This week in Christian history: Papal interdict, Hawaii missionaries, Churches of God founder

First Protestant missionaries arrive in Hawaii – March 30, 1820

Robin Roberts shared a photo from Maui, Hawaii on Aug. 18, 2013.
Robin Roberts shared a photo from Maui, Hawaii on Aug. 18, 2013. | (Photo: Twitter/ Robin Roberts)

This week marks the anniversary of when the first American Protestant missionaries arrived in Hawaii, settling in the island nation several decades before it became a U.S. territory.

Supported by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, the group included seven missionary couples and four native Hawaiians, who had set sail from Boston, Massachusetts on a ship called the Thaddeus.

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“They arrived in Hawai'i after 164 days. During the time they were at sea, Kamehameha I had died, his son Liholiho had become ruler,” explained

“The missionaries were not given immediate permission from Liholiho to settle. Instead, he placed them under probation and monitored them closely.”

Eventually, the missionary presence in the Hawaiian islands would have a strong influence on the culture, including the creation of a written native language.

“Religion is meat and drink to the native,” noted Mark Twain regarding a visit to Hawaii in 1867. “He can read his neatly printed Bible (in the native tongue) ... and he reads it over and over again.”

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