As we travelled we came near a very great hill, called Pendle Hill, and I was moved of the Lord to go up to the top of it; which I did with difficulty, it was so very steep and high. When I was come to the top, I saw the sea bordering upon Lancashire. From the top of this hill the Lord let me see in what places he had a great people to be gathered. As I went down, I found a spring of water in the side of the hill, with which I refreshed myself, having eaten or drunk but little for several days before.
Early this coming July it will be one year since a handful of Quakers on the east side of Hawaii Island decided to gather on a regular basis for unprogrammed worship, known as the Keaau Friends (Quaker) Worship Group. From the beginning we chose to be independent of any Monthly Meeting to avoid rancor, rent meeting space that would both offer shelter from the rain and welcome the public, and to advertise as funds allowed. We started off gathering once a month and soon increased this to twice a month, on the 3rd and 4th Sundays. On 5th Sundays we frequently gather at our home in Hawaii Paradise Park. Our hope is to eventually meet weekly. Since we have started we have received a number of visitors who either want to attend Meeting again after a long absence or want to know more about Quaker worship and values. Attendance has been good, with a core group of ten to twelve people. With more frequent visitors our numbers seem to be increasing. We have been active in the local community, giving voice to our Testimonies on equality and peace in particular.
I recognize that at first not all Friends on the island were pleased with the change in the status quo. In theory Big Island Monthly Meeting has a system of rotation around the island; functionally though this hasn’t worked for the last few years, due mostly to great distances. We did not ask permission from the local Monthly Meeting to form a Worship Group. Some Friends may have seen this as a desire to separate from a recognized body and therefore out of order. The Keaau Worship Group however remains in fellowship with all Friends on this island and we encourage intervisitation as Friends are able.
I invite Friends on this one year anniversary to reflect and dialog about our vision for the future of the Keaau Worship Group. Where are we Called to be active as Friends? How can we be a voice for peace and justice in a troubled world? Has the time come to start thinking about meeting on a weekly basis? I leave the answers to these questions up to the movement of the Spirit among us. All I know is that there is still a great people to be gathered and God’s work on this island isn’t finished.