West Oahu Church Welcomes New Vicar
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Kapolei residents may have noticed a new kid on the block over the past few months. He sports tattoos, an earring and rides a pretty mean Kawasaki Volcan 900.
Rev. Paul Klitzke will be formally introduced to the West Oahu community this Sunday as the Episcopal Diocese of Hawaii installs its newest - and youngest - vicar at St. Nicholas Episcopal Church’s 10 a.m. service. All are invited to attend.
“It’s funny for me because I became a priest at 25, and everywhere I go I’m still the youngest one,” said Klitzke, now 30, who moved to Oahu from Wasilla, Alaska, earlier this year. Wife Sarah, son Noah and daughter Emma joined him in May.
“I wasn’t looking for a call in Hawaii,” he added, “but the church here is very exciting to me.”
Klitzke had been serving in multiple ministries in Alaska since 2005. Last year he began feeling the strain of wearing so many hats and started looking for a full-time call.
“I loved doing what I was doing there, but it was also very taxing for us - serving multiple sets of goals, working a lot of hours,” he said.
A national search on the Internet answered his prayers, so to speak. “We were considering all kinds of options, and St. Nicholas really just leapt off the page.”
So far the Klitzke ohana has adjusted well to life in the Islands. Klitzke said his clan loves the beach and Kapolei Library, and he recently enrolled in karate with Noah. The sunny weather also enabled the priest to take his motorcycle on its maiden voyage.
“It was here when I got down here on March 15,” he said of the birthday gift that had been sitting idle in his garage since November. “It’s gotten a lot of use since then, put on a couple thousand miles.”
He also has been putting in many hours getting to know the lay of the church and the people who frequent it.
“When you first get somewhere, you spend a lot of time getting to know the people and the area, and once you get a sense of the different gifts of the people that are gathered, you can really run with it.”
Some new activities already planned for later this year - per request of church members - are a chili cookoff and Blessing of the Bikes ceremony.
“There are lots of opportunities not just to build on what they’re already doing at the church,” Klitzke said, “but to also make some new ties to the community that’s around us as well.”
St. Nicholas serves the communities of Kapolei, Makakilo, Ewa Beach, Waipahu and Royal Kunia. It meets at Island Pacific Academy, 909 Haumea St. in Kapolei. Call 753-7788 or visit stnickschurch.org to learn more.
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