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Calvary by the Sea Lutheran Church & Montessori School Calvary by the Sea Lutheran Church & Montessori School

Early Church History Early Church History

The idea of a new Lutheran Church in Hawaii came from Dr. Phillip Dybvig, Director of Home Missions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and Dr. Gaylord Falde, Bishop of the South pacific District of the ELC. The funding of the new church was handled by the Churches of the Austin Circuit in Southern Minnesota in late 1953. On the day that the Austin circuit decided to sponsor the mission by providing loan money, Dr. Falde and Dr. Dybvig gave Stan Gjervik the Letter of Call to become the mission pastor in Honolulu.

Stan and Doris Gjervik arrived in Honolulu on July 26,1954. They were ready to work the afternoon they arrived. First, they met with real estate agents to scout the Aina Haina area for possible church sites.

Sven Anderson at M's Ranch House offered the use of his banquet facility for a place of Worship and Sunday School. The first service was scheduled for October 17,1954. The big day came. Dr. Phil Dybvig was a guest. Forty-two people were present at the first service. Attendance was down a little the next two Sundays, but it climbed gradually until there were about 95 by Christmas and 120 by Easter.

While Dr. Dybvig was here, the congregation began negotiating for property. A realtor by the name of Mr. Wright found the present site. For four days we worked with a Mrs. Wild and her advisors at the Hawaiian Trust Building. The bank was wonderful. We explained that we had $90,000 to invest, but that this would have to include the purchase price of the land and the first unit of the church (now Ohana Lani). The result was that the church purchased 63,000 square feet of land for $60,000. Later, the church received a gift of 10,000 square feet where Hale Aloha is located. An additional 10,000 square feet of land on the highway end of the property was a gift in 1955. In 1956, a pledge of $10,000 covered a promissory note to Mrs. Wild. Plans for the parsonage (now Hale Aloha) were started. Harold Hicks was the builder but was assisted by Nolan Wold, a volunteer who came in January, 1955.

Paul Jones of Wimberly and Cook was engaged as the architect. Plans were soon ready, and the church accepted a bid from C. W. Winstedt for under $24,000. By the end of September, 1955, we were in our new building. Special gifts came for the finishing touches.

We continued to meet at the Hind Company Office Building behind M's Ranch House. Sunday School started on October 24, 1954. Children's programming began on Thursday afternoons in November when we moved to the new church site. Women of the church began meeting once a month. Later we started a regular weekly Wednesday morning Bible Study. Everybody seemed to take hold of the work, and to support the congregation seemed to be a natural thing to do. In fourteen months, we began carrying our own weight, and no longer needed the monthly Home Mission Grant in Aid.

The church was active from the beginning. Visitors were abundant during those years. Participation in Kiwanis and P.T.A. became an important community service. In 1958, we began broadcasting our worship service on KAIM FM. Additions were built to both sides of the sanctuary in 1953. The church had taken its place in the community

The spirit of the first congregation still exists. Words of early pastors continue to describe Calvary Lutheran: From Stan Gjervik (2/1/54-4/2/61): "Every car that drove up was a miracle." From James Bergquist (5/4/61-5/31/64): "Calvary Lutheran has always been a unique and wonderful congregation." From Obed Sunde (8/1/64-9/6/67): "Thanks to God for the blessings He has showered on the congregation."