Saturday, September 23, 2017

History of CCH

Community Church of Honolulu grew out of the soil of the Beretania Church of Christ, a small mission started in the early 1900's by Mr. and Mrs. Elijah McKenzie. With the help of Leigh Hooley, a former YMCA staffer who arrived in 1925, 400 Chinese youth learned English, engaged in a wide variety of sports and outdoor activities, and were exposed to a whole new world.

   In 1934, 31 high school and college students and young adult children of first-generation Chinese immigrants became the founding charter members of Ke‘eaumoku Church of Christ. It was located in an old frame building on Ke‘eaumoku and Lunalilo Streets.

   The new church was accepted in the Congregational fellowship of the Hawaiian Evangelical Association, the predecessor to the Hawaii Conference of the United Church of Christ. The Rev. Stephen Mark, the first American-born Chinese in Hawaii to be ordained to ministry, was called in 1936 as the church's first pastor.

   The church relocated three times in three years, from School Street, to a storefront on Fort Street, and finally to the Nu‘uanu YMCA. In 1938, the former home of Sanford B. Dole on Queen Emma Street was purchased, and the church was renamed the Community Church of Honolulu.

   During the ministry of the Rev. Richard Wong (1954-1968), a city development project at the Queen Emma Street site forced the church to find a new site. In 1962, the home of E. Faxon Bishop on Nu‘uanu Avenue was purchased. Three years and two building drives later, the current sanctuary, designed by Howard Wong, AIA, was completed.

   Rev. Richard Wong is also credited with initiating the Watchman, our monthly newsletter. Rev. Richard DuFresne began his 10-plus years as minister in 1977, and led the groundbreaking for the new multipurpose building in 1983. CCH burned its final mortgage in 1986!

   During the ministry of the Rev. Dr. Wallace Fukunaga in the 1990's, the finances of the church were stabilized and an Endowment Fund was initiated. The Rev. Mark Lee, who began as an Associate Minister under Rev. Fukunaga in 2000, became Senior Minister in 2002 with his gifts of Bible Study and faith development. In 2008, CCH called Rev. Ron Williams to become Senior Pastor. Three years later, Manu Nae‘ole was named Christian Ed Director.

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