The Interfaith Alliance Hawai‘i was incorporated in 2003 as a chapter of the national The Interfaith Alliance, receiving its IRS determination in March 2005. It is a direct outgrowth of The Bridges for Justice and Compassion, the legislative and human needs committee of the Hawai‘i Council of Churches (HCC). In March 2000, the HCC office was closed and an oversight funding committee was set up to administer two continuing small bequests. A formal “memorial service” for the Hawai‘i Council of Churches was held at Harris United Methodist Church along with eulogies about the many impressive accomplishments of HCC over more than 100 years. The hope was with the “death” of HCC, there would be opportunity for a ‘resurrection or reincarnation” of another ecumenical or interfaith entity.
The Bridges for Justice and Compassion continued to meet with volunteer leadership. Sam Cox was the chair at the time. Its membership had already become diverse with non-Christian participants. The name itself came from combining the interest of the Christian “prophetic justice” of Amos with the “the engaged sense of Buddhist compassion.” Both are needed, neither is complete alone. The mission statement at the time was:
Bridges for Justice and Compassion is a group of concerned people of faith committed to involvement in the life of our community. We affirm that reconciliation and connection to one another are the ‘bridges’ that span justice and compassion
In the Fall of 2003, The Bridges for Justice and Compassion decided to reorganize as a chapter of the national The Interfaith Alliance (TIA). Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, the President of The Interfaith Alliance joined us for our first Annual Celebration Dinner as our keynote speaker at Honpa Hongwanji Betsuin Hawai‘i. During the celebration, ten boxes of legislative and human needs program files of the Hawai‘i Council of Churches were symbolically presented by Samuel Cox to Yoshiaki Fujitani, representing the “rebirth” or “reincarnation” of The Interfaith Alliance Hawai‘i. The affiliation with the national TIA has given our Hawai‘i Chapter a national and world perspective.