By the time the first company of American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) Protestant missionaries arrived in 1820, Kamehameha I had died and the centuries-old kapu system had been abolished. On the sabbath (April 23, 1820) Hiram Bingham, the leader of the group, preached the first formal Protestant sermon in the Islands. Initial services were in thatched structures. Later, a more permanent church was built. Kawaiahaʻo Church was designed by its first pastor, Bingham.
There were ten ‘āpana, or branches, of the Kawaiahaʻo Church. One of them was the Waikīkī Church (the others included Kalihi, Palama, Nuʻuanu, Pauoa, Moʻiliʻili, Pālolo, Kaimuki, Puaikalani (Kakaʻako) and Kawaiahaʻo itself. Across Kalākaua Avenue in front of the Moana Hotel, on the present site of the shops and Princess Kaʻiulani Hotel, was the first grammar school in Waikīkī, a small graveyard and the church. In 1916, the property was sold for expansion of the Moana Hotel.