Waiola Church
            The First Christian Church on Maui
       Founded 1823



E Komo Mai!
(Welcome!)

Waiola Church was originally named Ebenezer Church and then Waine'e Church, meaning "moving water". This was where Christianity began for the Island of Maui. On Oahu, Queen Keopuolani became impressed with the Missionaries and the message they brought. Keopuolani  was considered to be the highest ranking Ali’i (royalty) in Hawaii, higher than her husband, Kamehameha the Great. 

Keopuolani left Oahu in May 1823 to reside in Lahaina, Maui.  She asked that missionaries Rev. William Richards and Rev. Charles Stewart travel with her to speak "the good word, and pray to God with her". They arrived in Lahaina May 31, 1823 and the first Christian worship service was held on the beach on June 1, 1823.

Unfortunately she fell ill and died on September 16, 1823, but requested and was baptized a Christian just one hour before her death. She and other Hawaiian Ali'i  are buried in the Royal Tomb, located in the church cemetery. Nearby is the grave of Rev. William Richards.


Within several weeks of arriving on Maui, the first grass church building and missionary houses were built in the area now known as Campbell Park located near Front St. and Dickenson Street. Church services were held in this area for several years.

On September 14, 1828 the corner stone of the first stone church in Hawaii was laid in the area of the present church on Waine'e Street. Although dedicated as Ebenezera (Ebenezer), it became known as Waine'e Church. The dedication was held March 4, 1832. This large church was about 115' x 50',  with 2 floors and seated 3000 people.
Waine'e Church in about 1840


Starting in 1848 Waine'e Church underwent repairs and the steeple height was raised.
Waine'e Church about 1851
Photo: HMCS Library at the Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives
In 1858 the church was damaged by Kaua'ula winds. Half the roof and steeple were destroyed.

Rebuilding was completed and the church rededicated on March 31, 1859.
Waine'e Church 1858-1893

On June 28, 1894 the church was destroyed by an accidental fire caused by the caretaker who was burning rubbish in a side yard. An ember alighted on the roof near the steeple. (1)

 Waiola Church about
                                              1895 after fire.
Photo by: Bro. Bertram Gabriel Bellinghausen, Chaminade University of Honolulu

A smaller (66' x 40') Waine'e Church was dedicated  on April 18, 1897. It was paid for by Henry Baldwin and cost $10,000. It was in memory of his father, W. Dwight Baldwin who had been Kahu (Pastor) from 1837 - 1868. The smaller church was because the Hawaiian population of Lahaina had decreased due to disease such as smallpox and the introduction of churches of many other denominations. (2) (3)
Waine'e Church in
                                              1909
On October 20, 1947 the church was destroyed by an accidental rubbish fire.(4)

The church was rebuilt and dedicated May 2, 1948.
Waine'e Church 1951
On January 15, 1951 it was destroyed by Kaua'ula winds (5)

The church was rebuilt and dedicated on April 26, 1953. The name was changed from Waine'e (moving water) to Waiola (living water). This is the present church. (6) (7) (8)
Wailoa Church

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