Wednesday, November 25, 2015         


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By Star-Advertiser staff


First Unitarian Church to install settled minister at synagogue

The First Unitarian Church of Honolulu will install the Rev. Dr. Jonipher Kwong as its settled minister Nov. 20 at a nearby Jewish synagogue.

According to a First Unitarian news release, the installation ceremony for the Unitarian Universalist minister at Temple Emanu-El Hawaii reflects "the deep and respectful friendship that has developed between Rev. Kwong and Rabbi Peter Schaktman over the last several years."

Kwong will be installed at 5 p.m. at the temple, at 2550 Pali Highway, followed by a procession to First Unitarian Church at 2500 Pali Highway. The candle-lit procession will be led by children, with the entire group singing "We Are Marching in the Light of Love." Upon arrival there will be a receiving line and a catered reception at about 6:30 p.m. Call 595-4047 for information.

"Unitarian Universalists are open to interfaith collaborations. We share many values in common and strive for the same social justice causes with our Jewish friends," Kwong said in the news release. "I hope the bridge we form between our religious communities will continue to expand and our collaborative efforts will serve as a model for fostering a spirit of aloha here in Hawaii."

Kwong is the church's first Asian minister and its first openly gay minister.

The ceremony will be officiated by the Rev. William G. Sinkford, the first African-American president of the Unitarian Universalist Association.

An eclectic collection of musical performances, directed by Karen Valasek of First Unitarian, will feature the Liturgical Ensemble and include a string quartet from the Hawaii Pacific University Chamber Orchestra. There will be singing by Noelani Cypriano and hula by Sarah Keli‘iho‘omalu, accompanied on the guitar by her father, Sam Keli‘iho‘omalu.

Remains of Buddhist masters will be on display inside hotel

For its third visit since 2006, the Maitreya Project Relic Tour of the remains of cremated Buddhist masters will be in Honolulu Nov. 25-27 at the Ala Moana Hotel.

People of all spiritual traditions are invited to view the relics and receive blessings from visiting Buddhist monks. The free event is sponsored by Kagyu Thegchen Ling Tibetan Buddhist Meditation Center and Lama Karma Rinchen.

The Maitreya Project, a philanthropic organization based in Kushinagar, India, created the tour in 2001 so the collection of relics could inspire "loving kindness" in people as it traveled throughout the world, according to a news release.

"Most Buddhist relics, which resemble pearl-like crystals no bigger than the tip of a pencil, are found among the ashes of cremated Buddhist masters. The relics are believed to be formed by the Buddhist master's compassion and wisdom," the release said.

The relics will be on display in the Ala Moana's second-floor meeting room, beginning with an opening ceremony Nov. 25 at 10 a.m. Relic viewing and personal blessings will be available each day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

For information, contact Phuong Tran at 536-7789 or visit

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