We are very concerned about the status of our Waiola Church friends.
We know Tama Kaleleiki is safe, though he lost his home located on the corner of Wainee and Shaw St. The Maui News interviewed Tama on Tuesday, August 8:
LAHAINA — Tama Kaleleiki watched in dismay as a blaze fanned by strong winds engulfed the hall of Lahaina’s historic Waiola Church.
“This is very sad. It breaks my heart. We live for our church. My sister and I just cleaned yesterday,” Kaleleiki said Tuesday afternoon. “I just hope the church is strong enough to overcome this. I’m praying.”
All Hawai‘i is in shock over this devastation of Lahaina and other sections of West Maui. Working with Mo‘olelo Kū‘i‘o ministry we grew close to the organizers of the Waiola 2023 Bicentennial. We created and donated copies of a commemorative booklet for the Waiola Church for the bicentennial celebration held on the church grounds in late May. We are very thankful we have this snapshot in time of the Waiola Church, its people and history.
As a survivor of Kaua‘i hurricanes Iwa in 1982 and ‘Iniki in 1992 I feel deeply for the Lahaina ʻohana, recovery is a long road following a mega-disaster.
The Waiola Church congregation rebuilt their church following a fire which heavily damaged the church in 1947 (then still named the Wainee Church), only to have the infamous Lahaina Kauaula Wind destroy the wood frame church in 1951. Recovery efforts saw Congregational churches sending members to Waiola to help clean up the church grounds, and by 1952 the new church opened, renamed Waiola. Surely such aid will arrive in the future when it is time to build a new Waiola Church.