Dear Friends,

During my trip back to Hawaii, Marlou and I joined with other members of the family and went to worship at Aldersgate UMC, just west of downtown Honolulu. It was the church I grew up in. I was pleasantly surprised to see how some things had changed, but yet how some things remained the same.

The changes included a whole new audio-visual system – two projection screens mounted on the front wall of the chancel, like ours at Torrance First except bigger; of course the projection machines that go with it; and a new sound system with excellent microphones and speakers. A power point was used for the sermon and thematic pictures displayed, which that day centered around the topic of spiritual ‘vital signs.’

Just recently, I missed their centennial celebration. One of the results of the event was the creation of a museum on the campus, but I wasn’t able to visit it because my family was in such a hurry to leave. One surprise was to be presented with a plaque that was supposed to have been given during that celebration. I’m the third pastor to come out of that church, and a fourth is in training.

They also removed two side walls and added pews which sit perpendicular to the regular rows of pews. It added a different and intimate feel in the sanctuary. All in all, they had some really nice changes.

What remained the same was the church’s aloha spirit – the warmth and welcome, the sense of family, and a very loving atmosphere. Pastor Cruz was very gracious and appeared to be doing a fine job of nurturing the congregation, which had many young families.

It is great to be part of a connectional church that has had a storied history, but also marches on with time and strives to maintain a vibrancy and vitality. My home church feels very much like Torrance First, except that we have three services, a plethora of activities and ministries, and a bigger campus. We are more diverse, but we have the same aloha spirit. Pastor Cruz’ basis for vital signs were from Acts 2:42 –

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and prayers.

I would say that our vital signs are alive and well.

— Pastor Bob