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First United Protestant Church of Hilo!

A History of the Advent Wreath

Advent is a good time to remind ourselves that many of the Christian symbols we take for granted have rich meaning that often spans centuries. Ritual symbols are not merely designations. Rather, they are vessels that contain storied wisdom and the echoes of history. The tradition of the Advent wreath is no exception

While Christians in the Middle Ages were said to have used wreaths with candles during the Christmas season, historians tell us the first Advent wreath was conceived in the early 1800s by a Protestant pastor named Johann Hinrich Wichern, a man known for his mission work among the urban poor.

One year, around 1830, Johann noticed that during the month of December, the children in his mission school, Rauhes Haus, would inquire daily about whether Christmas had arrived. In response to their impatience and constant questioning, he fashioned a “wreath” from the wheel of a cart. It featured 20 red candles and 4 white ones. To help the children mark time in the buildup to Christmas, a new red candle was lit each weekday, increasing the number lit as each day passed. White candles were reserved for Sundays.

While the idea of the Advent wreath caught on in Protestant churches, it didn't reach the United States until the 1920s. It is around this time that Roman Catholics began to adopt the ritual, likely learned from German Catholic and Lutheran immigrants.

As the custom evolved, people began to source materials from the same natural resource used so dominantly for Christmas decoration: the pine tree. To continue reading this article click here.

Sunday Worship Services
The first Sunday of every month, which is our Communion Sunday, we have worship together on Zoom at 10:00am.  Every other Sunday during the month we offer a prerecorded worship service that is shared on our church's website and YouTube Channel.  If you are receiving the weekly e-newsletter updates, on Sunday morning you will receive an email with the video of our worship service.  Our previous worship services can be viewed online anytime at our YouTube Channel by clicking on the button below.
Printable Order of Worship
Hymns & Music Inserts
YouTube Channel
Upcoming Sermons
Here is a list of upcoming sermon titles and scriptures:

*December 6, 2020
"Never Fading, Never Failing"
Scripture: Isaiah 40:1-11 (NRSV)
Preacher: Rev. Christopher Czarnecki
Second Sunday of Advent
Worship Service on Zoom
*Communion Sunday

December 13, 2020
"Finding Joy Through Change"
Scripture: Isaiah 61:1-4; 8-11 (NRSV)
Preacher: Rev. Christopher Czarnecki
Third Sunday of Advent

December 20, 2020
"With God All Things Are Possible"
Scripture: Luke 1:26-38 (NRSV)
Preacher: Rev. Christopher Czarnecki
Fourth Sunday of Advent

December 24, 2020
"Christmas Eve Candlelight Service"
5:00pm via Zoom
Annual Congregational Meeting News
The annual congregational meeting was held on Sunday November 29th at 11:30am on Zoom.  At the meeting the proposed budget for 2021 was approved by the congregation.  This year we did not have any members who were willing to serve as new council members, so there was no slate of council members to vote on by the congregation nor where their nominations from the floor.  We give thanks for the council members who have served their terms and are now coming off, as well as those who have offered to stay on for another year.
Weekly Giving Report
As part of our commitment to stewardship we want to share the level of giving that is happening each week to support the work and ministry of the church.  For the week ending 11/28/2020 the church received tithes and donations totaling $630.00  If you would like more information about how to give during this time or how to begin making an ongoing stewardship pledge please contact the church office.
Annual Stewardship Campaign
We wanted to extend a special thank you to all those who committed to a stewardship pledge next year or who prayerfully decided to support the ongoing work of the church and its ministry.  For the year of 2021 we received a total of 11 pledges to date, totaling $24,480.00.  If you would like to commit to a stewardship pledge for the year 2021 please visit our website at or contact the church office at 808-935-5914.
Christmas Eve Candlelight Service
5:00pm December 24th
On Thursday December 24th we will have our annual Christmas Eve Service on Zoom at 5:00pm.  Join us for a time of singing, listening, prayer, and solace.  If you would like to participate in this year's Christmas Eve Service or provide a gift of music please contact Pastor Chris at

So far we have the following gifts of music as part of our worship service that evening:
Richard & Bonnie Alger:  Christmas medley of
O Tannenbaum, Mele Kalikimaka, and Angels We Have Heard on High.
Joanne Pocsidio:  Song TBA.
Michael Springer:  Silent Night
Phoebe Wyatt:  Christmas Poem
UCC Mourns Rev. Kekapa Lee

The Rev. Kekapa Lee, an honored leader among Native Hawaiians in the United Church of Christ, retired local church pastor, award-winning musician and frequent participant in the denomination’s national work, died Nov. 19 at his home in Honolulu. He was 74.

Kekapa Lee circa 2019News of Lee’s death circulated on social media Nov. 20 and was confirmed by the UCC Hawaii Conference. A brief Nov. 30 obituary in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser said memorial services are pending.

Lee was remembered during online Sunday services Nov. 22 at Honolulu’s First Chinese Church, where he had retired as pastor in 2018. (He is seen, center, in the picture at right, from a gallery posted at the time of his January 2019 retirement celebration.)

Kekapa P.K. Lee grew up in Hilo, one of seven children of a Hawaiian mother and Hawaiian-Chinese father. Hawaiian culture was part of his very name.  To continue reading click here.

