A luau is a way of giving and showing thanks to the community, says Pastor Latulala Toetu'u of Orland’s Federated Church. On Sept. 22nd, the church chose this traditional means to express kinship, in an event that also contributed significantly to the work of the church.
Some 143 guests were transported to the South Pacific for the evening, to enjoy the fruits of several months of preparation. A 14-member planning committee began work in May, assembling and creating decorations, and arranging for the feast and authentic entertainment.
The “thank you” event turned out to be of mutual benefit. “We are in stewardship season, and this was a very successful fundraiser,” reported Michelle McGehee, church administrative aide and a member of the planning committee.
“We raised in our luau $6,000, including expenses,” said Pastor Toetu'u. “Thanks be to God for people's generous donations!”
Under handmade garlands of hibiscus blossoms and painstakingly woven palm fronds, guests were treated to a sumptuous meal that included pulled Island-style pork and Hawaiian BBQ chicken, served by members of Boy Scout Troop #4 and their leaders. Church Youth Leaders Erin and Steve Emma, along with at least three youth group members, were also there, helping greet, direct, and clean up. “All the youth did a great job!” Federated member Verda Belle Gollnick enthused.
After dinner, there was entertainment on the stage by the Chico Aloha Dancers. Seven dancers performed seven different dances, each with costume changes and Hawaiian music.
“You could say we were entertained ‘royally’,” Gollnick said, adding, “Rumor has it that there is talk of a springtime luau: Stay tuned!”