Sydney, March 22

It’s been two weeks since we left Hawai’i.  New Zealand, with its jagged hills and low-lying plains, is another world; it is surely why much of The Lord of the Rings was filmed there.  We explored some caves at Waitomo, in the middle of the North Island, saw some incredible landscape as we sailed from the North to South Islands, did the obligatory wine tour in Sauvignon blanc country and spent time in Wellington (the southernmost national capital in the world) and Christchurch.  I write this from Australia on Monday morning March 18 while many of you are still celebrating St Patrick’s Day on the 17th.

All of this is to say I’ve had some time to think about the work I’ve done on the work of the missionaries to Hawai’i.  I’ve gotten deep into the historical aspects, including the native outlook and tenor just before the missionaries arrived, and into their early work.  The short and long term effects of their work among the islands is incredibly varied and is a complicated mix of benefits and injuries.  But the third piece of this is the ways our United Church of Christ has tried to make amends for the injuries to native religion, culture, tradition and sovereignty. 

To keep it brief (for now), in 1993 the UCC’s General Minister and President, Rev. Paul Sherry, issued a statement he called “Apology and Redress,” and it covered two broad areas.  As the title implies, the first part is both apology and acknowledgement regarding the ways our Christian missionary ancestors overstepped their boundaries, and those ways are multiple.  A common way of referring to this in Hawai’i is that the missionaries “set out to do good, and wound up doing well,” meaning for themselves.  The second part consists of a series of grants and contributions to local entities, including small congregations, as a way of helping them reestablish and reclaim their heritage.  If you would like to read more about this, see here:

https://hawaiisqueen.wordpress.com/history/an-apology-to-na-kanaka-maoli/

There is much more to this, of course, and I spent a pleasant afternoon with Hawai’i’s UCC Conference minister Rev. David Popham going deeper into the topic; I will share gleanings at a later time.

So this first half of my sabbatical nears its end. This weekend is my nephew Danny’s wedding to bride Chloe, and we fly back to you all on Tuesday.  I look so forward to being with you again, around the table on Maundy Thursday.  Grace and peace to you all.

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