Honoring 50 Year Members and the Nisei 

May 5, 2015

Sunday, May 17, Plymouth celebrates and honors 50+ year members and the 50th anniversary of the Nisei (second-generation) from the Japanese Congregational Church coming to Plymouth. During the 11 am service, the cross, a gift of the Nisei, will be rededicated. Luncheon takes place at 12:30 pm, in Hildebrand Hall. Please reserve your space!

Recently, Plymouth Parish Nurse June Hayakawa Fung, whose parents were part of that historic merger, met with with stalwart, long-time member Starr Hashiguchi and her daughter Mia Hashiguchi Wilson to talk about the Nisei merger with Plymouth Church in 1965.

When asked how the merger came about, she responded, “Our congregation had dwindled. We had meetings to help decide and Plymouth provided input. Rev. Herb Bauck was integral to the process.”

Starr spent all her youth at the Japanese Congregational Church with her grandparents. Later, she married the son of a founding member. “It’s in the family; I was happy to join Plymouth. There were Sunday School and youth programs at Plymouth. The merger took several years. The whole Japanese church was invited, and about 20 of us joined. The Issei (first-generation) chose not to come…which was okay. We were free to worship wherever we wanted to go.”

The Nisei joined in the old church building. The church then held services in the 5th Avenue Theatre during construction of the current building. “I remember sitting in the balcony with Kay Gibson,” said Mia. “We had a lot of fun up there!”

During turbulent times and racial unrest in our nation, Starr remembers feeling very welcomed and attributes much of that welcoming presence to the late John Gibson.

Some of Starr’s favorite memories include being on the Board of Administration, Property and Finance, where she served for 12 years. She also served on the search committee for a new pastor, ‘a very inspirational opportunity’ which culminated in the selection of Rev. Tony Robinson. Starr also ushered, helped with coffee hour, assisted with the junior high group and often picked up children from the Japanese church to attend Plymouth’s youth programs.

The Nisei women started ‘Circle #4,’ a small group of Plymouth women who met monthly. They met with Circle #12 and later combined. “Sylvia Odom was in our group too. We had a wonderful time.”

The Japanese Congregational Church formally presented Plymouth with $1,000 to purchase a new cross for the Sanctuary, to be rededicated Sunday, May 17.

“I’m thankful I stayed at Plymouth. I never had any bad experiences here, only good.” —June Hayakawa-Fung & Janice Randall  

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Celebrate our 50+ Year Members Sunday, May 17, highlighting the Nisei who joined from Seattle’s Japanese Congregational Church. At the 11 am service, we will rededicate the cross, a gift from the Nisei, followed by a buffet luncheon in Hildebrand Hall. Spaces for the luncheon will be sold in the Lounge Sundays, May 3 and 10: $15 per person or $50 per family. There is limited seating for the lunch, which will be catered by FareStart. –Community & Care Board

Topics: Church Life


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