than 1,000 pounds. Natives dove 10 to 20 feet to hand-chisel these pieces from the reef, raised them to the surface, loaded them into canoes, and ferried them to shore. Some 14,000 slabs were procured in this way.

It took the Hawaiian community five years to build the church - 2 years less than it took Solomon to build his temple. The estimated cost was $30,000.

Within the walls of this church, the kingdom's royalty sang, prayed, were married, christened their children, and finally, laid in state. King Lunalilo's even chose to be buried on the grounds of the church rather than in the royal mausoleum.

There is a massive organ in the choir loft which I could tell the kids in our group were just itching to get their hands on. Pounding out a few notes on that baby would really have satisfied some deep inner longing in them. Alas, they were not allowed.

**Most of my information on the church comes directly from a flier they handed us while we were there. (Except for the part about the organ.)

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed reading about this. I find it amazing that you are still finding new things to see and do. GG