Our History

We live and minister in the Enchanted Lake area of Kailua, Hawai'i and are well on our way into our 61st year!

For a detailed look at our past, grab a cup of coffee and read on. 

Original history books are linked at the bottom of the page.


The History of Emmanuel Church

In 1956, the long-range planning committee of St. Christopher’s Episcopal church, Kailua, recommended that, “The Vestry approve the plan that we consider a mission near the Waimanalo-Kailua Road Junction and authorize the Long-Range Planning Committee to study the possible acquisition of the site.”


The time for action came in 1959. Mr. Harold Castle of Kaneohe Ranch donated a piece of land at the Waimanalo Junction , near the site of the proposed new hospital, at the mauka end of what is now known as “Church Row” in Kailua. A group of families from St. Christopher’s began meeting to plan the new mission, with the approval of Bishop Kennedy, who wished the mission to serve the newly developing areas of Olomana, Pohakupu, and Maunawili.


On July 28, 1960, the Maunawili Mission was born, as the first Bishop’s Committee met to hear of their official appointment by Bishop Kennedy. Services were held at the Maunawili Elementary School in Olomana. The initial membership consisted of some eight families and quickly grew to 25. The name “Emmanuel Episcopal Church” was chosen and approved by Bishop Kennedy.


In early 1961, Mr. Kodama, the proprietor of the old store on the church property, was persuaded to move and leave the structure intact, in exchange for some building materials he needed to construct a garage in Waimanalo. The church then moved into the store building, initiating a period of great “spirit” and activity as the question of whether things would hold together another week was always present.


Early in 1963, it was thought that perhaps the site at Waimanalo Junction was not, after all, a very good one for Emmanuel. Factors considered were the proximity of so many other churches, the new highway construction and the expected increase in noise level, and the fact that the Enchanted Lake area was opening up and the greatest population growth would most likely be in that area, which had as yet no church. By June of that year, the land at Waimanalo Junction was sold and the present site on Keolu Drive was bought. Altogether funding totaled $100,776.58 of which $51,775.00 went to acquire the land, leaving $49,001.58 to build the new parish hall/church.


With suggestions from the Bishop and modifications to fit the site, plans for the new building were completed and it was constructed on the Waimanalo side of the property, being finished in late 1963 and dedicated by Bishop Kennedy in January of 1964.


Also in 1964 Emmanuel’s Day Care Center moved from dream, to plan, to going concern, under the leadership of two lay women of Emmanuel.


In 1974, the value of the properties (vicarage in Maunawili and Church House in Enchanted Lake) held by Emmanuel had appreciated greatly. Under the leader ship of the Rev William Collins, our vicar at the time, the idea of building the church was proposed, a building committee set up and the process begun. Plans were shared with, and approved by, the congregation at every step and by the end of the year, they were ready to be put into effect. Financing was chiefly from the sale of the properties.


In January 1975, Bishop Hanchett broke ground for the new building in a ceremony remembered by many for its poignancy, the Bishop having recently undergone cancer surgery. Bishop Hanchett died in August of that year before completion of the building, which was achieved in time for Christmas. The first service in the new church was the Christmas Eve midnight celebration.


(This concludes the portion of our history written by the Rev. Dr. Eleanore Akina, we now move on to the next 25 years, written by Ms. Nancy Janczyk and Mr. Bob Merriam.)


So we will now pick up the threads given to us and continue to bring the story up to date.  We will start with the Leadership of the Diocesan Bishop.


Leadership in the Diocese of Hawaii

Changes in the Diocese and in the clergy responsible for Emmanuel Church are as certain as the sun and moon. Bishop Browning left the Diocese of Hawaii not long after his consecration of our sanctuary in 1985. He had been chosen to be the Presiding Bishop, the chief administrative officer of the entire Protestant Episcopal Church in the U.S. A. We regretted his leaving but rejoiced at this recognition of his ability and wished him, and his wife Patti, the best in their new endeavors. A special Diocesan convention then elected George Hart who was ordained and served as Diocesan Bishop beginning in 1986. His first visit to Emmanuel was in 1987, and is remembered by a baseball game at the Lanikai Community Park. He resigned in 1994. Following a difficult time in which Bishop George Hunt served a period as Acting Bishop, the Diocese elected a Priest from Hawaii, The Rev. Richard S. O. Chang. He was ordained in January 1997 as the new Diocesan Bishop and retired in 2006. He was succeeded by The Rev. Robert L. Fitzpatrick, who had served at Bishop Chang's right hand as Canon to the Ordinary. Upon ordination, he became, and remains, The Rt. Rev. Robert Fitzpatrick, Fifth Bishop of the Diocese of Hawaii and Eleventh Bishop in The Hawaiian Islands.


Church Leadership at Emmanuel, The Vicars:

We left the first half of this adventure with the Rev. Jack Shoemaker as our Vicar in a part-time position while maintaining his regular job as the Chaplain at Punahou School. During periods of Jack’s absence several members of the clergy substituted for him, especially Brian Nurding and Walt Harris. When Jack retired from both of his positions in 1992, he and Roxanne moved to Oregon.


Emmanuel went through the usual search process under the much appreciated guidance of the Rev. Norio Sasaki as Interim Vicar. We found a new Vicar in our own backyard here in Kailua. The Rev. Peter Van Horne, who had recently served as Administrative Assistant to Bishop Hart, expressed an interest in the position and was recommended to Bishop Chang by the selection committee. He and his wife Beverly (now the Rev. Beverly Van Horne) brought additional family and friends to our congregation.


