Located in an area sacred to the Hawaiian Islands, Mokuaikaua Church represents both the cultural heritage of the Hawaiian people and the birthplace of Christianity in Hawai‘i. Founded in 1820 by the Reverend Asa Thurston with the support of Royal Governor Kuakini, the church will celebrate its 200th birthday in 2020. The current church building, dedicated in 1837, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. Mokuaikaua’s pastor, staff, volunteers and families are dedicated to the betterment of the larger community through a wide array of outreach programs that include social services, tangible donations, activities and events that benefit local residents, visitors and people and places beyond. Additionally, the church contributes to the economic health of Kailua-Kona.
A TIMELY NEED
In 2006, a magnitude 6.7 earthquake shook Hawai‘i Island and forced the temporary closing of Mokuaikaua Church. Structural engineering inspection revealed structural deficiencies that posed safety and usability risks. Repairs were made to shore up the church with the acknowledgement that a major renovation was needed.
In 2014, Mokuaikaua Church was designated one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
- Phase I of the project encompasses three major areas that are being addressed for safety and the structural stability of the sanctuary: The original exterior stone masonry walls have three major cracks and lack the capability to maintain stability under seismic loads per current building code.
- Large steel beams are required to span across the end walls to tie them together with the side walls for stability.
- Increase rigidity in the roof system by adding interior load bearing posts and retro-refitting hurricane-resistant connections.
Phase II will include improvements to the interior of the Sanctuary: Replacement of ohia posts and beams weakened with dry rot or termite damage; restoring plaster walls and replacing electrical wiring and related components.
Phase II also includes work on the church steeple, designed by renowned Honolulu architect Charles W. Dickey, in 1926 – an iconic image associated worldwide with Kailua village. It suffers from water and termite damage to wood structural and finish components, roof-related structural vulnerabilities, a poor functioning electrical system and inoperative bell chimes.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
After careful reflection, the church has embarked on a multi-year, two-phased capital campaign to raise $3.1 million dollars. Our goal is to complete most of the church restoration and fundraising by the 200th birthday celebration in 2020. This comprehensive effort includes both new and old friends of Mokuaikaua and is fully supported by congregational members and church leadership.
Phase I Goal: $1,150,000
Phase II Goal: $1,950,000
Mokuaikaua Church has been selected as an inaugural participant in the National Fund for Sacred Places, a joint project of Partners for Sacred Places and the National Trust for Historical Preservation and funded by the Lily Endowment. This partnership includes the opportunity to apply for a matching two-to-one grant of up to $250,000. We need your help to maximize this matching grant.
By supporting Mokuaikaua Church and “A Campaign of Spiritual Renewal,” you too become part of the heritage, history and good work of this sacred place. Your sustaining gift will perpetuate and honor the past, and help to leave a legacy for future generations.