children eating

Hawaiian Values

The literal meaning of aloha is “the presence of breath” or “the breath of life.” It comes from “Alo,” meaning presence, front and face, and “ha,” meaning breath. Aloha is a way of living and treating each other with love and respect.

As Alberta (Pua) Hopkins wrote in “Native Hawaiian Spirituality,” published in the First Peoples Theology Journal (vol. 1, no. 1, July 2000):

Mana (spiritual power) is a part of all aspects of creation. Care must be taken to respect the mana of the land, the plants, the animals, the akua [gods, spirits], and other humans. One’s own mana is not to be neglected or misused.

Malama (caring) is the means by which we protect the mana inherent in all things. Conservation practices, spiritual devotion, caring for all aspects of our health and careful regard for others are some of the ways we malama our relationships. When we are successful in doing so, those relationships nurture us in return. The land that is cared for feeds us; the body and spirit we treat properly serve us so we can persevere; the person who is respected and cherishes meets his obligations to our relationship in return.

When we successfully malama all our relationships so that the mana inherent in theme is undisturbed we achieve a state called pono (righteousness). To be pono is to be in balance with the rest of creation, to meet our obligations. As in all human societies this ideal state is not easily achieved or maintained.

(Pua Hopkins [1939–2004] was the wife of the Rev. Charles G. Hopkins, longtime vicar of St. John’s by the Sea. In 2003 she was awarded an honorary degree by the Church Divinity School of the Pacific for her devoted service to the Church and the wider community, especially cross-cultural ministry development, contemporary Hawaiian culture, the Hawaiian language, and communication systems. See attached article from the CDSP newsletter Crossings.)

Holy Eucharist
Sundays 9:30 AM

St. John's By-the-Sea
   Episcopal Church

47-074 Lihikai Drive Kāne'ohe, HI 96744 (808) 239-7198

stained glass window