Entries Tagged as 'Non-Profit News'

Christ is Risen!

Such is the victory cry of Orthodox Christians all over the world just after midnight on Easter morning. Christ’s victory over death and the key of the Christian faith everywhere is worth singing about. The Orthodox Community of Hawaii, better known as the “Church of the Iveron Icon of the Theotokos” is no exception.

Located at 931 Hausten Street, just a block away from University Avenue, this little mission parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR) goes all the way through Lent and Holy Week commemorating and celebrating just like its mainland brethren and its ruling diocese on Geary Street in San Francisco.

Many of you are saying, “Huh?” Yes, on occasion the Orthodox Church has been called the best kept secret. They don’t proselytize, they just are. “In Hawaii?” Surprise! Actually, one of the first Orthodox services held in Hawaii was by Russian Clergy who disembarked for the service from a ship temporarily in port while passing the islands. That was a very, very long time ago. Hawaii was not a State, not a territory and not Christian.

Parish in purple.

The lenten period begins with the tables, icon stands and even the music stands draped in purple. The clergy’s vestments are as well. It stays this way for all of lent until Palm Sunday when the covers, and the Priest’s vestments, are changed to green for that day.

Basket of palm leaves tied to pussy willow branches with purple ribbon.An interesting thing about the Russian Orthodox Church is that something is different about those palm leaves, as you can see. In Russia there are no palm leaves. The only thing in bloom at this time of year is pussy willows. So, that’s what they used to commemorate Christ’s entry into Jerusalem. The tradition in Honolulu, and in San Francisco, is to have both palm leaves and pussy willows since there is access to both!

After Palm Sunday, the colors are changed to black for Holy Week.

HolyFridayOn Great and Holy Friday (aka Good Friday) the icon of the body of Christ is surrounded by flowers and venerated by the faithful during morning and evening services.

In addition to the usual services for Great and Holy Friday, the parish in Honolulu, in the typical Hawaiian style of ethnic blending, has seen fit to incorporate a couple of services from the Greek Orthodox tradition. One of those is the service of Lamentations which is done on Friday evening as well.

On Saturday night in anticipation of the midnight Resurrection service, people crowd into the small little parish and wait. Prayers are read and hymns are sung repeating the tragic events just one more time before the triumph. Because of the global time difference Honolulu is probably one of, if not THE, last places to celebrate the Holy Resurrection. The Church is in darkness and and all lights are extinguished.

A single candle light emerges Father leads the procession around outside the church.from the altar and is passed back to all the faithful who are now holding candles awaiting the flame to come their way. In Jerusalem several hours before, the Holy Fire presented itself in great glory.

Father, now vested in white, leads the procession of candle-holding parishioners around outside in a procession as he and the faithful sing,

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling down death by death
and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!

Inside, the covers have now all been changed to white. The service of the Resurrection is completed and is followed by Divine Liturgy.

Hawaiian BibleOn Sunday morning, the parishioners return to Church for Agape Vespers which includes the reading of the appropriate gospels in a variety of languages.

This year, the parish in Honolulu read the gospels in Slavonic, English, Chinese, German and, you got it, Hawaiian! The Reader of the parish made sure of that!

Here is our Hawaiian vocabulary word, or Word, for this past weekend: Na ‘Euanelio Hemolele, the inscription on Icon stand with Resurrection Icon and basket of blessed eggsthe book seen here, means The Holy Gospel. But, I know you knew that!

After the Agape Vespers (agape is Greek for love) the little Russian parish celebrates at its Agape Picnic. They celebrate with all of the meat, eggs, dairy products and non-lenten cuisine you can possibly handle!

Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!

Russian: Khristos Voskrese! Voistinu Voskrese!

Pinwheels Pinpoint a Good Cause

Lawn with pinwheelsOn April 1st, last Sunday, 4,000 pinwheels were placed on the lawn of the state Capitol to mark the beginning of the prevention of child abuse month. These colorful lawn ornaments were placed there to represent the 4,000 child abuse cases on record in the state.

This cute and appropriate array of colorful toys was the combined effort of Prevent Child Abuse Hawaii, HMSA (Hawaii Medical Service Association), Foster Realty and the State of Hawaii Department of Health.

