Halawa Church Has Collapsed

Photo by Laa Poepoe

Portions of the iconic lerusalema Hou Church in Halawa Valley fell to the ground last week after sitting vacant since 2015. Tucked into the lush valley, the church was built in 1948 and at more than 70 years old, it had fallen into disrepair. The church’s Kahu Reynolds Ayau said in 2015 that the church was closing its doors for services because “dry rot and termites have made it a total hazard.”

Pilipo Solatorio of Halawa said he recalls helping to build the church when he was a kid. His grandparents, along with other families, worked to erect the structure and it had seen many services, celebrations and community losses in its 70 years.

Ayau said when it was built, it was actually on someone else’s land, though they didn’t know it at the time. When members tried to make repairs to the church in recent years, they realized they had to first locate the land owner. According to a Hawaii News Now report in 2015, the land owner offered to give the church the land, but it required Maui County to approve a subdivision.

“That was over three years ago and we are still waiting for the County of Maui to approve the necessary subdivision,” Ayau told the Dispatch in 2015. The Dispatch was not able to contact the County before press deadline for an update.

“My members’ grandparents started this church after the 1946 tidal wave hit the valley,” recalled Ayau in 2015. “It was dedicated on Oct. 31, 1948. There are so many memories, weddings, funerals, blessings, baptisms and rallies. We probably could have gone another 68 years without their [Maui County] rules and regulations.  There aren’t too many churches in Hawaii where 95 percent of the members drive 27 3/4 miles to worship the Lord.”

Now that the church roof and steeple have collapsed, it’s unclear what will happen to it.

The Molokai Dispatch will provide updates if available.


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