History of Keolahou Congregational Hawaiian Church - 1999
The following is an excerpt from the Maui News. “The congregation at Keolahou Church will be gathering under a banyan tree for Sunday services over the next few months while the South Kihei Road landmark undergoes a major face lift.”
“Earlier this week, the church’s Hale Aina, a building behind the church used for community groups and church events, was demolished. A new two-story Hale Aina will be built.”
“Although the sanctuary will be enlarged, the appearance of the green church building will remain the same. Part of the project requires that the church building be lifted off its foundation and moved aside while the new Hale Aina is constructed. The building will remain on property during construction.”
“Membership in 1977 was about eight to ten members, but today 125 - 300 people attend services each Sunday. Bill Pifer, the church’s minister since 1978, is expected to retire in April.”
“The basic design of the new building was created by Juan and Pam Neff. Nick Wagner provided architectural services and Viking Construction is the primary contractor.”
“Keolahou also serves the Tongan community, with Sosaia Pinomi as associate pastor for the Tongan ministry. Bob McCollor is the associate pastor for Keolahou’s ministry at the Grand Wailea Resort, Hotel & Spa.”
We offer our thanksgiving to the Lord for the many Kahu, volunteers, friends and members who have contributed to the life of our church. We humbly pray that the Lord grant us peace and unity as He continues to guide our “Little Church by the Ocean Spray” Keolahou Congregational Hawaiian Church in the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.
- Pink shingles removed - March 16-18, 1979.
- Walls replaced - May 29, 1979.
- Entrance re-attached - June 5, 1979.
- New roof - May 16- June 25, 1979.
- New bell tower - June 5, 1979.
- New construction pau - June 29, 1979.
- Painting pau - August 12, 1979.
Early History of Keolahou Congregational Hawaiian Church The following was taken from a Keolahou church bulletin from 1979.
Originally this church was the Kihei Congregational Church and faced toward Haleakala as there was no Kihei Road.
In 1917 the church was turned to its present position facing the sea and was renamed Keolahou Hawaiian Congregational Church.
Later the church almost ceased to function but, because of the efforts of Charles and Ida Plunkett, Sr. the door of this church stayed open. In recent years the membership has increased enough that it again functions as a complete church.
Today we offer our thanksgiving to the Lord for Charles and Ida Plunkett, Sr. and the many volunteers and helpers who have contributed to the life of our church. Through the acts of their faithfulness and generosity we have inherited this great tradition and place known as Keolahou Congregational Hawaiian Church.
Early History of Keolahou Church
Written by James Hakuole Kenolio.
The following are excerpts from the Kenolio Genealogy Report published for their family reunion held at Keolahou Church May 27, 2005.
George Kahi Kenolio Born • July 4, 1900 Kihei, Maui, Territory of Hawaii. Died • March 4, 1954 Kihei, Maui, Territory of Hawaii. “Kenolio Nehemia (the eldest son of Nehemia - of Lahaina) married Ekekela Ester Lono and from 1867 - 1876 gave birth to three sons Kahi Kenolio, Lahiwa Kenolio Nehemia, Kawika Nehemia and two daughters Nakiowaiakamanu Nehemia and Koana Kenolio Nehemia.”
“Kahi Kenolio married Ho‘onani Poepoe Kamailolo and they lived in Kihei, Maui across a gravel road (know as Kenolio Road) from the original Kihei School Cafeteria. My parents told me in those days Kihei did not have a Hawaiian Congregational Church, until Kahi donated the land to build a church for the Kihei residents.”
“The church was christened sometime in the early 1920’s, and named “Keolahou Hawaiian Congregational Church”. Kahi’s eldest son was my father, George Kahi Kenolio who married Anna Leleiwi in 1917. Though not ordained, George Kahi preached at Keolahou Church on Sundays. A strict and fair preacher, you could hear the thunder of his sermons. None dared to fall asleep!”
“Regardless of what religion you might be, George Kahi would always help at any church function, and usually they would ask him if he could make the “Ho‘olaule‘a” (festival) for them. As I recall, the church contributed many services for the community. The Kihei School, Catholic, Mormon and Community Activities have used the Hale ‘Aina (church hall) on various occasions. George Kahi was extremely known for his invaluable contributions to the community on the Island of Maui. During the “Plantation Days”, he came in contact with many different ethnic groups; so he learned and spoke fluently four different languages, Hawaiian, Japanese, Filipino and English.”
Today we offer our thanksgiving to the Kenolio family for their faithfulness and generosity. We ask that you remember them O Lord and that your blessing continue to be upon the entire Kenolio family. We humbly ask you dear Lord to continue to protect and guide our “Little Church by the Ocean Spray” Keolahou Congregational Hawaiian Church in the name of Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.