Historic Mokuaikaua Church lands another big donation

  • Named one of America’s 11th Most Endangered Historic Sites, Mokauikaua Church launched its capital campaign earlier this year. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

KAILUA-KONA — Mokuaikaua Church in Kailua Village, Hawaii’s first Christian church, received a matching gift of $450,000 from a Canadian donor, Alan Quesnel. The challenge gift is intended to galvanize interest in and financial support for the “Campaign of Spiritual Renewal” to raise funds to protect the state- and nationally recognized historic treasure, the church announced in a press release Wednesday.

Named one of America’s 11th Most Endangered Historic Sites, Mokuaikaua Church launched its capital campaign in recent years. With a minimum goal of $3.4 million, the campaign will allow the church to address critical preservation work.

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“I am a fellow Christian who happens to live in Canada without any affiliation to Mokuaikaua Church other than having visited it while I was on vacation in Hawaii a few months ago,” said Quesnel. “After listening to a sermon one Sunday afternoon, I researched the church’s heritage and felt compelled to get involved in its preservation. My hope is that this gift will inspire others to do what is necessary to save this beautiful church for the Hawaiian people for many generations to come.”

Founded in 1820 by the Rev. Asa Thurston with the support of Royal Governor Kuakini, the church represents the cultural heritage of the Hawaiian people and the birthplace of Christianity in Hawaii.

Built in 1837, Mokuaikaua Church’s stone structure is anchored with massive cornerstones repurposed from ancient heiau on land provided by Kamehameha II. The oldest post-contact building on Hawaii Island also features lime and coral mortared walls and ohia post and beams.

Phase one of the preservation is set to begin later this year.

The work will strengthen the structural system to reduces stresses in the original stone masonry walls; install steel beams for stability; replace damaged ohia posts and beams damaged; conserve plaster walls; replace electrical wiring; and preserve the iconic steeple designed by Honolulu architect Charles W. Dickey.

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“We’re extremely grateful to Mr. Quesnel for this generous gift,” said Rev. David deCarvalho, senior pastor. “It is really heartening to hear how Mokuaikaua was able to make an indelible impression on him and his family during a visit to Hawaii and we look forward to continuing the relationship.”

Info: (808) 329-0655 or visit www.Mokuaikaua.com.

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