Where Do You Worship?

Should You Bring The Kitchen Sink?

CONTRIBUTED BY JOELLE YAMADA

One of the hardest things for me about the “moving” military life is having to search AGAIN for a place to worship with my family.  It’s an exhausting and time-consuming process because you generally have to wait a week before you can try a different one.  Whether temple, synagogue, mosque or church, finding a place to go that meets your needs can be tough.  I’ve been here for 7 months and have been to 4 different services.  I’ll tell you about those, but mostly, I’m hoping you’ll comment and tell us where you go and what it’s like.  Maybe we can help each other speed up the search!

So these are the places I’ve attended:

The Harbor — Fridays, 6pm.  Style:  Mildly contemporary.  Format:  Potluck, Coffee Shop time, Service.  Kids:  Room for the kids to play during the service and a class for 3-6 year-olds during the service.

OIC Seventh-day Adventist Church — Saturdays, 9:30am-12pm.  Style:  Traditional.  Format:  Children’s classes & adult class before main service which begins at 11am.  Kids:  Class before and children’s story during the service.

Calvary Chapel — Sundays, 8:30am & 10:30am.  Style:  Contemporary.  Format:  Services happen twice on Sundays with children’s classes running concurrently with main adult service.  Kids:  Have their own service but are welcome with their parents in the main service (rows reserved in the back).

Project 196 — Sundays, 7pm.  Style:  Contemporary.  Format:  No classes, just main service.  Kids:  Welcome to sit with their families — no separate child care.  UNFORTUNATELY, this service is going to be canceled after this Sunday night (Nov 25).

Please tell us where you go and fill us in — even if I’ve already mentioned it!

33 COMMENTS

    • I recently attend a english bible study in Okinawa 611 World Mission Church on Sunday at 9:30am -11am.
      Address: 568 Minamiuebaru Nakusuku-son, Okinawa, 901-2424
      Contact phone number: Sam Bernald # 080-4054-5032; Anna lee # 08064946363

      Sunday bilingual service (jap& eng onstage) : 11 am -1pm

      The church basically is a local church with a “small scale” international ministry. The senior pastor of the church is a old japanese pastor who studied in Hawaii during his college and finished bible school in Australia.
      And the on-stage translator speaks fluent american english, it is easier for english speaker to listen 🙂

    • Im looking for a fluent English speaker or expat, especially a mature female, to meet and help support my dear school friend from California. Her husband was taken il off a cruise ship on April 18 and is in a local hospital ICU. They know no one in Okinawa. She’s staying at the Naha Hyatt. Two daughters are there now but leave Friday. I arrive from USA on April 29 for six days and will stay with her. It would be wonderful to make a local or expat friend who can be a supportive local contact for my dear friend after her daughter’s and I are gone. She and her husband might be stuck in town a long time. His health status is very serious. Please reach out to me if you’re willing to connect on or after April 30. Tell me about yourself and how,you think you can help someone who’s stranded far from home. Thank you.

  1. Abby, I know when we were in Okinawa from 05-08 the Harbor was very active in the community on base and off. We had many events that raised awareness for issues in the unreached parts of the world and many mission trips. They still send mission teams to Thailand at least once or twice a year. I believe they still pursue those same values of a community on mission. “A ship isn’t meant to stay in the Harbor” and the Harbor is a place to grow and go out.

  2. Just looking around on this site and found this page, got nostalgic as I was the worship leader for Project 196 for its 2 year life…sad that we had to cancel the service. My family and I are returning in September and hope to find a new community to worship and share life with…

  3. We are moving to Okinowa soon and I am looking for a church that is involved with the community and is not so insular. Is there any churches like that?

  4. I was wondering if anyone can tell me what time service starts at the LDS church near Futenma? Or a phone number to it so I can call?

  5. Calvary International Church of God in Christ.

    Tue: Praise Team rehearsal @ 6:30pm

    Wed: Bible Study @ 7pm

    Sunday: Sunday School @ 9:30am
    Worship Service @ 11:00pm

    Kids have worship concurrent with adult services.

  6. I’ve been attending the Harbor since arriving on island 15 months ago and I can honestly say that I have not found genuine community like it in all my past churches. It meets Fridays at 6 for dinner and coffee then a contemporary service at 730. Sunday nights it also meets for coffee at 6 and worship at 630. The congregation is mostly young families and military. Great atmosphere and awesome, Christ-centered worship and teaching. Located just outside of Kadena Gate 3.

    http://www.okiharbor.com

  7. Our family just joined New Beginnings near Foster. Some info on the ministry: It is a non-denominational Christian church. Sunday morning service begins at 11. The children are broken up into different age groups so they can be ministered to at their age level. Women’s ministry meets the first Friday night of the month. Men’s ministry meets the third Friday night of the month.

  8. Heather, I don’t know about college age in particular, but Calvary Chapel offers a variety of Womens Bible Studies – they meet at different times during the week to accomodate morning or evening schedules. I’m sure you will find that other young women attend!

