The Bishop’s Reflection on a Volcano and a Flood, May 9, 2018

Na ke aloha o ke Akua ma loko o Iesu Kristo, e aloha iā ʻoukou ā pau!

Years ago, when my family and I moved to Hawaiʻi, a very wise person told me: “In the Islands, you are close to heaven with newly formed mountains above, near to hell with the volcano beneath your feet, and set in the womb of creation (the ocean and the winds) teeming all around you, so you have to trust in God.”

These past few weeks have been about trusting in God. How do you explain the shattering of a national rain fall record in one corner of the island of Kauaiʻi? In the broad area of the Big Island, the fissures opened in a relatively isolated subdivision destroying homes and changing lives forever. Why there?

In Hawaiʻi, we respect nature. Living in the middle of the Ocean, we always know that human life is fragile and set in a much larger reality – physical and spiritual. I am reminded of the words of a great teacher, Archbishop Winston Halapua of Polynesia in his book Waves of God’s Embrace: Sacred Perspectives from the Ocean (Canterbury Press, 2008, page 46):

The lives of ancient Oceanic people were shaped by perseverance, discoveries, excitement, huge hardship and achievement and failures in their endeavors. Life in this new context was very much shaped by and nurtured by the Oceanic world. The core of this is emerging, transforming belief and culture was their perception of the interconnectedness of the gods, the environment and life on board the vaka [double hulled voyaging canoe]. The sense of interconnectedness contributed powerfully to the formation and development of their settlement into their new environment in newly found islands. Life was about relating to fellow voyagers, to moana [the ocean] and to the sky and gods.

So, now, in a time when answers do not come easily, we to turn to God and we care for others. We are all voyagers on the holy vaka of life. We need one another. In the future, some will rebuild and others will have move to new homes. For now, we help as we can.

On the Big Island, the people and priest (the Rev. Katlin McCallister) of Holy Apostles Church, Hilo, have stepped right up. They are caring for parishioners with homes in the impacted area and for others. They are deeply involved in the community. I encourage congregations and individuals to send donations to:

The Church of the Holy Apostles
Attn: Kīlauea Relief Fund
1407 Kapi‘olani Street
Hilo, Hawai‘i 96720

As I wrote earlier, I encourage congregations to take collections and for individuals to make donations for those impacted by the Kauaʻi flooding sending the funds directly to Christ Memorial Episcopal Church at:

Christ Memorial Episcopal Church
Attn: Flood Response Fund
P O Box 293
Kilauea, HI 96754

We are called to help. We are also called to pray.

Compassionate God, Draw near to us in times of sorrow and anguish, strengthen those who are weary, encourage those in despair, lead us all to fullness of life, and make us into your community of love; through the same Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen

Aloha ma o Iesu Kristo, ko mākou Haku,


The Right Reverend Robert L. Fitzpatrick
Bishop Diocesan
The Episcopal Diocese of Hawai’i