Orthodox Anglican Parish Opens for Business in Hawaii as Five Episcopal Parishes Sink

By David W. Virtue in Greensboro
www.virtueonline.org
February 18, 2011

The
Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA) has started the first orthodox
Anglican parish in Hawaii – Christ the Foundation Anglican Church –
begun entirely by the laity. This week the AMiA (AKA TheAM) ordained The
Rev. Heath Hale as a Deacon at its Winter Conference in Greensboro, to
lead the new fledgling parish of 40.

“The laity started this
parish and we then looked for a clergyman. Usually it is the other way
around,” David Chung president of the Board of Directors of the church
plant told VOL.

“We are all refugees from the Episcopal Church.
We saw the direction the Episcopal Church was taking and the devastating
effect it was having on the Diocese of Hawaii with gay bishops in New
Hampshire and Los Angeles as the Church turned away from Scripture.

“We
all belonged to Calvary Episcopal Church, but broke free when we saw
what was going on. The Rector Joseph Carr was a charismatic Episcopalian
who initially wanted to leave in 2003 when Gene Robinson was
consecrated a bishop, but ultimately felt that he could work from within
the Episcopal Church. In December 2008, he announced his pending
retirement for the end of June 2009.

“The Bishop of the Episcopal
Diocese of Hawaii, the Rt. Rev. Robert L. Fitzpatrick came to our
January 2009 annual meeting at Calvary and told us to leave immediately
if we were only waiting to leave after Joe Carr’s retirement in June
2009. So we left.

“We held a series of meetings in January and
February 2009. From the beginning, it was important for our group to
have proper spiritual covering of orthodox clergy. One of our
parishioners who had attended All Saints’ Anglican Church, an AMIA
congregation in Morehead City, NC called the Rev. King Cole now, a
retired priest and asked for his advice and help about getting a
congregation going in Hawaii. “We asked King to come. He did and he
stayed for three weeks and we held worship services with between 30-35
people attending services.

“The three week period culminated with
12 people formally pledging to start a church . That was in March of
2009. Then, with Fr. Cole’s oversight, Fr. Chip Wheeler, vicar of Holy
Cross of the Anglican Church in America (ACA), an Anglican priest
ordained by the Nippon Sei Ko Kai, an ordained Episcopal priest and
another reject, became part of our supply clergy to do Sunday Eucharist
services. We wanted to develop the congregation and so we held twice a
week Bible studies in home groups.

“We met first at an Assembly
of God Church for three Sundays in a row, but when they found out we
were using real wine and not grape juice, they asked us to leave. We
left in love and began to meet in one of our congregation’s home. But we
quickly outgrew her home. We sought the use of a local school, but they
objected to us using real wine so we were reduced to Morning Prayer. By
now, the church had grown to 20. We called every church in the area,
but we could not get a time slot.

“We prayed and one day we
discovered the Windward Worship Center with an empty church slot between
8-9am. The church property was in pretty bad repair and there was
little parking due to a water line that ran down the middle of a
driveway. The property was a mess. We put in a trench and relocated the
water line. Now we can park 25 cars. We cleaned up the church and did
some landscaping. The good news was they allowed us to use real wine for
Communion.

“The rectory was also falling down due to storm
damage. When their congregation saw what our little church had done to
improve their property, they were motivated to undertake the long
deferred repairs to the roof and to renovate their offices. Amazingly,
the weekly tithe of offerings that we donated to them just covered the
cost of all their materials. Then we outgrew the place. Suddenly, we had
30 members. We held Bible studies, preached the gospel and people got
converted. We introduced them to the Anglican Way and they loved it.

“Then
a local Baptist Church became available. The minister was retiring in
two weeks, the congregation was down to 17 and they were happy to rent
it to us. The new pastor gave us full use of the sanctuary.

“At
that time, we were big enough for a full time priest. We got in touch
with the AMIA folk in Pawleys Island and the name of the Rev. Heath
Hale, 32, hit our radar screen. He was young, committed to the next
generation and wanted to reach out to the unchurched and unsaved. Our
new bishop is the Rt. Rev. Terrell Glenn.

“We had finally turned a
corner. With the ordination of Hale and 40 plus members and a $175,000
budget, we are on the road to a new evangelical awakening on the
islands. It is ironic that, even as we grow, the five Episcopal parishes
in the area have all lost their priests and they cannot replace them.
They don’t have income from dwindling and dying congregations to stay
open. I predict that they won’t be around much longer. They have all
been reduced to mission status.”

On an interesting side note, the
Rev. Joseph Carr, retired Rector of Calvary Episcopal Church, is
currently involved in starting an AMiA plant in Maine, after retiring
there in 2009.

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