Expanding a sanctuary in Maui


Kihei Lutheran
Kihei Luthuran's new sanctuary will welcome worshipers in March 2014.

White sand beaches. Palm trees. A sanctuary for humpback whales.

This is Kihei, on the southern coast of the Hawaiian island of Maui. In the midst of this tropical setting sits another sanctuary — the sanctuary of Kihei Lutheran Church, now slated for expansion, with the help of generous member contributions and a loan from the Mission Investment Fund, a financial ministry of the ELCA.

Kihei Lutheran Church celebrated its 25th anniversary in November 2013. For the congregation’s initial 18 years, the “church without walls” worshiped in a local elementary school cafeteria. In 1997, members made the decision to put down spiritual roots and turned to the Mission Investment Fund for a loan to purchase land. By 2005, the congregation was ready to build, and the Mission Investment Fund provided a second loan to construct the congregation’s first building, encompassing a worship space as well as offices and classrooms. Vigorous capital campaigns supplemented the loans.

This year, the Mission Investment Fund is financing the congregation’s expansion. “We turned to the Mission Investment Fund again as our financing source because of the positive experience we had seven years ago when we first built our worship space and education and office areas,” says David Krueger, pastor of Kihei Lutheran Church. “We have been especially thankful for the personal attention we received this time around that has allowed us to receive approval for our loan in a very timely manner.” Kihei Lutheran Church also invests in the fund’s Term and Demand Investments.

Congregations and ministries considering a land purchase or a building project — construction of a first church building, a renovation or expansion, for instance — may apply for a low-interest loan provided by the Mission Investment Fund. Funding these loans is an array of Term and Demand Investments that the Mission Investment Fund offers to ELCA congregations, ELCA-related ministries and members.

A simple, sustainable design

Kihei’s original worship space was planned as a multipurpose room “for worship as well as for doing ministry, because both are important to this congregation,” says David. “The design is simple, and that’s the beauty of it.”

There are no pews, only chairs that can be moved in and out. There are no stained glass windows, but sliding glass doors that open to the lanai for expanded worship and hospitality. The simplicity of the building is in sync with the laid-back Maui lifestyle.

Sustainability is also valued in the isolated Hawaiian Islands, and Kihei Lutheran Church incorporated an array of solar panels above the worship space — a green addition that supplies nearly all the power the site requires.

Weekly attendance averages 100 to 150 worshipers, and the number can swell to 300 when snowbirds arrive each winter.

Now is the time for expansion at Kihei. The congregation broke ground in September for an expanded space, and the new sanctuary will welcome worshipers in March 2014. 

Kihei’s original multipurpose space will grow larger and allow the congregation to continue pursuing important community outreach efforts. Dedicated members collect and distribute food to those in need, provide assistance to a growing homeless population, guide high school youth in making sound life choices, and support global relief efforts. “We are always pleased that the loans the Mission Investment Fund provides allow congregations to grow and expand the important ministry work they do,” says Eva Roby, president and CEO of the Mission Investment Fund.

For more information on the loans and investments offered by the Mission Investment Fund, visit http://www.mif.elca.org/ or call 877-886-3522.

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