LOCAL HOLINESS CHURCH ACTIVITIES

The Honolulu Church
In 1989, Alfred Oya was ordained and appointed to the English Division as an assistant pastor for a year, until he was assigned to the West Los Angeles Holiness Church in 1990. That same year, when George Toda was appointed to the Walnut Creek Japanese Christian Church, Russell Higa transferred from the San Fernando Church to succeed him. At the 1992 General Conference, Jim Shiba, a member of the Los Angeles Church and a recent graduate of Fuller Seminary, was assigned to be an assistant pastor. Cornerstone, a music group in the English Division, was sent to Japan to assist in church planting. The group is working with Missionary Wesley Oba, a church planter and member of the church, in the Kobe area.

The La Costa Church
The Northern San Diego County work began regular weekly worship services on January 22, 1989, as an outreach program of the San Diego Japanese Christian Church. The members met in the home of Hiroo and Judy Kurano in La Costa.

In the beginning, each worship service was followed by a potluck luncheon, which provided a wonderful time of fellowship. As new people joined and the Kurano living room became too crowded, God provided the group with rented quarters at the Christ Presbyterian Church of Rancho La Costa. With adequate facilities, the La Costa group was able to plan several special events to which they could invite their unchurched friends for fellowship and for celebrations. These events included a craft fair, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, and a special concert at the Presbyterian Church with both English and Japanese-speaking musicians.

[The La Costa Church recognition service in 1991]

Unforgettable moments for La Costa in 1989 include their first Easter and Christmas worship services. In order for Pastor Okawa to be in time for the early afternoon North County service, it meant many frantic trip in heavy Sunday traffic to make the thirty-five mile commute, until a permanent pastoral assignment was made at La Costa.
Besides the weekly early afternoon Sunday worship services, weekly Bible studies were held on Wednesday morning in the homes of various North County members. In addition, Brian Nakamura conducted monthly Bible studies in English at the Kurano home. The North County worship services have been conducted bilingually because many of the spouses are Caucasian.

At the 1991 General Conference in Los Angeles, the North County Outreach was officially recognized as the Japanese Christian Church of La Costa. In the bilingual services, Michio Okawa preached in Japanese, while Brian Nakamura gave the English messages. The congregation was blessed with other guest speakers, including Mike Fox of Campus Crusade for Christ, as well as Rick Chuman, Roy Toma and Steve Ito of the San Diego Church. Currently, Don Frazier serves as a part-time English-speaking minister of the church.

The Los Angeles Church
In July 1989, Arthur Tsuneishi retired after thirty-six years of faithful ministry in the OMS Holiness Church of North America. He served also as the Executive Secretary of the English Division of the Conference. Wayne Ibara, a Fuller Seminary graduate and a member of the UCC denomination who had been assisting Tsuneishi, was appointed pastor of the English Division to succeed him. The following year Lester Yamashita, a member of the church and a Fuller Seminary graduate, was installed as assistant pastor of the English Division.

The 1991 General Conference was held at the Los Angeles Holiness Church in conjunction with the Seventieth Anniversary Celebration of the church. The Anniversary Banquet was held on July 13, 1991, at the Sequoia Conference Center in Buena Park, California. Guests included members of the Japan Holiness Church, and Tokyo Biblical Seminary President, Kazuo Kobayashi. In a meeting during the following year, the church established Task Force 2001 to lead it into the next century.

The Orange County Church

[The Orange County Church's proposed new multi-purpose building]

On December 1, 1988, the building program of the church was drastically altered since the city of Cypress annexed a large parcel of land, which included the church property. As a result, under the threat of the June 1989 expiration of the use permit for the modular units, a request for a two year extension was granted on August 28, 1989. Afterwards, the church had to submit plans and receive approval for another conditional use permit for a permanent facility. After much deliberation, the city of Cypress finally granted the church a building permit for a two-story building on March 23, 1993. Construction for the new facility is expected to be complete during 1993. Jim Sakurai, who has been heavily involved in the preparations and planning of the new facility, has been serving the English Department since 1978.

