Waialua Church Honored For Its Four Acres Of Blessings

Alana Folen
Wednesday - December 03, 2008
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Waialua United Church of Christ is well-known for its beautiful church grounds which have become a symbol of welcome to member families and passersby. But its time and laborious efforts is paying off in other ways as well, as the church recently won a coveted 2008 Betty Crocker Landscape Award of Honor.

“We were elated; it was a big honor for us,” said Lurline Matsumoto, a member who has extended her landscaping services to the church for seven years.“The fruits of our labor earned this award. It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s a joy to keep it neat and trimmed. It’s good exercise.”

“We were very surprised,“added longtime member Doric Little, who nominated WUCC for the award.“It’s an affirmation of all the hard work that went and continues to go into it.”

You can see for yourself at 67-174 Farrington Hwy.

The groundbreaking for the renovated church building began in 1987, and the landscaping project started soon after. Gifted hands and equipment donations from Waialua Sugar Company helped to turn the former cane fields into a luxurious four acres of hybrid hibiscus, specialty mangoes, bougainvillea, monkeypod trees, royal palm seedlings, colorful ti-leaf plants, and a variety of flowers and tropical plants.

Since then, project volunteers have decreased in number. But instead of accepting a $1,000 bid for monthly maintenance and cleaning, the church chose to form the Creation Stewards Ministry. The ministry, consisting of Matsumoto, her husband Mits and close to eight others, now meets every Tuesday to tend to the church grounds.

“We work from 9 a.m. to noon,” Matsumoto explained.“The women do the raking, and the men do the trimming and the hand mowing. There are a lot of fruit trees that need trimming - it’s almost like a botanical garden.”

For many of the retirees, working in the garden is a great way to stay healthy and active, but Matsumoto said it serves a higher purpose. “It’s a good time for fellowship, we look forward to it. All of our work is for the Lord and his glory, and we appreciate all the strength that God gives us.”

Little added, “Our church is unique because its members care about each other, the church grounds and its beauty. The members are good Christians, so if there’s a need, we respond,” she said.

The Betty Crocker Awards ceremony is hosted by Scenic Hawaii, an organization that promotes and carries out programs to protect Hawaii’s natural environment and beauty. The annual program recognizes those who work tirelessly to make Hawaii a more beautiful place.

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