  9. Bambi we are also LDS and I would love to know a little more about the ward there. Will you email me ([email protected]) off the site? Thanks!

  10. Hi, Jennifer! You know that the Nice Jewish Girl here had to pipe up. I’m not very religious, however the Rabbi on Camp Foster is pretty orthodox. I know there are Shabbat services each week, and he sends out an email to you (if you’re on the list) to tell you about the week’s Torah teachings. Rabbi (Lt.) Kevin Bemel can be reached at kevin.bemel @ usmc.mil. I’m sure he’d be happy to put you on his weekly email list and you can attend services as you like.

    Also I know I’m bringing my hubby & daughter to a kids’ party & pot luck Hannukah dinner on Friday (12/7) – if you’re close to Foster maybe you’d be interested in joining us and meeting some of the local members of the tribe? 😉 If you’d like to go, email Barb at barbfernandez @ hotmail.com by 12/3 so she knows you’re coming. The dinner is kosher-style dairy, so no meat dishes. Tell anyone else you know who might be interested.

  11. I know from research that there are no synagogues here on Okinawa, but does anyone go to one of the base services? I know there has to be at least a few Jewish families on island!!

  12. Sorry, obvious typo in my previous comment: meant to type in “his sermons”! 🙂 Next time, I’ll use the “preview” function!
    -Lan

  13. Hi there. We go to Keystone Church of the Nazarene located near the intersection of Hwys. 24 and 58. We really enjoy the contemporary music mixed in w/the somewhat traditional Methodist service. Pastor Robert Dunn is a joy to listen to – very down to earth and incorporates practical life aspects to her sermons. There is an 8:15am and 10:45am service on Sundays. A variety of Bible Study classes begin at 9:30 every Sunday. There is a nursery and children’s church for the 10:45am service 3 weeks out of the month. The last week is a family-oriented service where children are encouraged to participate. For more information, here’s their website: http://www.keystonenazarene.org/webpage/home/home.htm
    Good luck!
    Lan

  14. I like the simplicity of our church. We go to Calvary Chapel (a non-denominational Christian church). Pastor Rick Barnett, who makes me laugh, goes through the Bible a few verses at a time – week after week. I almost feel like he’s a reporter who manages to dig up the who, the what and the why of whatever particular piece of ancient text we’re looking at that week. And somehow the things he discovers make it make sense to me and my life. I walk away feeling like I’ve gained something. That makes me wanna come back. The contemporary music, casual dress, laid back atmosphere and in-depth teaching all seem to mesh together to create a meaningful experience that I like. For a closer look at Calvary’s beliefs check out http://www.calvaryokinawa.com/whatwebelieve.htm .

  15. We are LDS, otherwise known as Mormon, and are very lucky that no matter where we go in the world everyone is on the same lesson and learning the same thing. We can call back home and talk to our parents/family about the lesson we had (of course with the time difference we had the lesson the day before) and we all understand what the other is talking about. It is always nice to know that when we move we will just have different people sitting around us and not have to worry about what they will be teaching, if it is different than the last place, or finding a new place to worship. There is a 1 hour sacrament that the family sits through together, then 2 hours of class time. The kids from 18 months up have there own class they go to and the adults have there own classes (1 hour together = Sunday School and 1 hour the men (priesthood) and women (Relief Society) seperate for the class. There are a couple different churches on the Island and you go to the one in your area (There is one by Futenma for Foster, Futenma, and Kinser area; 1 in Awase (Sord of by Toys R Us) that Awase area and Kadena area meet at; and 1 in Okinawa city (by Main City Mall) that Camp Shields on North meet at.). http://www.mormon.org can give you info. on the basic belief and http://www.lds.org is the official church website.

    • Hey! I’m part of a YSA ward in Orlando, Fl. I’ve been trying to grow purple sweet potatoes, but the ones I get from the asian markets wont grow no matter what I do with them, and always wind up just molding up. I think they treat them with something to prevent growth. I was just wondering if you could possibly send me an email letting me know you got this message! It would be really awesome if you could send some of them purple spuds, I would cover shipping 😀

      Thanks,
      –Ryan

  16. We attend All Souls’ Episcopal:
    http://www.allsoulsokinawa.org.

    It is located 5 minutes from Camps Foster and Lester. Worship is a traditional Episcopalian service at 8:00 and 10:00 (family service) on Sundays, with Sunday School for all ages from 9:00-10:00. Children may attend a children’s church during the sermon portion of the 10:00 service. Nursery care is also available. For those who speak Japanese, there is a Japanese translation simulcast (on headphones) during the sermon. Other programs and special events exist as well: weekly coffee hour after the 10:00 service, monthly potlucks, fall festival, Christmas service project, women’s teas, mother’s day brunch, etc. There is also a day school program on MWF for children ages 2-5. If you’re looking for a liturgical worship service (that your pre-reading children can memorize/know what to expect), this is one of your only English-speaking options on island!

    Services also exist on most of the military bases on island.

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