A special thank you to all those who held fundraisers for First United Protestant Church on #GivingTuesday or made us part of your #GivingTuesday offering.  Through the use of Facebook over $2000.00 was raised on #GivingTuesday to support the work and mission of First United Protestant Church.  Thank you!!
Have You Heard of AlohaSafe Alert?
AlohaSafe Alert is a free, voluntary new service that helps slow the spread of COVID-19. It is the State of Hawaii’s official exposure notification app and has been developed in partnership with the Hawaii State Department of Health.  Download the AlohaSafe Alert app to get COVID-19 exposure notifications and help keep Hawaii safe and healthy – all while maintaining your privacy.  Check out their website to find out how it works and to download the app on your electronic device.
A Conversation with Global Allies
United Church of Christ President and General Minister, John C. Dorhauer, joins Michael Blair, General Secretary of the United Church of Canada, and Colleen Geyer, General Secretary for the Uniting Church of Australia to discuss issues the church is facing during this time and in the months ahead.
Faith Based Articles Worth Reading
Giving While We Are Apart
We offer four ways you can donate or tithe to the church during this time:

1. You can mail in a donation directly to the church office at:

           First United Protestant Church of Hilo
           1350 Waianuenue Ave.
           Hilo, Hi 96720

2. By setting up First United Protestant Church as a payee through your online banking bill pay.  When you make a payment we will receive your donation as a check through the mail.

3. Making a one-time or reoccurring donation using a debit or credit card through our Facebook Page by clicking the "Donate" button.  The donate button on our Facebook Page also allows you to raise money for the church by creating a fundraiser on holidays, birthdays, or during special times of the year such as Giving Tuesday.

4. Making a one-time or reoccurring donation using a debit or credit card at our secure PayPal site.  A small 2.2% + $0.30 fee is taken out of each donation we receive that is made through PayPal.  Our secure PayPal site also allows you to choose what ministry you would like your donation to go to.  Click on the donate button below to go to our PayPal site.

5.  Our new ChurchTrac program offers multiple ways to give online.  You can set up a one-time or re-occurring automatic deduction from your checking account.  You can make a one-time or reoccurring donation using a debit or credit card.  Or you can setup text giving through your mobile phone.  If you are using ChurchTrac for the first time you will have to set up a User ID and Password.

COVID-19 Resources
for our Local Hawaii County Area
  • If you need to reach Pastor Chris during this time you can email him at or contact him by cell at (314)402-8167.  He will return messages according to their urgency at the earliest possible time.  His days off have transitioned to Saturdays and Sundays during this time.  Please reserve any phone calls on these days to matters that are urgent.  Non-urgent matters may be sent by email.
  • Due to the health risks Covid-19 presents and the complexities in providing a safe space for people to gather at the church, our in-person public worship services held each Sunday will continue to be suspended until further notice.  Please contract the church office or visit our website if you need additional information on how to worship with us during this time.
  • If you would like a hard copy of the Pastor Chris’s sermon mailed to you, please contact Pastor Chris or the church office.
  • Missions:  We have completed the 2 missions we were working on in November, both with great success thanks to our wonderful members and friends of the church.  Our first mission was with the Shoe Box Ministry.  We were ale to send off 40 ShoeBoxes for Christmas Gifts to children around the world, some of these children have never gotten a Christmas Gift in their lifetime.  These boxes are filled with toys, hygiene items, school items and lots of love from the church. Our second mission was our Thanksgiving Basket that we accumulate every year through food donations from our members and friends to give to a needy family.  This year we had such a great turnout of donations we were able to provide 2 Thanksgiving Baskets to 2 different families!  These families were so thankful  and happy to receive these baskets and both had a great Thanksgiving feast , with all the fixings.  Thank you so much to our Mission Chair, Gwynn Sosa and helper Dusty Cardines, and the congregation and friends for making these missions a success, especially during these extremely hard times on our Community.   We are so blessed. 
Sunday December 6th - Second Sunday of Advent
Sunday December 13th - Third Sunday of Advent
Sunday December 20th - Church Council Meeting at 9:00am via Zoom
Sunday December 20th - Fourth Sunday of Advent & UCC Christmas Fund Offering
Thursday December 24th - Christmas Eve Candlelight Service 5:00pm via Zoom
Friday December 25th - Christmas Day - Church Office Closed
Thursday December 31st - New Year's Eve
Friday January 1st - New Year's Day - Church Office Closed
First United Protestant Church of Hilo is a Congregationalist Church that was founded in 1868 and is part of the greater United Church of Christ.

Vision: Our vision is to welcome and love the diversity of all God’s People. To serve and support others through action and social justice. To be a community of faith which encourages spiritual growth through the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.

Mission: Our mission is to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ by working together to overcome the barriers that exclude and divide people, so that God’s inclusive love may be known. To commit ourselves to where faithful action and outreach is needed both locally and around the world, so that others may experience peace and healing. To share in meaningful worship through uplifting music and fellowship. To offer Christian education through study, meditation, and prayer. It is our desire to walk with others on their spiritual journey as they are inspired and empowered to live as Jesus did: full of faith, hope, possibility, and love.
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1350 Waianuenue Ave.
Hilo, HI 96720

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First United Protestant Church of Hilo · 1350 Waianuenue Ave · Hilo, HI 96720-1230 · USA

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