HPBC History


Hawaii Pacific Baptist Convention (HPBC) history::

Baptist work had its beginning in 1926 when Charles J. McDonald, a layman, started work in the town of Wahiawa with a Sunday School which eventually became the First Baptist Church of Wahiawa.

A few Southern Baptist missionaries stopped in Hawaii for short periods of time between 1937 and 1938 but it was not until 1940, when all of the missionaries in China and Japan were forced out of these countries, that the International Mission Board (then known as the Foreign Mission Board) began thinking about opening work in these islands. As these first Baptist missionaries came and surveyed the islands, they concluded 6 percent of the people were nominally Christian.

On December 12, 1940, the Hawaiian Mission of the Foreign Mission Board was formally organized and Wahiawa church was the first church to affiliate. In 1941, the Olivet Baptist Church was constituted in Honolulu out of the work which was started by layman, Joseph Tyssowski. Southern Baptist missionary, Victor Koon, was called as the pastor of Olivet.

Twenty-four representatives (called messengers) from 5 churches (Wahiawa, Olivet, Nuuanu, Calvary and Waimea) met at the Baptist Bible School of Hawaii on July 12, 1943 and organized the Association of Baptist Churches of Hawaii.[2]

The work spread to the other islands. A group of Christians meeting as the Missionary Bible Church in Waimea, Kauai, asked for help, and the Waimea Baptist Church was organized on this foundation in 1943. A Baptist chaplain stationed on Maui began a mission which later became the Kahului Baptist Church. A public school teacher, who was converted at the Olivet Baptist Church, began a Sunday School on the island of Molokai at an unused Buddhist temple. This group became the Kaunakakai Baptist Church. Dr. and Mrs. Charles Leonard felt led to go to Hilo, Hawaii, to open work there and were influential in starting the Kinoole Baptist Church.

Churches were established on each of the main islands of Hawaii. Meeting in school buildings, groups of people studied the Bible, were converted and eventually constituted churches throughout six of the islands. With the help of the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, sanctuaries soon replaced these temporary meeting places. At the annual meeting of the Association of Baptist Churches of Hawaii, July 21 at Calvary Baptist Church, the organization’s name was changed to Hawaii Baptist Convention.

The Baptist Student Union formed in Manoa. The Baptist Bible School of Hawaii opened staffed by missionaries appointed by the Foreign Mission Board. The first issue of the Hawaii Baptist; was produced with Joe W. Bailey as volunteer editor. Two acres of land on Heulu Street at Liholiho was purchased for a Baptist secondary School. The Hawaii Baptist Academy opened its doors to its first students in 1949. Over 1,100 students are enrolled today from kindergarten through 12th grade. Two campuses are located in Nuuanu Valley on Oahu.

A 16-acre campsite on the leeward coast of Oahu, the former home of the Waianae sugarcane plantation manager, was purchased. It was named Puu Kahea Baptist Assembly, “Echoing Hills”; in Hawaiian. With the coming of statehood to Hawaii, Foreign Mission Board support began to diminish in 1951 and the churches were challenged as never before to reach more adults, to increase in stewardship, to grow in total dedication to the cause of Christ, and to continue in their missionary outreach. The North American Mission Board (reorganized from the Home Mission Board in 1997) and other agencies, have continued to help Hawaii Pacific Baptists’ missions and ministry opportunities.

In 1955 the first meeting of the HBC executive board met at the Baptist Student Center. The Samoa Baptist Academy began with 14 volunteer teachers.

In 1979 Wayland Baptist College opened in Hawaii as their first campus outside of Texas.[3] In 1981 the College changed its name to Wayland Baptist University.

In 1997 the name changed to the Hawaii Pacific Baptist Convention to represent the territories of the convention.[