Hawaii Churches Pray for Maui Wildfire Victims

Hiroto Sekiguchi / The Yomiuri Shimbun
People pray for wildfire victims at a church that is also serving as a shelter in Maui, Hawaii on Sunday morning.

KAHULUI, Hawaii — Churches in central Maui held services on Sunday to mourn wildfire victims, and residents prayed for their ohana ― the Hawaiian word for family regardless of blood relation or generation ― who died.

At King’s Cathedral Maui in Kahului, which is also serving as a shelter, Pastor Josh Marocco expressed his gratitude to the volunteers who came to help, calling them “beacons of hope.”

A Japanese language service was held at Kahului Union Church and about 15 people, including Japanese residents, attended. The congregation joined hands in a circle, and Pastor Yasushi Nemoto said, “May Maui be full of smiles again.”

U.S. President Joe Biden, who is scheduled to visit the island from Monday, said in a statement on Sunday, “I will do everything in my power to help Maui recover and rebuild from this tragedy.” Biden also said that during the visit he will “witness firsthand what will be required for the community to recover.”