Some of the pinwheels, 20 of them to be exact, were larger than the others. Unfortunately, by this past Wednesday, only three days later, those 20 bigger pinwheels were gone. They were just children’s toys but someone decided to “borrow” them. Maybe they thought they would be great for Easter. Who knows? The culprit was probably unaware of the purpose of the pinwheels.

Endless pinwheels along the lawn of the state Capitol

While I was taking these pictures, a lady pulled up, got out of her car and asked me what those pretty pinwheels were for. I knew why they were there but anyone else would have been inclined to ask the same question. I have to admit that the signage was poor and the purpose was not clearly stated anywhere.

Plumeria tree branchSo, picking those pinwheels probably meant nothing more to the picker than picking a couple of plumerias from a tree along the side of the road. The person was probably thinking, “They’ve been here for three days and the wind is only going to blow them away anyway.”

Opposite lawn of the state Capitol

The idea was a good one and very colorful. It remains a question as to how many people were moved or how much awareness was raised by this display, but the lawn of our state Capitol never looked so festive!

Kaiser Loses Its Proper Focus

Kaiser Honolulu Sign

Auwe! to Kaiser’s Honolulu clinic which has lost its focus and has forgotten who pays for its survival. As a non-profit medical provider, you would think Kaiser would cater to its patients, not some obscure taxi company. Auwe, which means “oh” or “ouch” is often used as an exclamation of annoyance or irritation, similar to, “Oh please!” or “Give me a break!” or “You need a slap!” In this case, Kaiser needs a slap — a hard one!

Kaiser Urgent Care ParkingThe entrance to the urgent care department of this clinic had, at one time, four or five stalls for those who needed urgent care. Now, it has been chopped down to two. There are two handicapped stalls and that’s it. The other two stalls have been marked off to be used by a taxi company.

From what I could gather, the clinic got tired of dealing with the taxis parking in front of the main entrance to the clinic. Well, if the security guards can’t deal with the taxi companies, they need to find another job! The lazy, arrogant, do-nothings have no problem dealing with ailing people who really NEED those stalls. I had to bring an ailing family member to the clinic the other day and the only two stalls available were taken.


So, of course I parked in the stalls used for nothing. There were no taxis around and taxis should certainly not have first priority anyway. The guard couldn’t wait to ask whose car that was when he decided to come out of his cushy little hiding place and stop doing whatever it is they do in there… which ain’t much. Like I said to the security guard, patients are more important than taxi cabs!

Reserved Parking for Taxi SignYou know what’s even more irritating? Who the heck is Akamai Cab? I don’t even know this company! “The Cab” or “Charley’s Taxi” would at least be familiar, but it’s even an unknown company! Akamai means smart or intelligent. They’re not very bright letting themselves be put into such an unpopular situation. I know some people catch cabs to the clinic but most people in need of urgent care drive are driven to the clinic… by family members or by friends.

This is a medical provider not a shopping center! Kaiser, get your priorities straight! Next thing you know they’ll reroute the ambulances to make room for the garbage truck. Sorry Kaiser, but this was an idiotic thing to do!

I am always the first person to back this medical provider up and to tell people they are crazy for paying the rates of other medical providers and that they should be a Kaiser patient etc., so THAT has NOTHING to do with it! This move of theirs was just plain dumb! My advice? Fix it and hire a new security company.

And call “The Cab” at 422-2222. No, no connection, I just love the commercials! The Cab is “for Tutus too!” Come on guys, fix this so I can update this story and send the clinic flowers… kick the cabs to the curb and let your patients have access to their care!

Hats Off!

Emergency Supplies March is Red Cross Month and the Hawaii Chapter of the American Red Cross decided to start its “Hats Off” campaign on Friday with a donation-collecting rally downtown.

The local chapter assures residents that, “All funds collected will go to the American Red Cross, Hawaii State Chapter, to support local services for Hawaii’s people. Donations stay in the islands to help those in need throughout our State.”

Table of Goodies

Feeding the not-so-needy and looking to collect donations, the American Red Cross, joined by the Honolulu Fire Department, parked and set up tents at Tamarind Park on Friday.

Fire Truck

To make sure they covered all the bases, the Red Cross also set up tents of various purposes along the street-fronts of both Bank of Hawaii and First Hawaiian Bank — one purpose was to serve up some yummy-looking food! I’m always happy to report on good food!

HFC Bosses HFD Troops

With the weather being nice and sunny there was quite a draw with the food, the firemen and a couple of our radio stations hustling around outdoors .

