Kauai Lutheran church

The Lutheran Church in Lihu'e, Kaua'i, 1885
(photo courtesy of Ursula Timann)
Lihue Lutheran Church and School
Lihu'e, Kaua'i, Hawaii

The Lutheran Church in Lihu'e, Kaua'i, was built in a traditional form of German church plans of Fredrich Richter, the first minister. Later along side they established a school in which he also taught. The school was sponsored by the Isenburg family that brought many of the German settlers to the Lihu'e Plantation on Kaua'i. "Paul Isenberg has been called the father of Lutheranism in Hawai'i. He was the sone of Lutheran minister in Hanover, Germany. He workd for the Lihu'e Plantation and later became its president.  ... In due time he arranged for his younger brother, Hans, who had been ordained as a Lutheran pastor in Germany, to be the pastor of the Lihue's church, serving from 1887, until his death in 1918.  Pastor Hans Isenberg also followed his brother as president of the company and for many years was a very successful businessman as well as pastor." [Lihue church history. 2016]

In the following correspondence from a relative living in Germany, we get the history of the first pastor and designer of the Lihue Lutheran Church.
Kauai preacher
Fredrich Richter about 1886, Hawaii
(photo courtesy of Ursula Timann)

"The teacher and reverend Fredrich Richter who was a brother of my greatgrandmother. He was a house teacher in Honolulu before he joined the German comunity of immigrants in Kauai. He did not stay long though but returned to Germany where he married in about 1887, he died in 1906. I found some photographs in an album of my grandmother, one of them showing the Lutheran church that was built after his designs and of the German school. " [Ursula Timann, 5/30/03]

Fredrich Richter was born 12 Sept 1858 at Langen near Badbergen, Germany. He was the first of seven children. He emigrated to Hawaii and became a house teacher in Honolulu by 1886. He became a reverend of the church in Kauai in 1887, apparently built to his design. He doesn't remain here long. By 1888 after establishing the church he returns to Germany where he marries Marie Karoline Lange of Bottom near Ueffeln. They had six children together. Here he becomes a reverend at Gehrde. From 1901 he was also the school inspector for the district of BersenbrĊ¸ck in Lower Saxony near OsnabrĊ¸ck until his death. He dies at Gehrde on 22 January 1906, less than 48 years old.

Kauaii Church and school
The School and Church in Lihue.
(photo courtesy of Ursula Timann)

The church in Lihu'e does prosper for a number of years. It becomes known for the fact that the sermons where spoken in German. The German speaking school was closed in 1918 due to World War I.

The Lihue Lutheran Church still exits and is actively used by the local population for services, weddings, and other ceremonies.  There is a small cemetery on the back side of the church with some older grave markers. In 1982 a hurricane pretty much destroyed the church and a rebuilding effort was taken to restore it to its original state.  It is a registered Hawaiian historical site as the oldest Lutheran church in Hawaii.  It received an award from the Kauai Historical Society for it quality of restoration in 1984.  It is complete down to the kerosene oil lamps hanging from the ceiling. 

"Although they had been worshiping as a congregation for more than two years with a theological student as their leader, steps were taken to be formally recognized as a Lutheran congregation in Oct 1883. A constitution was drafted, and the church was organized on November 11, 1883, the 400th anniversary of the birth of martin Luther (actually November 10) as "Deutsche Evangelische Lutherische Germinde zu Lihu'e". [Lihue church history. 2016]

Lihue Church

Lihue church front   Lihue church
Lihue Lutheran Church 2016
photo Elroy Christenson 2016

The present pastor is Rev. Dr. Paul K. Kirchner.   www.lihuelutheranchurch.com


Kauai German History
Karl Kiesel's family |
 Charles Kiesel's voyage in 1881  | Jensen Blackstad's Voyage to Hawaii

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