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83: Trinity-by-the-Sea, Kihei, Maui, Hawaii
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Trinity-By-The-Sea, Kihei, Maui, Hawaii
Mystery Worshipper: Al Eluia.
The church: Trinity-by-the-Sea, Kihei, Maui, Hawaii.
Denomination: Episcopal.
The building: The congregation worships outdoors, in the stone ruins of Kilolani Congregational Church, which was built in 1852 by David Malo, the first native Hawaiian ordained to Christian ministry. A stone wall about two to three feet high surrounds the worship area, which is in turn surrounded by palm trees.
The neighbourhood: Kihei's main street, Kihei Road, runs near the beach and is dominated by resort hotels. The church is up from Kihei Road in a residential area.
The cast: Rev Morley E. Frech, Jr., Rector.
What was the name of the service?
Holy Eucharist.

How full was the building?
There were about 40 people present. I'd guess the church will hold 120 or so.

Did anyone welcome you personally?
Yes. A greeter directed us to a kiosk where we got our books and put on name tags.

Was your pew comfortable?
The all-weather plastic pews were surprisingly comfortable.

How would you describe the pre-service atmosphere?
Quietly chatty, friendly. It was a warm, sunny morning and the palm tree swayed gently in the breeze.

What were the exact opening words of the service?
There was a call to worship consisting of someone blowing three times on a conch shell. Then the celebrant said, "Let us join together in singing hymn number 18 in our song book."

What books did the congregation use during the service?
The Book of Common Prayer; the parish hymn book, entitled, Na Mele O Kahikolu ("The Songs of Trinity"); and a Sunday bulletin.

What musical instruments were played?
Electronic keyboard, conch shell.

Did anything distract you?
Only a few small flies, which kept landing on my arms.

Was the worship stiff-upper-lip, happy clappy, or what?
Relaxedly low church. The parish hymnal has a contemporary emphasis. The sound of 40 Episcopalians singing outdoors doesn't carry very well.

Trinity-By-The-Sea, Kihei, Maui, Hawaii

Exactly how long was the sermon?
10 minutes.

On a scale of 1-10, how good was the preacher?
9 (as short sermons go). He set forth the message of the gospel in a clear, concise and challenging way.

In a nutshell, what was the sermon about?
Relying on God. Jesus emptied himself and calls us to do the same, to rely on God (to be his poor little ones), to simplify, clarify, and rectify all in our lives that is not Christ. Jesus shares our burden, though, and lightens the load.

Which part of the service was like being in heaven?
Worshipping outdoors in a beautiful tropical setting. When we sang the Sanctus, I really believed the words, "Heaven and earth are full of your glory!"

And which part was like being in... er... the other place?
Nothing, but here let me editorialize on patriotic observations in church: I don't like them. We're there to worship God the Father, not Uncle Sam. Thankfully, Episcopalians don't go overboard with this as some evangelical churches do. This particular Sunday was the 4th of July, and after the offertory the acolyte presented the American flag while we sang two verses of "My Country 'Tis of Thee" (not the most nationalistic of our national songs). This was fine as such things go.

What happened when you hung around after the service looking lost?
I didn't get to – the couple in front struck up a conversation with us. They had just moved from Seattle, which is where we live.

How would you describe the after-service coffee?
No coffee, but there was pineapple juice.

How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
If I lived on Maui? 10!

Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?

What one thing will you remember about all this in seven days' time?
Worshipping in the sunshine.

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