The San Diego Church
In June 1990, the San Diego Church celebrating its sixtieth anniversary, hosted the General Conference at Pt. Loma College. In July 1991, with Michio Okawa taking on the new work in La Costa, Kunizo Nakao was welcomed as the new Japanese-speaking pastor. He and his wife, Teruyo, and their two daughters came from Japan, where he had been teaching at a Bible school in Niigata-ken.

The San Fernando Church
In November 1989, Michi Kuroda, wife of former pastor Akira Kuroda and a faithful servant of the Lord, passed away after a lengthy illness. Funeral services were held at the Gardena Baptist Church on November 11, 1989. The same year David Hosomi married Haruyo Yamazaki, a child evangelist and English teacher, in Japan. Russell Higa, after serving San Fernando for four years, returned in 1990 to pastor at his mother church, the Honolulu Christian Church, in 1990. Richard Hata from a UCC church in Kona, Hawaii, was assigned as an associate pastor with Robert Yonemoto, Jr.

In 1990’s, Howard and Aiko Tani from the San Fernando Church’s English Division, served two terms with the JEMS Short-Term Missions program at the Gifu Church in Japan. In July 1992, Richard Hata was assigned to the San Gabriel Church to fill a vacancy. The same year Eric Segawa, a member of the San Diego Church and a Fuller Theological Seminary student, served as intern. The San Fernando Church’s current pastors arc Robert Yonemoto, Jr. and David Hosomi in the English and Japanese-speaking Divisions, respectively.

The San Gabriel Church
Takaaki Yamada, who had previously come from Brazil, was received into the Conference at the 1989 General Conference at the West Los Angeles Church. In September 1991, John Katagi took a leave of absence from his pastoral work in the Conference, after serving for thirteen years. He had also served the San Gabriel Church since 1984. Under his ministry, the church had grown and was blessed by God. He is currently serving as the JEMS Associate Director of the Mission for South America.

Since a senior pastor was not available, Daniel Shinoda, as a retired minister of the Conference, served as an interim supervisory pastor for a year, from 1991 to 1992. Jason Zahariades served as the student pastor for that period. The ministry of Shinoda as a supervisory pastor was necessitated by Conference regulations which do not allow a retired minister to assume any administrative responsibilities in a local church. With the appointment of Richard Hata as senior pastor in 1992, Jason Zahariades serves as pastor to youth. Jimmy Shiba, a member of the Los Angeles Church and a Fuller Theological Seminary student, also served as intern during this period.

In the summers of 1991 and 1992, many young people, as well as some adults, were involved in work projects, Vacation Bible School and worship services at Rancho Agua Viva in Ensenada, Mexico. Young people and adults from other Conference churches were also involved.

The San Lorenzo Church
In 1989, the San Lorenzo Church published an anniversary book entitled, The Holy Road, which included the testimonies of the Japanese-speaking members of the church. At the 1989 General Conference in West Los Angeles, Rick Chuman, a member of the San Diego Church and a graduate of Bethel Seminary, was assigned as assistant pastor of the English Division of the church. He was ordained at the 1991 General Conference in Los Angeles. James Toda, who is currently serving as senior pastor of the English Division, has been with the church since 1978. Jiro Fujioka joined the pastoral staff in 1992 as an assistant pastor under Takashi Furuyama, with his duties including the ministry at Walnut Creek as well. In recent years, area small group Bible studies, have greatly enhanced the ministry of the church as members have been deeply grounded in the Word. The church has recently launched a new work called the “Fremont Christian Fellowship,” in a community eighteen miles south of the church.

The Santa Clara Church
In 1989, Andy Garcia was assigned as an assistant pastor of the church. Garcia is married to Noriko Murakami, the daughter of Nobumichi Murakami, the former pastor of the Santa Clara Church.

During this Renewal Period, several Japanese-speaking members went to Japan for professional training at Tokyo Biblical Seminary. They included Kazuo Uyemura, who after early retirement from IBM, decided to become a full-time Christian worker. A long-time member of the Santa Clara Church, Uyemura was assigned to the Pearl City Highlands Holiness Church upon graduation in 1990. Some of the others include Junko Katsuta, who had enrolled in a one year layman’s program at Tokyo Biblical Seminary, and currently serves the Santa Clara Church. Shinji Seki, who graduated from the seminary in March 1992 is scheduled to join the Conference. Chin Unren, a graduate with Seki, currently serves in Taiwan. Jiro Fujioka, who joined the Conference at the 1992 General Conference, was another member of this group.