Krater96 Van

KCCN FM100 Vehicle

The Red Cross had themselves a relatively captive audience with money collectors on all four corners of the busiest intersection of Honolulu’s business district. At 8:00 AM that morning they could be seen setting up and at 3:00 PM that afternoon, they were still wrapping things up.

What can I say? It doesn’t hurt to recoup some of the financial expenditures encountered with the earthquake that did some major damage to the Big Island in October, or to try to recover from the smaller, less-publicized incidents in Honolulu and beyond. The Red Cross is doing its best to stay above water… in case we get buried in some. Many of us forget that the Red Cross is not supported by any State or Federal government agency. It is the donations of concerned citizens and charitable organizations that keep it afloat.

We have had our share of things go wrong in the last couple of years, but nothing like what New York or New Orleans has had to endure. We are comparatively fortunate, and will hopefully never encounter, the devastation that was 9-11 or the tragedy that still is Katrina. I am a bit presumptuous when I say that we would never face a lack of response like New Orleans did. Would we? Well, there are still many people that lived through Pearl Harbor so let’s not get too arrogant! I think it’s a human protective device that forces us to bury the memories of extreme heartache or pain.

Unfortunately, partly because of this psychological trait, the emergency response people are often forgotten about when there is no current drama. If we are not directly involved with a crisis, we seem to take these agencies for granted. But, sit us down long enough, remind us of these unpredictable things, and we’ll be grateful that they’re there. As smug as we are, it’s sure nice to know there is a crisis crew in our own back yard!

Red Cross Bears

So, “Hats Off!” to the Hawaii Chapter of the American Red Cross and to all of their volunteers!

Pounding the Pavement, Aloha Style

Starting at 4:00 am, the buses, both tour buses and school buses, begin loading up the participants who have chosen to park their cars at Aloha Stadium. Before 7:00 am, these buses will take several thousand people downtown for the start of the 23rd annual Great Aloha Run.

The downtown businesses that were smart enough to be open that early made a small killing I’m sure! Looks like Starbucks had a nice morning!

This annual event has become something that a lot of us look forward to each year. The theme for this event was “ke kukini me ke aloha pau’ole” (the race with compassionate love). It is a way to join the community in supporting the community, and a way of achieving a sense of accomplishment after completing an 8.15-mile foot race. Not all race, some join in the event to socialize and just to be a part of things.

Over the last 22 years this event has raised $6.8 million for 26 local charities.

There are walkers, wheelchairs, strollers and, of course, the runners. It may say, “Run” in the title, but the event is open to all who want to participate. Some people walk, some run, some do a little of both. Some people run or walk with family or friends and some go it alone. I, for one, am a loner. It’s my time to be alone with me.

At 6:50 am, ten minutes before the official start of the run, the branches of the military start the show as they begin to run with banners, etc. The “Sounds of Freedom” as this kick-start of the run is called, brings more cheers from the crowd than I’ve heard in a long time. I guess there’s nothing like a war and having troops away from home to bring cohesion and unity to a country. The Fire Boat in Honolulu Harbor sits spraying its support for the participants as we sing the Star-Spangled Banner and Hawai’i Pono’i before the start.

But, Why Run?

The runners can be timed if they choose to be. They will pay a little bit more for the technology and paperwork involved. Some will run just because it’s what they do. People look at runners and shake their heads wondering why they do what they do. I can’t talk too loud; I look at marathon runners and shake my head too!

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NFL Cheerleaders Excite Downtown Honolulu!

On Wednesday, February 7, the kick-off rally for the Pro Bowl took place in Downtown Honolulu. People looking out their office windows couldn’t miss the giant NFL football that had been placed just behind the stage area. While Honolulu’s Mayor, Mufi Hannemann, and the Royal Hawaiian Band were there to welcome the NFL in style, the real crowd pleasers were the team mascots and the cheerleaders who were also in attendance, and doing what they do best! Even though it was still early in the week, we did manage to have a few of the players present – the ones who had already touched down at Honolulu International Airport.
It started to rain but people still pressed forward to get a good view of the sexy beauties, the likes of which are rarely seen in this usually mundane business district. Everyone stayed put and the people with cameras had to fight the rain, dripping umbrellas and the surrounding pools of water to get pictures of the young beauties that kept smiling through it all. Fortunately for me, the rain and I get along quite nicely and I really don’t mind getting drenched. Unfortunately for me, soaking wet business attire and air conditioning do not get along quite so well.

