Nā Hale Pule: Portraits of Native Hawaiian Churches, 1820—1900

Nā Hale Pule: Portraits of Native Hawaiian Churches, 1820—1900

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With historical sketches of some 165 churches that were known to exist in Hawai‘i during the nineteenth century, Nā Hale Pule: Portraits of Native Hawaiian Churches, 18201900 is the first comprehensive survey of the Congregational and Presbyterian Churches of Hawai‘i as established by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions and later operated by Ka ʻAhahui ʻEaunelio o Hawaiʻi (The Hawaiian Evangelical Association). While many of these churches were first led by missionary pastors, the aliʻi (hereditary chiefs) founders of the churches together with their membership and congregational leaders were predominately Native Hawaiian. Worship services were soon led by Native Hawaiian pastors and were conducted in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian language).

This study draws upon the official archives of the churches, English-language newspaper articles, missionary and pastoral correspondence, and a twentieth-century architectural survey. The body of this work includes an island-by-island listing of the names and locations of the Native Hawaiian churches, the pastors who served the congregations, and brief histories of the churches themselves. These portraits tell the stories of the founding of the churches, Christianity’s rise in the islands through the Great Revival years of the 1840s, the devastating impact of foreign diseases that swept through Hawaiʻi during the mid-nineteenth century, and the efforts of the churches to maintain their properties and congregations.

The book's introduction describes the founding of mother and branch churches, the importance of the lands on which the churches resided, church construction and builders, the struggle for self-support and self-governance, demographic changes that led to the churches’ decline, and a resurgence of Native Hawaiian culture and polytheism that caused understandings of faith and the future to further evolve. Also included are a chronology of Native Hawaiian churches, a robust glossary of Hawaiian theological vocabulary, and meticulous citations.

This volume is a companion to Nā Kahu: Portraits of Native Hawaiian Pastors at Home and Abroad, 18201900, by Nancy J. Morris and Robert Benedetto, which tells the stories of the lives of Native Hawaiian pastors.