Reverend Jonathan Smith Green (December 20, 1796 – January 5, 1878) and his wife Theodosia Arnold Green (April 33, 1792 – October 5, 1859) sailed with the Third Company of American missionaries November 3, 1827 and after 148-days at sea, arrived at Honolulu March 30, 1828.
The Greens were assigned to Lāhainā on the island of Maui; missionaries Lorrin Andrews and Jonathan Green along with mission doctor Gerrit P. Judd, were the first non-Hawaiians to visit Haleakalā in August 1828.
After a couple years on Maui the Greens went to Hilo (1831,) and returned back to Maui (to Wailuku in 1833.) Green built one of the first permanent houses there, a two-story lava stone structure with 20” thick walls and a high-pitched roof covered with wood shingles. (The house is now known as the Bailey House.)
Over the years Green served in various roles and supported and helped construct several schools and churches.
The Central Female Seminary (Wailuku Female Seminary – the first female school begun by the missionaries) opened July 6, 1837, under Green, with six girls, which increased to an average of 30-students. Subsequently, this school moved to Makawao.
The present Kaʻahumanu Church is actually the fourth place of worship for the Wailuku congregation. The original congregation, under the leadership of the Green, was first forced to hold their meetings in a shed.
In about 1830 Green built a thatch and pole meeting house that formed the beginnings of Waihe‘e Church outside of Wailuku. The church was founded as a mission station of the mother church in Wailuku.
In 1832 Green was joined by Mr. Rueben Tinker and together they made plans for the establishment of a permanent church in Waiheʻe. (Between 100 and 300 Hawaiians attended the early meetings.)
The construction of the present stone church was begun in 1848 and completed in 1858. The dimensions established by the missionary architects were 66-feet in length, 30-feet in width and 12-feet in height.
The construction and plan of the Waiheʻe Church closely resemble those of the other stone churches built by the missionaries on the islands of Maui, O‘ahu, Kauai, Hawai‘i and Molokai.
Because the majority of missionaries came from and were schooled in New England, they brought with them the preconceived idea of the church form and character.
In Hawai‘i it was translated into available materials – lava block and heavy timbers – and built in a simple and utilitarian style. The presence of the three tier tower and steeple on the Waihee church indicated the building’s aspiration toward higher style buildings.
The church originally had a wood framed bell tower, built up in three stages and topped with a steeple. The tower was located over the chancel end (above the altar) of the church (it was removed in 1987 due to water and termite damage.)
Typically, the labor for the churches was supplied by the local population served by the church. The materials were either gathered by the church members, donated by a chief or wealthy individual, or in some case purchased in part by the mission. Mortar was made by gathering and burning coral.
In 1852 the walls must have been at their full height because church records indicate that the building was rethatched that year. In January 1858, the building was substantially complete, but without a floor.
In the May 1858 Wailuku station report, WP Alexander wrote: “We have added a board floor to the stone meeting house of Waihee, and also doors and windows, so that it is now a comfortable house of worship.” (HMCS; NPS)
On August 11, 1868, the Waihe‘e Protestant Church was formally established as a branch of the Ka‘ahumanu Church of Wailuku and the Reverend LW Papalimu was seated as the first licensed minister of the church.
Green had moved to Makawao (February 7, 1843) and helped the Hawaiians in the Makawao area form the first self-supporting church in Hawaiʻi at Poʻokela.
He also served as the pastor of the Makawao Union Church, which was started to meet the needs of the English speaking, foreign community around Makawao.
Makawao Foreign Church and Congregation (Makawao Union Church) received a charter from the Hawaiian government in 1861, although Green had been holding services in his Makawao home from 1857. (The existing Dickey-designed Makawao Union Church was built in 1917 as a memorial to Henry Perrine Baldwin.)