All of this fuss is just for the NFL’s All-Star game? Yes, Super Bowl XLI, the highlight of the football season, has come and gone but we’re not ready to say farewell to the season just yet. Selected Players from the NFC (National Football Conference) and the AFC (American Football Conference) will hit the turf just one more time on February 10th at Aloha Stadium. Banners like the one to the left are flying from the light posts along King Street through downtown Honolulu and portent the start of just one more football event. The votes of fans, coaches and other NFL football players create the team rosters that list the players who will grace our presence in the Pro Bowl this year.

While the Indianapolis Colts are, of course, the stars of the NFL and will be represented nicely by five of their players: Harrison, Wayne, Manning, Saturday and Glenn, the San Diego Chargers lead the league with a record-breaking ten players in attendance!

Mahalo NFL!

Aloha StadiumWhile Honolulu welcomed the NFL with open arms, the NFL had a nice surprise announcement of its own. NFL Charities granted $100,000 made up of various amounts to a selection of sixteen Hawaii-based, non-profit organizations. Even more surprising, for me, was the fact that the NFL has been doing this for over ten years now. NFL Charities focuses its grant-making on youth, education and sports-related medical research. It’s always an admirable thing to see such a large for-profit organization giving back to the communities they touch in the course of their activities.

Mahalo to the NFL for giving football fans just one more week of gridiron entertainment, and a very big aloha and mahalo for the generous grants provided to the members of our non-profit community!

Passion is a Dangerous Thing!

Hawaii Opera Theatre (HOT) has labeled their 2007 opera season the “Season of Dangerous Liaisons.” The first of the three operas for the season, Camille Saint-Saens’ “Samson and Dalila,” is definitely that. Most people know the traditional story of Samson and Delilah from the book of Judges in the Old Testament of the Bible — the story of a man of great faith who helps the Hebrew people free themselves from the Philistines. The problem is that Samson has difficulty freeing himself from his own desire for the ever-seductive Delilah. The opera is not too far off the mark.

As we sat waiting for the opera to start, I thumbed through the program reading about the artists, the contributors, the advertisers, etc. While reading the synopsis, written by John W. Freeman and provided courtesy of Opera News, I was struck by something unusual. “The outer walls of the temple disappear to reveal Samson’s former lover, the Philistine woman Dalila, who invites him to come that nigh to her nearby dwelling.” Wait, back up… Samson’s what? Two words explain a lot: “former lover.” He left her so she is the jilted lover! Hello?!? Duh!

We all have heard that expression that “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” Is she evil like we have always been led to believe? I think not! She’s an emotionally wounded, ego-battered woman. Get it? Hell hath no fury like Dalila’s. She’s beyond that. In short, Samson’s in big trouble and he probably deserves it.

All of that aside, the director’s note in the program tells us that this opera began as an oratorio, a musical work for voice and orchestra that tells a sacred story without the use of costumes, scenery or dramatic action. The director, William Florescu, says that this presents a challenge for a director. I can also say that the melodic content of this work, or the lack thereof, is the start of the challenges that this opera presents. Fortunately, this particular detail has no reflection on the singers, the orchestra, or the director. It just is what it is. The role of Samson was a personal disappointment for me, not the least of which was the voice. If someone thinks that voice was a tenor, my favorite of the male vocal ranges, I would hate to see what they consider to be a baritone.

Hats Off to HOT!

Take heart! All is not lost! The soprano voice of Malgorzata Walewska, playing Dalila, was powerful and in full control of the music and the role. Her control of the lower ranges of her part made up for a lot. I held my breath waiting for her voice to waver or crack and make me cringe. It never did. I have to remind myself here that this is a vocally-trained individual. I think I’ve been watching too much American Idol.

The chorus was wonderful and the orchestra was perfect! The costumes, props and stage set were appropriate, very well put together and manipulated seamlessly for the audience. The lighting was fantastic and used in a very effective away — creating moods and plot-related thoughts that would never have been there without it!

Overall, I give huge kudos to Hawaii Opera Theatre for making an attractive, artistic event out of something that could have easily flopped without their careful and talented oversight. If you’re an opera fan and planning to be in Honolulu between now and March 6th, Don Giovanni and Madama Butterfly are up next! Please support the arts!