The Migration of My Family to Hawaii and San Francisco
In 1789, a small handful of Chinese settled in the Hawaiian kingdom. The major migration took place with the importation of labor to cultivate and harvest Hawaii’s sugar fields in the 1860s. In 1871, the Imperial claimant and Emperor-designate settled in Hawaii in quiet seclusion. Other family members later settled in California.
The Beginnings of the Christian Faith in Hawaii’s Chinese Community
The Founding of the Chinese Christian Church of Honolulu in 1876 came about when twenty-eight Chinese Christians, including five women, who had been converted by the Basel Missionaries in China (1847), arrived from South China.
Nineteen of those called on the Reverend Samuel Damon to assist them in their Christian nurture. They would later start a small night school at the Bethel Union Church (Central Union Church) with Samuel P. Aheong teaching bible study classes, preaching and doing evangelical work in the Chinese community islandwide. From this group of Chinese people came Chinese people who wanted to form their own church and they chose the Congregational faith.
Fort Street Chinese Church (1879-1926) was started by this group of Chinese people with Dr. Samuel Damon as the co-founder and with a Chinese man by the name of Sit Moon, a Presbyterian, as their first Pastor. Mr Goo Kim being one of the original founders. Mrs. Elijah MacKenzie should, also, be remembered because of her evangelical work in getting the Chinese community to come to church and worship.
Later, a number of Chinese branched off to form the second Chinese Congregational Church of Honolulu, which later moved to Judd Street in Nu’uanu to later become the United Church of Christ at Judd Street. The Chinese Congregational Church lasted from 1915-1947.
In 1948, the congregation (my family at that time) made a decision to embraced United Church of Christ’s faith and the congregation became known as the United Church of Christ at Judd Street with Harold Chow as their head pastor.
The Fort Street Chinese Church sold its property in 1926 and relocated to its present location at 1054 South King Street and was known as the First Chinese Church of Christ with Pastor Charles Kwock as its head pastor.
My Family’s Church affiliations in America (1876-2008):
Chinese Christian Church of Honolulu in 1876
Fort Street Chinese Church 1879-1914
Chinese Congregational Church 1915-1947
United Church of Christ at Judd Street 1948-1992
United Methodist Church 1959-2008