The congregation at Aiea United Methodist Church is known for having a heart for going into the world and engaging with partners to assist in their outreach.
Aiea was first established in 1900 as a preaching point of the Japanese Methodist Church in Honolulu. The church began as a mission outreach to those working in the sugar cane industry. From that beginning, the church has continued to engage in mission around the world.
In recent years, the congregation has supported missionaries serving in Japan, Claudia Genung-Yamamoto and Ronald Julian, as well as Debbie and Lester Dornon in Nepal, and Ut Tu and Karen Vo To in Vietnam. Church members stay in contact with the missionaries and the missionaries visit the church regularly.
The congregation partners with other churches, including Mt. Olives UMC in Uganda, and Shade and Fresh Water (Advance #11580A) in Brazil. The Shade and Fresh Water afterschool program reaches 2,500 children. Aiea UMC also supports Wings of the Morning in the DR Congo.
Through its mission programs, the church works to balance local and global projects and to serve people of all ages. Members also partner with Aiea Elementary School locally to make “Keiki Bags” (“Keiki” meaning “children”) to help children who don’t have enough to eat at home on weekends. The congregation assists with other projects at the school.
Aiea UMC members have a strong outreach to the homeless with Hawaii Human Services in Oahu, where members work in the kitchen by cooking and serving once a month.
The church supports Habitat for Humanity and the “First Life after Prison” ministry, as well as partnering with St. Elizabeth Catholic Church for a joint food pantry.The church also parners with Wesley Ministry at the University of Hawaii for student ministry.
Aiea UMC reflects the spectrum of the ethnic and cultural heritage of Hawaii, a beautiful blending of Hawaiian, Japanese, Filipino, Samoan, Pacific Islander, Asian and African backgrounds. The associate pastor, Joseph Siofele, serves a Samoan language ministry as part of the church. For more than 40 years, in a continuing outreach to immigrant communities, Aiea Korean UMC met at the church until that congregation could purchase land and build their own church.
By Lisa Anderson Lloyd, who serves as chair of the mission committee for Aiea United Methodist Church in Aiea, Hawaii, on the island of Oahu.
Copyright New World Outlook magazine, Spring 2018 issue. Used by permission.