Haili Congregational Church

Hilo Hawai'i

"Proclaiming Jesus Christ to Hawai'i and the World"

Haili Church & Mission House in 1849

Redrawn from a sketch by W.D. Alexander by S. Hironaka - 1928

History of Haili Church


The working of God can be documented in the early history of Haili Congregational Church.  First, God used the zeal of Henry Opukahaia, the first Hawaiian convert to Christianity, to inspire New England missionaries to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to his native land.  Secondly, six months prior to the arrival of the first missionaries at Kailua-Kona King Kamehameha II (Liholiho) broke the kapu system of pagan worship.  Thirdly, with the spiritual vacuum created by the loss of the kapu system, the response to the Gospel was tremendous on the eastern side of the Big Island, especially through the preaching of Rev. Titus Coan, one of the missionaries of the early Hilo Mission.


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ʻŌpūkahaʻia – The Inspiration for the Hawaiian Mission


In 1808, a young Hawaiian boy, ʻŌpūkahaʻia, swam out to the ‘Triumph’, a trading ship anchored in Kealakekua Bay.  Both of ʻŌpūkahaʻia’s parents and his younger brother had been slain during the battles on the island.


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Letters from the Aliʻi


Excerpt: Practically every vessel that visited the North Pacific in the closing years of the 18th century stopped at Hawai‘i for provisions and recreation; then, the opening years of the 19th saw the sandalwood business became a recognized branch of trade. Sandalwood, geography and fresh provisions made the Islands a vital link in a closely articulated trade route between Boston, the Northwest Coast and Canton, China.  At the same time, the Hawaiian demand for American goods was rapidly increasing, owing to the improved standards of living.


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211 Haili Street

Hilo, Hawai'i 96720


Telephone/Fax: 808-935-4847

Email: office@hailichurch.org


144 Desha Avenue

Hilo, Hawai'i 96720