When Peter Van Horne decided in 2001 that his time in Hawaii was over, and left for a congregation in Missouri, another search process was instituted. In this case, Bishop Chang had a priest on hand, looking for a position. The Rev. Peter Champion was appointed Priest-in-Charge of Emmanuel. Peter's wife, the Rev. Susan Champion, had earlier been chosen as the Chaplain for the Queen Emma Priory School. Several months later it was decided to recommend to Bishop Fitzpatrick that he appoint Peter Champion as Vicar.


Following the return of Peter and Susan to California in November 2006 we spent considerable time with visiting clergy, most notably the self-proclaimed ‘Lutherpalian’ Pastor and friend, the Rev. Bruce Craft, retired Pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Kailua.  Meanwhile, Bishop Fitzpatrick provided us with the opportunity to consider two male Priests whom had applied for the opening at Emmanuel. After a visitation from each, the congregation decided that neither was appropriate for Emmanuel. Then the Bishop offered the name of The Rev. Kate Lewis and we asked that he invite her to come for a visit. Kate wanted to come to Emmanuel. She had grown up in Kailua, attending school here through grade 10. Kate was obviously the choice of the congregation and the Bishop's Committee, acting as the search committee, recommended to Bishop Fitzpatrick that she be offered the position of Vicar. Kate served us at Emmanuel until March 2011.


The Deacons:

As told earlier by herself, the Rev. Dr. Eleanore Akina was in the first class of Deacons which included women, ordained in Hawaii.  Her leadership in that role at Emmanuel lasted nearly to the end of our First Fifty. During that time another member of Emmanuel, Pat Reynolds, was ordained Deacon and now, as The Venerable Pat Reynolds, serves as Archdeacon of the Diocese. She has largely served her ecclesiastical responsibilities in other locations, rather than at Emmanuel.


Other Priests who have left their mark on Emmanuel:

Before we leave this time period, we must mention the Rev. Justin Van Lopik. He retired from regular duties as a priest in Northern California and, with his sister and mother moved to Hawaii and settled in Kailua with Emmanuel as their home parish. Ultimately his mother, Alice was one of the first occupants of our Columbarium. Justin often officiated at the 5:30 pm Sunday Service until that ‘duty’ was taken on by the Rev. Gerald Gifford.  At this time Justin Van Lopik is the only Priest inurned in the Columbarium at Emmanuel.


The Clergy of Emmanuel:

The Rev. Iver J. Torgeson, 1960-1962

The Rev. Norman Ault, 1962-1964

The Rev. Guy Piltz, 1963-1964

The Rev. Del Westling, 1964-1966

The Rev. Fred Barnhill, 1966-1971

The Rev. Malcolm Turnbull, 1971-1973

The Rev. William Collins, 1973-1976

The Rev. Elsbery W. Reynolds, 1977-1981

The Rev. John G. Shoemaker, 1981-1992

The Rev. Eleanore G. Akina, 1983-2008 (Deacon)

The Rev. A. Patricia (Leo) Reynolds, 1985-2000 (Deacon)

The Rev. Peter Van Horne, 1994-2001

The Rev. Peter O. Champion, 2001-2006

The Rev. Katherine A. Lewis, 2008-2011

The Rev. Clayton Ingalls, 2011 (Shared With Calvary Episcopal Church)

The Rev. Carol Arney, 2012-2014 (Windward Shared Clergy Team)

The Rev. Matthew Lukens, 2015-2016

The Rev. Christopher P.J. Golding, 2017-2018

The Rev. Annalise Castro Pasalo, 2019-present


Raising Up New Leaders:

Emmanuel has had an influence in church life well beyond her boarders. A young parishioner by the name of Lynette Gulderman was a Sunday School teacher at Emmanuel who became interested in studying at Church Divinity School of the Pacific (CDSP) with the original intent of specializing in pastoral services in the arena of senior care. Her goal was enthusiastically supported by our congregation, although it was not supported by the leadership of the Diocese. As a result of her theological education, Lynette became more aware of the opportunities for service well beyond adult care. She went on to qualify for the priesthood and was ordained by Bishop Browning as the first female Priest in Hawaii. She married Scott Schaefer and has served in the Diocese as the vicar of Christ Church, Molokai for over 25 years. She retired in April 2010.


A second member of Emmanuel, but one who went elsewhere to continue his church work, was Richard Ward.  Rick, himself a member, was also the son-in-law of regular members of Emmanuel, Evelyn and Ernie Reeves.  Rick and his wife Donna wound up their ministry in the Diocese of Spokane in 2009.


Other Events of Note:

The Kneelers  -  When Burnham H. (Hod) and wife Jackie Greeley came back to Emmanuel (they had been members in the early 1960s and Jackie was our first organist), Jackie recognized that kneeling on the newly installed natural tile altar floor was going to be a physical problem as our congregation continued to age. More importantly they did something about it. With a major effort of time and talent, Jackie designed the kneelers, prepared the materials and organized others in the congregation to complete the kneelers we now enjoy. Please see the separate scrapbook that Hod prepared. This story can be short here because of Hod’s scrapbook.


The Pre-school and Daycare Center  -  Economic and regulatory conditions at the end of 2009 resulted in the transfer of the financial and managerial operation of the school to a major Oahu-based multi-campus organization on January 1, 2010. The school is now officially rented out to The Cole Academy at Emmanuel. It is encouraging to know that the tuition in effect at the time of the transfer will remain the same for the duration of a child’s participation. The Cole Academy and Emmanuel share in a scholarship program which permits this arrangement.


All in all, we carry on spreading the good news of Christ in hundreds of small and large ways every day and we expect to continue on for at least another fifty years.


History compiled by The Rev Dr. Eleanore Akina, Ms. Nancy Janczyk, and Mr. Robert Merriam.  

1985  25th Anniversary History Book click here

2010  50th Anniversary History Book click here