In addition, Byron and Fusako Honda served as JEMS short-term missionaries teaching English at the Kaizu Christ Church in Japan during 1989 to 1990. Also, several members joined other Conference young people in a work project and VBS ministry at Rancho Agua Viva in 1991 and 1992.

The Walnut Creek Church

[The new Walnut Creek Church building]
Easter Sunday, April 3, 1988, was a joyous day as the first worship service was held in the new multi-purpose facility. During July 7 to 9, 1988, the Walnut Creek Church hosted the General Conference for the first time. A highlight of the Conference was the ordination of Robert Yonemoto, Jr., pastor of the San Fernando Church. It was also the joyful occasion of the dedication of the newly-completed multi-purpose facility and classrooms. The Dedication Service was held on the final day of the General Conference. The Japanese-speaking group initiated by Dan Shinoda with assistance from the San Lorenzo Japanese-speaking Department, received their first Japanese-speaking pastor, Jiro Fujioka in 1992 on a part-time basis. With steady growth, the church is looking forward to a new sanctuary in the near future.

New ministries include a children’s ministry and small group fellowships. The children’s ministry, which began in 1988, is held during the worship services. The small group fellowships started in 1989 after much prayer and encouragement from the San Lorenzo Church. Under the able leadership of Art Mitsutome, these groups meet weekly to study and discuss assigned portions of scripture. The pastor expounds on the same portions of scripture during the Sunday morning worship service. In 1990, the women’s fellowship was organized out of a desire to unite and bond the women of the church in service to their local body.

Thirteen years after founding and establishing the church, Dan Shinoda retired in 1990 at the General Conference in San Diego. He along with his wife, Yuri, had faithfully served for forty-five years in the Conference. Also their contributions to the Bay area Christian community have been immeasurable. Succeeding him was George Toda, who with his wife, Pat, had been transferred from the Honolulu Christian Church.
[The dedication service of the Walnut Creek Church in 1988]

The West Los Angeles Church
After the resignation of Yas Wada from the Conference in 1990, Ernie Kilbourne served in an interim pastor for a few months until the arrival of Alfred Oya from Honolulu to assume the English-speaking pastorate Kilbourne, who had previously served at the Honolulu Church and Hilo Mission, was also a long time missionary with OMSI. Oya, who had come from the Honolulu Christian Church, had been ordained at the 1989 General Conference held at the church.
Presently, the West Los Angeles Church is planning a major expansion project aimed for the 21st Century. Eiichi Suzuki is the current Japanese-speaking pastor.

The West Oahu Church (The Pearl City Highlands Church)
During July 1989, with the resignation of Mitsuru Yamawaki, the Japanese-speaking Division was temporarily headed by Kazuhiko Matsuda, a lay member of the San Lorenzo Japanese Christian Church. Matsuda served until Kazuo Uyemura was assigned to the church in 1990. After an early retirement from IBM, Uyemura who had been a long time member of the Santa Clara Valley Japanese Christian Church, decided to enter full time Christian service. After graduating from the three year pastor's course at Tokyo Biblical Seminary, he was assigned to the Pearl City Highlands Holiness Church in 1990. His wife, Kohko, had previously received training at the seminary before their marriage.

[Newly dedicated West Oahu Church in 1993]

[Interior of the newly dedicated West Oahu Church]

In late 1991, a critical decision was made to purchase a former bank building in Waipahu, five miles from Pearl City, for 1,450,000 dollars. At long last, instead of continuing to rent school facilities, or building under a freeway as had been originally planned, they now could have a building of their own. Consequently, on July 11, 1992, the former Pearl City Highlands Holiness Church became the West Oahu Christian Church as the remodeled bank building was dedicated unto the Lord. Many Mainland church friends attended, for the church was hosting the annual General Conference at the Ala Moana Hotel in Honolulu at the time.


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