In 2013, the Diocese of Hawai'i developed the formation program, Waiolaihui'ia ("gathering of the waters"), for canonically resident communicants who have been recommended for further discernment and formation toward ordination to Holy Orders. Students who are accepted into Waiolaihui'ia are required to attend 10 weekends per year for a total of three years. Weekends begin on Friday afternoon and conclude on Sunday afternoon.
The Academic Program
The course of study emphasizes academic lectures (video) from the Iona Initiative of the Seminary of the Southwest (Diocese of Texas). The academic course focuses on a general area each year:
Year One: Biblical Studies
Year Two: Church History
Year Three: Theology and Ethics
Currently, the Rev. Raymond Woo is the academic instructor for years one and two. Dean Akiyama is the instructor for year three. In years one and two, exams are given each Saturday after the academic section. In year three, exams take the form of essays to be written after the weekend session. Typically these are due before the next weekend session.
The demands of the program are rigorous and while sessions are once a month, students should expect to fulfill reading assignments and essay assignments in between meeting times. Student work is evaluated using measurements of "does not/meets/exceeds expectations." All exams and related evaluations are filed in the Bishop's office and are available to the Bishop, Commission of Ministry and Standing Committee.
The Practicum Program
In addition, students participate in practicums which cover pastoral care, liturgy, outreach ministries, preaching, spirituality and spiritual development, systems theory, and topics regarding the unique setting of the Diocese of Hawai'i. Practicums are led by local clergy (active and retired) in the diocese.
Each weekend session includes Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer and Compline. Eucharist is celebrated on Sunday mornings. Students will preach during Morning Prayer or Evening Prayer, according to a rota, and will receive constructive feedback from their instructors and peers.
Weekend sessions are held at St. Anthony's Retreat Center. Students from other islands will stay overnight at the retreat center on these weekends. Oahu students may opt to stay overnight at the retreat house, space permitting. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are prepared by the retreat center and served in the dining room.
Applying to Waiolaihui'ia
In order to apply, individuals should have the following:
-- Bachelors degree (or the equivalent),
-- be a Postulant in the Diocese of Hawai'i
-- proficiency in English, writing and speaking, at college level
-- completed psychological evaluation (on file at the Diocesan office)
Acceptance into Waiolaihui'ia confirms the student's commitment to ongoing discernment as they continue to understand God's call. Ordination is not guaranteed upon acceptance to or completion of the program however, students should expect to graduate the program with a stronger understanding of their unique ministry and the direction they will pursue in fulfillment of their call.
Cost is $2,000 per year to the students; the sponsoring congregation is expected to bear some of this cost.
The Application to Waiolaihuiia can be found HERE.
Note: Those nominated for ordination to the Priesthood may consider attending a residential seminary. Anyone considering, or nominated for, ordination to the Priesthood must consult with Bishop Robert Fitzpatrick before making a decision regarding formation training.
to the First Graduating Class!
In October 2015, during the Opening Eucharist for the 47th Annual Meeting of Convention, the first four graduates of the Waiolaihui'ia program were ordained to the Transitional Diaconate in St. Alban's Chapel at 'Iolani School. All four were ordained to the Priesthood in 2016 and currently serve in parishes around the Diocese. They are: Phyllis Mahi Beimes, Malcolm Keleawe Hee, Paul Nahoa Lucas and John Hau'oli Tomoso. Of special note is that all four are of native Hawaiian ancestry, and Beimes is the first woman of Hawaiian ancestry to be ordained in The Episcopal Church.
To be posted.