On Sabbath, February 26, the Puna church on the Big Island of Hawai’i celebrated 30 years of service to the Lord during an anniversary Sabbath. The church was formally organized and became a part of the Hawai’i Conference on February 22, 1992.
The church held a special prayer meeting on Tuesday night, February 22, 2022, to commemorate the day on which it joined the Hawai’i Conference family. That prayer meeting was filled with shared memories from across the years, and inspiring passages from the writings of Ellen White were read.
On Sabbath, February 26, Hawai’i Conference Executive Secretary Jay Warren visited the church to bring words of commemoration and encouragement. He urged the church to always remember their “Ebenezer”—the moments throughout their story when God has proven to be their stone of help. Conference President Ralph Watts III joined the celebrations via a special video message in which he reminded the congregation at Puna of how God added daily to the early Christian Church and continues to increase in Puna.
Another highlight in the service was the unveiling of a custom painting of the Puna church by local Adventist artist Kehau Freitas. Back in 1992, Kehau painted a portrait of the church’s original building—a humble house where the founding members of the church met to worship. It was beautiful to see the two paintings, 30 years apart, demonstrating God’s progress in Puna’s history.
The anniversary service also included exhortations from area friends of the Puna church, including the Kohala church, the Hilo church, and Mauna Loa School. All in attendance enjoyed a warm fellowship meal where a home-baked vegan vanilla cake commemorating the anniversary was served. The cake was baked by Michael Ingold, one of the youth from the Puna church.
Church Pastor Andre Weston expressed appreciation for the unity displayed in the anniversary service. “Thirty years is a time to remember that God calls us together, has held us together, and continues to hold us together. Our unity is a powerful witness to an unbelieving world.”
The church plans to hold other events in the year to celebrate its anniversary.