" HAWAII`S FIRST CHURCH" Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i
Posted by: Mauison
N 19° 38.364 W 155° 59.636
5Q E 186000 N 2174337
Quick Description: Mokuaikaua Church, Hawaii's First Christian Church is located in Kailua-Kona, on the Big Island in the State of Hawaii.
Location: Hawaii, United States
Date Posted: 10/16/2006 7:25:47 PM
Waymark Code: WMVFE
The first missionaries sent to Hawaii in 1819 by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions consisted of two ministers, two teachers, an apprentice printer and a farmer, along with their spouses. The two ministers were Hiram Bingham and Asa Thurston, a 32 year-old graduate of Yale University and the Andover Seminary. After a voyage of 164 days and 18,000 miles their ship, the Thaddeus arrived on the Big Island of Hawaii.
They soon learned that Kamehameha I was dead. Liholiho was king. The kapu (tabu) had been broken meaning that the old religion was in turmoil. The ship sailed down to Kailua at Kona and awaited permission for the missionaries to come ashore.
The young king, with advice and consent from the regent Ka'ahumanu and Englishman, John Young, principal adviser to Kamehameha I, agreed to allow the missionaries to remain in Hawaii providing that one be assigned to Kailua and the other to Honolulu on the island of Oahu. They were granted a stay of one year (a stay that was to last indefinitely). Assigned to Kailua were the physician Thomas Holman and minister Asa Thurston.
Thus the groundwork was established for the building of the first Christian church in Hawaii, at Kailua at Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii.
A piece of land near the harbor was given by the king for the building of a church. The first and second structures built on this site under the direction of Asa Thurston were large thatched roofed structures constructed in 1820 and 1825. Both were destroyed by fire and the need for a more permanent structure was apparent.
In 1835 construction began on a permanent stone structure. Completed in 1837, Mokuaikaua Church sits today much as it did almost 200 years ago. It remains an active church.
Mokuaikaua Church represents a combination of New England architecture, Big Island of Hawaii materials (lava rock and coral-based mortar) with cast off ballast from sailing ships built in as well. The church's 112-foot-high steeple is the tallest structure in Kailua. The church is 118 feet long and 46 feet wide.
It is said that the lava rock used in the construction of the church's walls came from a 15th century 'Heiau' (temple) that once stood at this location. Mortar consists of a combination of sand, crushed coral gathered from the nearby sea, and oils from kukui nuts used as a bonding agent.
The interior of Mokuaikaua Church is one of finest examples of the use of native Hawaiian woods remaining in the islands.
All of the interior posts and beams are made of of 'Ohi'a wood, 'Ohi'a lehua is Hawaii's most abundant native tree and often the first thing to grow in fresh lava fields since Hawaii's tropical breezes easily spread the tree's tiny seeds. 'Ohi'a lehua trees are found between elevations of 1,000 and 9,000 feet. They grow as small trees in wet marshes yet in more stable ground they can grow to over 100 feet in height. Visitors will find numerous examples of 'Ohi'a lehua within Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Ancient Hawaiians used 'ohi'a to construct temple idols, poi mashers, and bowls. Today 'ohi'a is used in house posts, furniture and flooring.
The pews, pulpit and interior paneling of Mokuaikaua Church is made of koa wood, one of the world's most rare and valuable woods. Koa wood forests once were widely found in moist tropical forests between elevations of 1,000 and 6,000 feet on the sides of Hualalai, Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii. Koa trees can also grow to over 100 feet in height with trunks as much as 10 feet in diameter. Ancient Hawaiian's used koa wood for dugout canoes, paddles, spears and surfboards. Today Koa trees are scarce and products made of koa wood are extremely expensive but make for wonderful memories of your visit to Hawaii.
At the rear of Mokuaikaua Church is a wooden model of the Thaddeus, the brig that brought those first missionaries to Hawaii.
Asa Thurston remained in Kailua-Kona for more than forty years, only retiring to Honolulu when he was incapacitated by paralysis for continued active work. He died in Hawaii in 1868 at the age of 81. Among his most notable accomplishments was his translation of a large part of the Bible into the Hawaiian language.
Mokuaikaua Church is located at 75-5713 Ali'i Drive in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii, directly across from the Hulihe'e Palace. The church is open to the public daily from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Admission is free and tours are available. You will find artifacts, memorabilia and additional information on the church at the back of the church.
Check the 'Island' where you found this 'Waymark': Hawai'i
Marker Name: Hawaii's First Church
Marker Type: Roadside
Check the type of marker: BUILDING
Related web site.: Not listed
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