KAHULUI - The conference minister of the Hawaii Conference of the United Church of Christ will be speaking at the 45th anniversary celebration of the Maui Evangelical Church at Sunday service, beginning at 8 a.m.
The Rev. Charles Beck will offer a message and the choir under the direction of Pam Petersen will share a special praise medley. A brunch will follow the service.
The 45th anniversary celebrates 1966, the year church members purchased its property on Hina Avenue. The church traces its roots back earlier to Alabama Camp in Puunene, where it was founded in 1922 to serve Filipino immigrants working in the sugar plantations.
The Maui Evangelical Church on Hina Avenue in Kahului is celebrating its 45th anniversary Sunday, marking 1966, the year the church purchased its property in Kahului. The church began in Alabama Camp in Puunene and moved to Kahului, with the new church dedicated on Aug. 27, 1972.
The founding pastor was the Rev. Pedro F. Royola, who was succeeded by the Rev. Emeterio Centeno, who served from 1923 to 1953. Other ministers to serve at Maui Evangelical were the Revs. Jose Rosimo and Simeon Ibera.
The current pastor is the Rev. Walter Baloaloa, who has been with the church since 1973. He also is the supply pastor of Paia Hawaiian Protestant Church.
As the plantation camps of Puunene closed with the development of "Dream City," church members organized an effort to build a new church in Kahului that would serve everyone from the old plantation camps, including non-Filipinos.
Members purchased a lot on Hina Avenue in 1966, and services were held there, sometimes under tents with walls going up, until Maui Evangelical Church was dedicated on Aug. 27, 1972. A leader in the effort to build the Kahului church was Nicanor Domingo, who was a licentiate conducting those services in the church under construction. When he died in 1969, services were conducted by the Rev. Mary Moku, a supply pastor, who was assisted by Domingo's widow, Encarnacion, who was a licentiate.
In addition to Sunday services, the church holds Bible studies at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesdays. The church also operates a preschool that is open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.