"Ohana"

posted Feb 27, 2013, 7:14 AM by Amelia Fannin   [ updated Feb 27, 2013, 7:14 AM by in apropos ]

In the last week I have had the wonderful gift of being on a cruise in the Hawaiian islands, with my family and my brother-in-law, courtesy of my wonderful in-laws.  On the trip I learned the word "Ohana", popularized in the movie Lilo and Stitch, and experienced it in my visit to the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany in Honolulu, Oahu.  Ohana means family, but also a community connected by love and respect, and that is what I found there.  I was enthusiastically welcomed by the members, and shared in a worship which was completely familiar in its shape and elements, but included some items which were not familiar.  We sang a Japanese hymn, and a setting of a prayer written by Queen Liliʻuokalani, Hawaii's last queen, who was put under house arrest by the Americans who overthrew the Hawaiian government in 1895.  This prayer expresses her faith in God's protection even at this terrible time in her life.  Here is the English translation of two of the verses:
 
     While I humbly meditate within these walls imprisoned,
     you are my light, my haven, your glory is my support.
 
For your grace I ask you; bring us under your protection.  And peace will be our portion now and for evermore.
 
One of the ways in which the congregation of Epiphany, Honolulu was definitely similar to Grace, Newton, is that their time of sharing the peace was, if you can believe it, even longer, noisier, and spirit-filled than ours!
 
A feature of the church that I loved were the stained glass windows, made in the 50's, which included people of different heritages.  In one, the Angel Gabriel appearing to Mary is depicted as a Hawaiian warrior.  In another, the children crowded around Jesus are of different ethnic backgrounds. 
 
Another sign of Ohana over the last week is that while I was away, teachers stepped in to be church school teachers for not just one, but for both Sundays of the vacation, so that families could say goodbye to Linda on her last Sunday.  When I first came to Grace, my hope was to encourage the talent and commitment of potential church school leaders I saw already in the congregation.  I am so thankful that this has come to be.  Many thanks to those of you who taught!
 
Fiona Vidal-White

                                                                   

Jesus with the Children - a window in
Epiphany Episcopal Church
Honolulu, Hawaii.
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