My Favorite Maui Churches

I shared some of these photos in other posts about our (almost) Month in Maui, but I wanted to list them this way as well- so they are easier to see. I am not a deeply religious person. I consider myself a Buddhist, but even so I hesitate to identify as anything… but I have always loved churches. Churches are so much more than just houses of god. Community centers, Places of joy (marriages, baptisms), Places of loss and grieving (funerals), gathering places, sanctuary, charity… and almost always glorious architecture. Here are some of my favorite churches in Maui, in no particular order…

Kahakuloa Church. Kahakuloa was founded in 1887 and has a current population of around 140. The road to Kahakuloa is long and winding, and this village is pretty isolated. There are no services (gas) but a few places to stop for snacks and drinks (there is a gallery not far up the road from the church, and in Kahakuloa there are several fruit stands, banana bread, and even smoothies. These are all, however- dependent on the day and time. Be prepared before heading out this way. The church is in disrepair but efforts are underway to save this historic building. Please be wise, do not enter the church. The grounds can be respectfully toured without further risking the buildings integrity.

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Keawala’i Church, Makena. Easy to find and ample parking (in front and just down the street a touch in a beach access parking lot), Keawala’i Church is maybe my favorite if I had to pick. The surf crashes ashore just on the other side of a low stone wall, the Plumeria trees snow beautiful fragrant leaves and blossoms onto the graves old and new, and the church is nothing fancy- it just is. Read about the history of the church here:

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Holy Ghost Catholic Church – Kula. Built in 1895, On April 29, 1983, it was placed on the Hawaii Register of Historic Places and on August 18, 1983 the National Register of Historic Places. The architecture is super interesting and the grounds are pretty. From the church parking lot you have a bi-coastal view of Maui. 

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Makawao Union Church, Paia, Built in 1916 – Built on the foundation of the former Paliuli Sugar Mill near what is now called Rainbow Gulch and Rainbow County Park, the stone church is a sight to behold. 

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Holy Rosary Parish, PaiaThe beginnings of Holy Rosary Church may be traced to the current site of a Catholic cemetery in Kuau. In 1886, Father James Beissel built the church on 15 acres donated by a Native Hawaiian named Keakome, according to the book “Pioneers of Faith.” It could seat about 350 people and was built to serve the Portuguese immigrants in Hamakuapoko and surrounding areas. Father Jules Verhaeghe led the beginning of construction in 1926; the Gothic-style church was blessed a year later by the Most. Rev. Stephen Peter Alencastre, then bishop of the diocese.

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Lahaina Jodo Mission, Lahaina Hawaii – The Lahaina Jodo Mission was founded in 1912 with the support of many Japanese immigrants then working in the sugar and pineapple plantations. After the original temple was destroyed in a fire in 1968, the members of the Mission decided to build a Japanese style Buddhist temple on the beachfront property that provided an idyllic setting. The temple is located on Puunoa Point in Lahaina, the first capital of the Hawaiian Islands, and overlooks the beauty and serenity of three neighboring islands Molokai, Lanai, and Kahoolawe and the West Maui mountains.

The Great Buddha and the Temple Bell were completed in June 1968 to commemorate the Centennial Anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants to arrive in Hawaii. In 1970, the main Temple and Pagoda were built with the generous and wholehearted support of the members of the Mission as well as the general public. Masao Omori, a Japanese philanthropist, donated the expertise of Japanese craftsmen that was necessary for the construction of the buildings and the casting of the Buddha.

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