Our Vision for Orthodoxy in Hawaii
Many people, when they think of Orthodoxy, picture ethnic churches with formal worship and exotic customs. This is understandable as many Orthodox parishes have been founded by immigrants and their children. However, the face of Orthodoxy in America is rapidly changing. More and more people are converting to Orthodoxy. In 1987, a group of former evangelicals were received into the Antiochian Orthodox Church. In 2008, a Baptist convert became the Primate of the Orthodox Church in America. This influx of Americans reflects the fact that Orthodoxy has established deep roots in America and represents the spiritual maturing of American Orthodoxy.
However, the task of reaching America has just begun. There are many parishes that struggle over how much English should be used in the Sunday worship. However, the fact remains that effective Orthodox outreach in America will require all-English services. This is because for many Americans, English is the only language they know. All-English Orthodox services are a necessity if we want to bring America to Orthodoxy.
Here in Hawaii, many people grew up speaking English and are accustomed to worshiping in English. So, when they attend Orthodox worship that use a mixture of English and non-English, they find it unsettling and uncomfortable. Some are able to adjust to mixed languages worship, but many struggle. Another challenge is the parish culture. Also, many people find it difficult to relate to the customs and ethnic practices that have their roots in the old country and not in mainstream America or local Hawaii culture.
The key here is to recognize, respect, and value these differences. Rather than attempt to take a “one size fits all” approach, we should seek to start up multiple Orthodox parishes on Oahu. There is a deep spiritual hunger in Hawaii. Many people would like to become Orthodox, but the language and cultural barriers prevent them.
Our Vision: to start an Orthodox Mission that will have all-English services and will reach out to the people who live in Hawaii.
We hope to start an all-English Orthodox mission in central Oahu — within the Ewa-Mililani-Aiea triangle. Please visit: Starting an Orthodox mission.
The map below shows the Ewa-Mililani-Aiea triangle, which represents the population center of Oahu. At present there is no Orthodox churches in that area. Many people drive across the island to downtown Honolulu for Sunday worship. Having an Orthodox presence in central Oahu would make Orthodoxy much more accessible to people in terms of driving. Having all-English worship services would make Orthodoxy much more accessible to local residents in terms of language and culture. If you share this vision, please let us know by contacting us!
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