An Inspirational HIM Gathering
Wednesday - April 05, 2006
The Honolulu Convention Center was abuzz with excitement the afternoon of March 23. An absolute cross section of humanity poured in from the rainy day, filling the escalators and hallways, and the open-air lobby fronting the ballroom. Well over 4,000 people of all ages - including hundreds of teenagers on spring break - anticipated the opening session of the 18th annual Conference of Hawaiian Island Ministries (HIM).
Founded by Dan Chun, pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Honolulu, and his wife, Pam, and supported by nearly 50 Hawaii Christian churches and foundations, HIM brings in dozens of spiritual leaders and speakers from around the Islands and the Mainland each year. Beginning in 1987 with an attendance of 420 at Central Union Church, each annual conference has become a celebration of Christian faith, the continuity of each guided by a specific theme: “Run and Not Grow Weary,” “Here I Am,” “Walk on Water” to name a few, and this year’s “Give God Glory (G3!).”
Each of the five general sessions over three days began with prayer and a huge sing-along, ranging from traditional hymns to more contemporary “worship music” led by the youth with hands clapping to a rock beat. General session speakers carried the theme: “G3 in all we do!,” “G3 When Relating to Others,” “G3 In Compassion,” “G3 in Worship,” “G3 In Forgiving Others.”
Nearly 100 breakout sessions covered all aspects of Christian living from “The Private Life of the American Young Person” to “Bible Centered Leadership” to “The Church in China Today,” and most concluded in prayer. The “Youth Track” featured separate sessions for junior and senior high schoolers and included a rock concert and a “Late Night Cafe,” both with rave reviews.
An expo featured nearly 50 booths offering a variety of short- and long-term mission opportunities (“Surfing Missions” throughout the Pacific gave out dog tags stamped with the prayer “Lord, send me to the sur-fable nations that hate you!”). Other booths represented Christian colleges and Prison Ministries, or raised funds selling T-shirts with spiritual messages. And it could be said of the expo that networking was rampant.
A further bonus for me was to experience our Convention Center for the first time as a “consumer.” I have spoken to various conferences there, but had never actually been a participant. I found it to be clean and convenient, with many quiet, out-ofthe-way nooks for coffee and conversation, for studying my convention program, planning my schedule, and for reflection upon what I had just experienced. The architecture, murals and other art (including a wonderful collection of Jean Charlot’s work in its own courtyard) does indeed impart that “Hawaiian sense of place” for which we should always strive. Having experienced the convention centers of dozens of cities across the Mainland, I’m pleased to say we of Hawaii can be very proud of our convention facility and its service staff. It is second to none!
Hawaiian Island Ministries (HIM) 2007 will be convened March 29-31, and info is available at<
www.himonline.org> It will have its own new theme, of course, but like every succeeding HIM, it will be hard to top this last one, for indeed, “G3”: God was Given Glory!
Correction and Comment: My last two columns quoting and paraphrasing the speech “A View from the Eye of the Storm” by Haim Harari elicited considerable e-mail feedback and letters to the editor. Indeed, one astute reader caught me in a whopper: I wrote, “Iran and Syria are now surrounded by the nascent democracies of Iraq and Afghanistan, while along with a more progressive Libya, constitute 50 percent of the Muslim world; a realignment inconceivable barely five years ago.” What I meant to say was, “... 50 percent of the Muslim Middle East (from Pakistan to Morocco) ...”
Another reader vociferously challenged the term “Islamofascist,” asserting fascism could only exist in “military-industrial” societies (implying Muslim societies weren’t, thereby supporting Harari’s thesis). Webster defines fascism as “a system of government characterized by dictatorship, belligerent nationalism, racism, militarism, etc.” Clearly, the shoe fits. Frank Gaffney, in his new book, War Footing: Ten Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World, says, “This is a fight to the death with Islamofascists, Muslim extremists driven by a totalitarian political ideology that, like Nazism or Communism before it, is determined to destroy freedom and the people who love it.”
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