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Garden Chapel by the Sea celebrates fifth anniversary

By Staff | Aug 27, 2009

From left, Derek Powers, Rev. Beverly Powers, Bill Brown and Darin Powers celebrate the chapel’s fifth anniversary.

KAANAPALI — Kaanapali Beach Hotel’s Garden Chapel by the Sea recently held its fifth anniversary celebration.

At the service, Bill Brown shared the history of the church.  Five years ago, he noted, Rev. Beverly Powers began the open-air church service at the request of Lori Sablas, Kaanapali Beach Hotel’s director of Po‘okela, after the hotel decided it wanted to make use of its new hale to offer a nondenominational worship service on Sundays mornings.

Powers had just returned from Montana, where she attended a memorial for her late husband, and felt the timing of the phone call was a true blessing. Married for 50 years, Powers felt this was a reprieve from her sorrow and a chance to focus and continue her calling as a minister, doing the work she loves most. 

As it turned out, the opportunity became a blessing for Powers and many Maui visitors.

“Most visitors on Maui wear a smile on their face because they are so happy to be on vacation,” Powers said. “But sadly, some people wear tears of burdens in their hearts. It’s truly a privilege to be a part of this mission outreach. No other hotel offers a place of worship in all of West Maui, and I feel we are truly making a difference.

“More than 10,000 people have visited the chapel since we began. Easter and Christmas have averaged 375 guests each year. Many are returnees, but the numbers are proof of the need in our world. I thank God for KBH,” Powers commented.

“We’ve received hundreds of letters, cards and e-mails from visitors around the world, sharing their gratitude for having a place of worship and telling how they were touched by the modest church service.”

Local Hawaiian talent is invited to participate each week — a very appreciated facet of the service. At the fifth anniversary celebration, local hula dancer Kalei Jaramillo danced to the beautiful hymn “He Touched Me.” On alternate Sundays, musicians include singers Mary Lynne Boland and Tommy Akima and his keiki halau.

“While the falling off of tourism has affected us, we are still able to take an offering each week, enabling us to continue helping the local needs of our community’s underprivileged.  Plus, I’m always available for anyone in crises, with the emphasis being on prayer. Throughout the year, we are able to assist individuals and various organizations, such as Feed My Sheep, Women Helping Women and (Maui Community Correctional Center’s) Keiki Program,” Rev. Powers said.

“At Christmas time, it is sheer joy to give out the remainder of what we have taken in throughout the year to those in need. It is truly a gift of love given by the visiting tourists themselves,” she added with a smile.

Adding to this year’s anniversary celebration was acknowledgment of Powers’ 70th birthday. Both her sons, Darin (from Washington State), and Derek, a local resident, were there to celebrate the big day. 

Brown, the former crusade director and president of Dr. Billy Graham’s World Wide Pictures, closed the service with, “May Reverend Powers have many, many more years in which to serve the Lord.”

Mike Knowles of Millennium Films taped the event for local public television.