Jay and Angie Hernandez
Jay and Angie Hernandez moved here to Hilo in April 2010 from Los Angeles, California. They took over the leadership of the church after Evan and Kelly moved to Honolulu.
The Hilo Church of Christ started in the summer of 1991.
Twenty members from the O‘ahu Church of Christ, led by Kip and Bethany Harms, moved to Hilo to start a sister church. The small congregation began to grow right away as more people started to attend church services and get baptized.
A year later, the Harms’ returned to O‘ahu to help the leadership there. Over the next decade, the Hilo Church of Christ had a number of different ministers, most of whom were assigned by the O‘ahu Church of Christ and moved from O‘ahu to lead the Hilo church.
These leaders included David Peickert; Zosimo Arista, Jr.; Christopher Teves, Kevin Ancog, Todd Ashida and Jerry Javier. They all served God and served the church.
In early 2006, the Hilo church could not afford to have paid staff, so, unfortunately, the church was forced to lay off its ministry couple. This helped the church’s financial situation, but the church was left without a minister.
Different members of the congregation took turns preaching sermons to the church. They also did their best to help church members spiritually.
By this time, church attendance was minimal. Less than half the church membership would attend midweek services, and Sunday services were not much better. The church had difficulty meeting its budget due to low collections. Few members were having Bible studies with anyone, members or not. The only thing lower than church attendance and finances seemed to be the morale of the church.
In July, the church leadership selected Kyle Bartholomew to be the lead minister. He had been a member of the church for over five years.
In August, the church leadership sent Kyle to the Portland World Missions Jubilee. While he was there, he asked Kip McKean, evangelist of the Portland International Church of Christ, if he would be willing to speak to the church and disciple him in an effort to revive the church. Kip agreed.
Kyle returned and asked the leadership group if Kip could speak to the church, and the group approved. The church membership was notified that Kip McKean was coming in the middle of September to give a series of sermons.
Kip was scheduled to give two sermons to the church, one on a Saturday night and the other on Sunday morning during Sunday worship service.
That weekend would end up changing the Hilo Church of Christ radically.
At the Saturday night devotional, Dave Kim from the LA Church of Christ and members, mostly leaders, of the O‘ahu Church of Christ attended the event. Kip delivered an inspirational and powerful sermon. Some members of the Hilo Church of Christ did not attend this event.
The next day, on Sunday, about half of the church membership did not attend the regularly scheduled church service in the normal meeting place of the church. Still, Kip preached the word to a large number of members and visitors. The service was full of energy, and people were moved.
Some of the church membership attended another church service that Sunday with Dave Kim and O‘ahu Church of Christ leaders. Some of the church members attended both.
Only some members of the Hilo Church of Christ were informed about the other church service. Most of the leadership group and some other members did not know about another church service.
This split of that Sunday service shocked those who were unaware of the other church service with the LA and O‘ahu church leaders.
The following Sunday, only twelve members attended the Sunday worship service in the normal meeting place. The rest of the membership met elsewhere, and continue to meet elsewhere to this day.
A few months later the Hilo Church of Christ changed its name to the Hilo International Christian Church.
Most of the few who remained after that weekend, along with a growing number of brothers and sisters, strive to do God’s will and help others to find a relationship with God.
Welcome to the Hilo International Christian Church.
Evan and Kelly Bartholomew
Evan and Kelly became the leaders of the Hilo International Christian Church in September 2007 after Evan’s brother, Kyle, moved to Los Angeles, California.
Like many younger brothers, Evan seemed destined to follow in Kyle’s footsteps.
Just like Kyle, Evan also played for the Waiakea Warriors basketball team in high school. In college, Evan also played for the University of Hawaii at Hilo Vulcans.
Shortly after his brother Kyle was baptized in the church, Evan himself studied the Bible and was baptized in the UH-Hilo campus ministry. There he met Kelly, a campus student who had moved to Hilo from the church in Dallas – Fort Worth.
Eventually Evan and Kelly married, both having aspirations for the ministry. They led various groups in the church until Kyle and Joan moved to California, when they became full-time leaders of the church. Evan led the church with great zeal and eloquence in the Lord.
In the beginning of 2010, Evan and Kelly moved to Honolulu to help Kyle and Joan lead the Honolulu church. Once again Evan followed Kyle to do God’s will.
But after a few months with Kyle, Evan followed God to a brand new place: San Diego. God called Evan and Kelly to move to California to lead the Mission Bay International Christian Church. They continue to lead their new church with the same zeal and eloquence they showed when they led the Hilo church.
Evan and Kelly visit us once in a while since they still have family here, but they are always a part of our family. They may be far away, but they go where God calls them, since they follow Jesus’s footsteps.
Kyle and Joan Bartholomew
Kyle and Joan are the former leaders of the Hilo Church of Christ. They led the church for just over a year, yet their devotion to the church and love for God have produced an abundance of personal spiritual growth for church members.
Kyle is truly a “local boy” in the church.
Kyle grew up in Hilo and attended Waiakea High School. He was a member of the Waiakea Warriors basketball team.
He then received a full scholarship to play for the University of Hawaii at Hilo Vulcans. He helped lead the Vulcans to two appearances in the NCAA Division II playoffs.
During Kyle’s third year at UHH, he met a member of the Hilo Church of Christ. He studied the Bible and, after taking some time to think about his future, he decided to become a Christian.
Shortly after, another member of the church brought Joan to church. Joan, who lived in Hilo for some time, then studied the Bible and soon also became a Christian.
After getting to know each other in the church, Kyle and Joan got married and served as group leaders in the church. They had a son and continued to follow the Bible despite hardships and complacence that had afflicted the church at the time.
Kyle was appointed as the minister a few years later by the church leadership. In spite of turmoil and controversy surrounding the start of Kyle’s role as minister, Kyle and Joan continued to lead the Hilo Church of Christ with love and zeal for God.
In September 2007, Kyle and Joan moved to Los Angeles, California, to work and train in the ministry. Less than a year later, they moved to Honolulu, Hawai‘i, to re-launch the Honolulu International Christian Church, where they continued to lead to this day.
The Hilo Christian Church hopes for continued growth in God for Kyle and Joan, true Big Island locals.