Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Not All Grass Huts

A L O H A!
Honolulu Happily Welcomes YOU with a Warm Embrace

click on photos to smell some fine, old local buildings
There is a bell hanging in this, um, belfry.

"Bells are aural icons of the Voice of God"
Russian Orthodox Tradition

It's a church - no wait, it's a pagoda.
In the next picture you can see that it has 3 levels,
Father, Son & Holy Spirit. . .

"Still round the corner there may wait,
A new road or a secret gate."
-J. R. R. Tolkien

It's the First Chinese Church of Christ in Hawaii,
founded in 1879 under a charter granted by King Kalakaua.
Happy 130th birthday!

Originally known as the Fort Street Chinese Church
(Fo Gai Food Yim Tong)
the congregation decamped from Honolulu's downtown
in the 20's
for the "new" sanctuary (above) that is celebrating
a mere 80 years this month.

Designed by Hart Wood, the South King Street building encorporates Christian symbolism (Nestorian crosses, brought to China as early as 635 A.D. / C.E. by Nestorian missionaries) Chinese style (that pagoda tower, interior ideograms for "longevity" and a distinct "hui-wen" or meandering motif) all woven together in classic 1920's Hawaii regional design that keeps the interior cool.

Original members were Chinese immigrants

to the Kingdom of Hawaii.

Pastors were brought from China back then. By the 60's the congregation was English speaking as were the clergy.

Today the church ministers to many immigrants once again, conducting services in Mandarin with simultaneous translation into Cantonese and even English.
On Friday nights, 50 to 70 China-born teens worship, socialize, and arrange English-language tutoring here. Many of them attend McKinley High right across King Street.

"In a land of immigrants, one was not an alien
but simply the latest arrival."
Rudolf Arnheim

In 1915 some ethnic Punti members of FCCC left it's overwhelmingly Hakka congregation to form the Second Chinese Congregational Church, which later became the United Church of Christ on Judd Street, above.

"The holiest of all holidays are those Kept by ourselves

in silence and apart;

The secret anniversaries of the heart."

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Of course, Honolulu has many temples too,
such as the Chinese example above.
You can see another local Chinese Temple
and a Shinto Shrine here:

This is a Korean Temple on Liliha Street.

"The crafty rabbit has three different entrances to its lair."
Chinese Proverb

A L O H A! Cloudia