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Synod impresses youth delegate with church’s impact

Hana KealohaoTeAtua Reinhardt, the PNC’s 2021 youth delegate to General Synod 21 in June, “went” via her computer—listening to keynote speakers and workshop sessions, and joining in worship.

Hana KealohaoTeAtua Reinhardt helped with cooking, cleaning, laundry and fund raising at N-Sid-Sen.

Photo courtesy of Gen Heywood

“It was hard to connect with people online. I know it would have been better in person. I had hoped to make contact with the Pacific Islander Asian American Ministries group my father had helped start, but I was unable to do that online,” she said.“It was sad it was not in person, because part of General Synod is being with people.”

“I liked the theme, ‘Rooted in Love,’ and speakers on different issues,” Hana said.

She was interested in discussion on resolutions, like the ones recognizing the Alliance for Associate Conference Ministers, calling for Israeli-Palestinian peace, eliminating the cash bail bond system, ending conversion therapy for LGBTQs, recognizing racism as a public health crisis, acknowledging the rights of nature and ending the 128-year war with the Hawaiian Kingdom.

“I learned from the General Synod speakers what is going on in the world and what we can do to change it,” she said.

“I realized that the church is a ginormous organization that can do something and can have an impact on issues,” Hana continued.

“It’s hard to do something on issues as a single person, but as a church organization with connections all over, I feel we can make changes in our individual communities and through the United Church of Christ as a whole,” she said.

For seven years, Hana, 19, has been involved in Veradale UCC, where her mother Gen Heywood is pastor. She has helped with technology, decorating, fund raisers and more.

Hana has also attended junior and senior high camps at N-Sid-Sen.

The past two summers with COVID, she and her brother Henry, a senior at Central Washington University,volunteered at N-Sid-Sen, helping with cooking, cleaning, laundry, yard work and fund-raising meals.

This summer, she was there during July and early August.

Hana had been the youth delegate two years ago, but Henry went instead, because she was an exchange student in Tornisch, Germany, during her senior year at University High School in Spokane Valley.  After 10 months in Germany, she returned early because of COVID.

At Synod, she was interested in environmental presentations. In 2018, she had been a delegate with other young people from around the world at the Summit on the Environment at George Mason University in Washington, D.C.

Now a sophomore majoring in wildlife ecology and conservation studies with a minor in German at Washington State University in Pullman, she is attending most classes in person for the first time. Last year was all online.

Hana was interested in General Synod in part because her mother had met her father at General Synod in Columbus, Ohio, in 1997. Hana said her father—whose native Hawaiian, Cantonese and German heritage is reflected in her name—died seven years ago. (KealohaoTeAtua means the Aloha of God).) Her parents were married several years while Gen was serving a church in Sunnyvale, Calif.

Other General Synod delegates were Jerry Chang of the Taiwanese Christian Church UCC in Seattle, Hillary Coleman of University Congregational UCC in Seattle, Danette Koloi of Burien, Mike Denton, conference minister and Courtney Stange-Tregear, PNC minister for church vitality.

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Copyright © Fall 2021 - Pacific Northwest Conference United Church of Christ News


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