Those who belong to the po‘ahā are brought, in some degree, under the watch and care of the church, and, so far as they are conscientious, they are bound to correct principles and practices. (Missionary Herald)
Po‘ahā – Thursday – a reference to the Bible study meetings, held on Thursdays, that prepared one for baptism and membership in the church congregation.
“The numbers of the natives, both men and women, who desired admission to the church, multiplied, and some were formed into classes which met weekly, on Thursday, for prayer, inquiry, and instruction, and from which candidates were, from time to time, selected, propounded, and received to fellowship.” (Bingham)
The Adobe Schoolhouse was constructed during the period 1833-1835, of air-dried adobe bricks and lumber, as it became available, to replace the earlier straw school and meeting house.
The “most beautiful room in Honolulu,” as architects have called it, was used for a school, for the annual spring General Meeting of the Mission, as a social hall, and, in 1855, as the scene of a wedding between two mission “cousins.”
In 1852, it saw the establishment of the Hawaiian Mission Children’s Society, often known as the Cousins Society, a group of missionary descendants whose parents had long called each other “brother” and “sister.”
For a while during the 1870s, the building was rented to the Government for use as a public school, at which time a partition was put in.
Later, it housed the Thursday daytime meetings of Kawaiaha’o Church and became known as Hale Poaha, the Thursday House of Kawaiaha‘o. (NPS)
“The congregation is large on the Sabbath. In the morning, our spacious house is filled, and becoming seriousness pervades the congregation.”
“Other meetings are well attended. Multitudes are pressing into the poaha, i.e. the Thursday meeting for religious inquiry.”
None are admitted to this meeting, except persons who are found, on examination by ourselves, to have a general understanding of the essential doctrines of the gospel, and a belief of them, and who declare their intention to renounce all known sin, and obey every known duty.”
“Such evidences of a renovated heart are not required, as would be insisted on in order to a participation of the Lord’s Supper.” (Chamberlain, 1830; Missionary Herald)
“Since the middle of March, I have myself examined 324 persons; and of this number, I should hope, that as many as one in ten are pious.”
“The whole number which, on this island, have been admitted to this meeting, cannot, I think, be less than 1,000. And I trust there may be found among them, at least, 100 persons, who might with great propriety be received into the church.”
“The native members of the church have recently held a meeting, at their own instance, for the purpose of comparing their views with respect to the moral and religious character of those persons within their knowledge, who have expressed a desire to join the church …”
“… and upwards of 100 names were written down of persons, whom they do not hesitate to recommend to our notice, as suitable candidates for baptism and church-fellowship.”
“Those who belong to the poaha are brought, in some degree, under the watch and care of the church, and, so far as they are conscientious, they are bound to correct principles and practices.” (Chamberlain, 18830; Missionary Herald)
On June 5, 1825, ten Hawaiians made “a full declaration of their desire to be numbered among the disciples of Christ.” These were Kalanimōku, Ka‘ahumanu, Kapule, Kapi‘olani, Keali‘iahonui, Kalakua, Namahana (or Opi‘ia,) Kaiu, La‘anui and Richard Kala‘aia‘ulu (who had arrived from the Cornwall School in 1823.)
A probation period of six months was set for these candidates. (Damon)
By the time a newly constructed thatched Kawaiaha‘o church was nearly finished, “Sabbath Decr. 4th. This has been a day of uncommon interest; and the transactions of it form an era in the Sandwich Island Church.”
“Eight persons who have for more than six months stood as candidates for admission and who have given as satisfactory evidence of personal piety as the nature of their circumstances will admit, came forward & united themselves to our number …”
“… and entered into a solemn covenant to walk in all the ordinances of the Gospel; and subscribed with their own hands unto the Lord, binding themselves by the most solemn engagements to be his forever.”
“Seven of the candidates received baptism – Karaimoku having been baptized a number of years ago by a French Chaplain, only brought forward his little son, which it was a pleasing sight to witness in the arms of his father to be presented for Christian baptism – He received the name of Joseph Leleohoku.”
“Ka‘ahumanu was baptised by the Christian name of Elizabeth. – Opi‘ia by that of Lydia; Tapule Deborah; Keri‘iahonui – Aaron; La‘ahui – Gideon; Kaiu – Simeon. Kara‘aiaulu – Richard.” (Levi Chamberlain Journal)
The Kawaiaha’o Church register lists the names of those who, beginning on December 4, 1825, took their vows, and were baptized. Their signatures are on the church charter.
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