Hawaii is moving closer to California.

Members of the Presbytery of San Diego have concurred in a motion for First Presbyterian Church of Honolulu to exit Pacific Presbytery and be received by the Presbytery of San Diego. 

The vote, taken at a special called meeting held at the Village Community Presbyterian Church of Rancho Santa Fe Oct. 18, was 71-6.  The action is contingent on the approval of the Synod of Southern California & Hawaii and the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

In addition, the pastoral staff of the First Presbyterian Church of Honolulu was received into membership of the Presbytery of San Diego by transfer from Pacific Presbytery.  Received were the  Rev. Dan Chun, pastor, and the Revs. David Stoker and Drew Hulse, associate pastors.

Saying he appreciated the warmth and efficiency of how the meeting was conducted, Chun said he felt “sympatico” with San Diego Presbytery’s stand on issues facing the denomination.  He cited the congruence of his congregation with documents defining the “Essential Tenets of the Reformed Faith” and “What We Believe” found on the San Diego Presbytery’s website,

Chun also noted the very similar ministry environments of Hawaii and San Diego, both of which have a large military presence, a highly mobile population, and a multicultural outlook influenced by Pacific Rim nations.

The Rev. Jack Baca, chair of the Next Wave Administrative Commission (NWAC) that recommended that the Honolulu church be received, noted that the Pacific Presbytery has already voted to release the congregation. Since the boundaries of the two presbyteries are geographically continguous, the PC(USA)’s constitution allows such transfers.

The NWAC is in the process of reviewing proposals from two more California churches ― First Presbyterian Church of Covina and Glenkirk Presbyterian Church in Glendora ― that are seeking to transfer to San Diego Presbytery, however, they are members of San Gabriel Presbytery, which is not geographically contiguous to San Diego. 

Session and congregations of both churches have already voted to transfer to San Diego Presbytery.

The Rev. Bob Davis, a member of the NWAC, has written: “Given San Diego Presbytery's identity and mission, does a partnership with these congregations make sense?  Specifically, how does the ministry of the congregation complement the call and direction of this presbytery and how does the ministry of this presbytery complement the call and direction of the congregation?

“In short,” Davis continues, “there is no desire to add to our rolls for the sake of adding to our rolls, nor is there any desire to be a ‘presbytery of refuge’ regarding ordination standards. Again, the point is that requests are coming and we should be equipped to make prayerfully discerned choices.”