Interfaith Alliance of Hawai’i

Interfaith Alliance of Hawai’i

The Interfaith Alliance Hawai‘i plays a positive and healing role in Hawai‘i with people of faith, good will, and aloha, encouraging nonviolent civic participation, facilitating community activism, and challenging religious and political extremism.

Providing a positive, healing role in Hawai’i with people of faith, goodwill, and aloha.

About the Interfaith Alliance of Hawai’i

Working for Religious and Spiritual Freedom in Hawai‘i

As the successor to the Hawai‘i Council of Churches that was founded in 1927, The Interfaith Alliance Hawai‘i represents a wide range of spiritual and faith traditions. It is active in seeking social justice for all people in Hawai‘i.

Building a Coalition of Faith Traditions

The Interfaith Alliance of Hawai’i is a chapter of the Interfaith Alliance, a national organization that represents over 70 spiritual and religious faith traditions as well as agnostics and atheists, all committed to promoting cooperation around shared values and beliefs.

Countering Extremism

We work by exposing extremism and bigotry, challenging hatred, advocating for positive change, and working to educate the public and legislators on the importance of equality.

Committing to Peace and Justice

We believe change is possible through non-violent means and that peace can only be achieved when we learn to respect each other’s values and differences. We work towards eliminating the greed that fosters wars, corruption, and human rights abuse.

Creating Community

We stand for inclusion and diversity in American society. We believe in fostering a healthy dialogue by carefully listening and responding to the concerns of others. Our goal is to reinvigorate informed civic participation, build alliances by discovering common ground among diverse organizations, and act as a positive voice for those who may be unable to speak for themselves.

Issues we have addressed

Separation of state and church, clean elections, death with dignity, opposition to legalizing gambling, juvenile justice and prison reform, marriage equality, homelessness and people in need, eliminating “ice” and addiction, and living wages for Hawai‘i’s workers.

Commission on Community Building

Commission Members

Rev. Cynthia Lynch, Ph.D., Chair

Goals and Activities

The strategic goal of the Commission on Community Building is to be recognized as mediators, peacemakers, and problem solvers, by offering a safe place to find solutions, objective interviewers/mediators, and promoters of understanding, fostering unity, and transforming adversaries into partners. In this capacity, it will:

  • Promote peacemaking, problem-solving, understanding, mutual respect, and goodwill through facilitated interfaith dialogue, forums, and other activities.
  • Plan, promote, and hold public meetings (which includes the annual meeting), in coordination with other commissions as necessary.

The content and objectives of the above activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Strategy and solutions for common concerns and problems,
  • Learning about one another,
  • Promoting understanding and reconciling adversarial groups and/or positions,
  • Seeking to anticipate and prevent potential conflict or violence,
  • Serving as a channel for promoting joint religious services: annual days of prayer and meditation, and pastoral exchange.

On-going programs:

Annual Community Service Awards

Hawaii Faith Community Mini Grants

Membership is open. For more information, please contact us. Thank you very much.

Commission on Ethics and Public Life

Commission Members

Rev. David Kawika Jackson

Goals and Activities

The strategic positioning goal of the Commission on Public Life and Ethics is to be positioned and recognized as a well-known trusted voice in the community on ethical and moral values. In this capacity, it will:

  • Promote and speak out on ethical and moral values.
  • Encourage, teach, and model ethical and moral thinking for individuals and the community
  • Voice concerns and opinions publicly applying ethical and moral thinking to current issues.
  • Unite the faith community and the public behind shared ideas of ethical and moral standards, avoiding divisive issues.
  • Publicly honor and recognize people who demonstrate commitment to ethical and moral values.

Membership is open. For more information, please contact us. Thank you very much.

Commission on Human Concerns

Commission Members

Rev. Douglas Pyle, Chair

Goals and Activities

The strategic positioning goal of the Commission on Human Concerns is to be a catalyst and channel of communication, engaging the interfaith community in concern for social and human conditions that contravene accepted ethical and moral values e.g. poverty and violence.

  • Responsible for engaging the interfaith community in social justice activities, and acting as a catalyst and channel of communication to or for other individuals and agencies promoting the well-being of all people in Honolulu and the State of Hawai‘i.
  • Be concerned for social and human conditions that contravene accepted ethical and moral values, such as, homeless, wages, housing, crime, violence, and poverty.

Recent Action Items: Homelessness, Marriage Equality, Crime, Participating in the Forum on Economics of Jobs & Justice in the Current Economic Crisis, with economist Dr. Lawrence Bill Boyd of CLEAR (Center for Labor Education and Research, UH West Oahu).

Membership is open. For more information, please contact Rev. Doug Pyle. Thank you very much.

The Interfaith Alliance Hawai‘i was incorporated in 2003 as a chapter of the national Interfaith Alliance, receiving its IRS determination in March 2005. It is a direct outgrowth of The Bridges for Justice and Compassion, the legislative and human needs committee of the Hawai‘i Council of Churches (HCC). In March 2000, the HCC office closed, and an oversight funding committee was set up to administer two continuing small bequests. A formal “memorial service” for the Hawai‘i Council of Churches was held at Harris United Methodist Church along with eulogies about the many impressive accomplishments of HCC over more than 100 years. The hope was with the “death” of HCC, there would be an opportunity for a ‘resurrection or reincarnation” of another ecumenical or interfaith entity.

The Bridges for Justice and Compassion continued to meet with volunteer leadership. Sam Cox was the chair at the time. Its membership had already become diverse with non-Christian participants. The name itself came from combining the interest of the Christian “prophetic justice” of Amos with the “engaged sense of Buddhist compassion.” Both are needed, and neither is complete alone. The mission statement at the time was:

Bridges for Justice and Compassion is a group of concerned people of faith committed to involvement in the life of our community. We affirm that reconciliation and connection to one another are the ‘bridges’ that span justice and compassion

In the Fall of 2003, The Bridges for Justice and Compassion decided to reorganize as an affiliate of the National Interfaith Alliance (IA). Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, the former President of The Interfaith Alliance joined us for our first Annual Celebration Dinner as our keynote speaker at Honpa Hongwanji Betsuin Hawai‘i. During the celebration, ten boxes of legislative and human needs program files of the Hawai‘i Council of Churches were symbolically presented by Samuel Cox to Yoshiaki Fujitani, representing the “rebirth” or “reincarnation” of The Interfaith Alliance Hawai‘i. The affiliation with the National Interfaith Alliance has given IA of Hawai’i a national and world perspective.

Board of Directors:

Paul Gracie, PhD | President
Rev. Dr. Ha‘aheo Guanson | 1st Vice President
Rev. Cynthia Lynch, PhD | 2nd Vice President & Chair, Commission on Community Building
Rob Kinslow, M.S. | Secretary
Cecilia H. Fordham | Past President
Rev. Dr. David H. Jackson | Chair, Commission on Ethics in Public Life
Rev. Douglas Pyle | Chair, Commission on Human Concerns Rev. Dr. Thomas Lynch | Board Member
Rev. Dr. Keith Wolter | Board Member
Rev. Masunari Yamagishi | Board Member

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