Youths big part of faith meeting
This year's Hawaiian Islands Ministries conference is drawing more people than ever to the two-day sessions, co-founder Pamela Chun said yesterday.
"We've got a lot of youth participating throughout the whole conference," Chun said. "They're more visible this year because of spring break."
The event is known as the largest annual gathering of Christians in Hawai'i.
Chun said youth — college age and younger — make up about a quarter of the 4,000 full-time participants this year. That's up from about a fifth of the attendance in the past.
Participant Russell Yamada, an attorney who attends First Presbyterian Church, said he felt the stir of something non-quantitative when speaker Jim Cymbala, a preacher from Brooklyn, took the mike to discuss the importance of faith.
"He's been churching in the New York area, in difficult and risky areas," Yamada said. "Through his life and example, he's shown how faith and trust in God has led him through and given him the courage to worship in these areas. He challenged us to make that a focal point in our daily walk."
Cymbala, of the Brooklyn Tabernacle, turned an inner-city church into a thriving 6,000-strong congregation with a message of tolerance.
Not all was smooth sailing for the Honolulu conference, however: Jeffrey Johnson, who was to give today's closing address, missed his flight. Instead, the address will be given by Francis Chan, founder of the Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley.