Ray and Dottie Mills had attended the Waikiki Beach Chaplaincy (WBC) Sunday service on Oahu and believed a similar ministry in Kailua Kona would be a blessing to the community. Ray approached Pastor Chuck Antone, who had been ministering with WBC for 11 years, about becoming the Pastor of the new ministry, Kona Coast Chaplaincy (KCC). Chuck and his wife, Doni, agreed to pastor and direct the new ministry.
In the beginning, KCC met on the lawn of Hale Halawai Park next to the Kona Inn Shopping Village. The first Sunday service was held in November 1989. They ministered at that location for a year and a half with owner Uncle Billy Kimi, letting them use the Village’s electricity. They stored their music and sound equipment at the University of the Nations campus in Kona and borrowed trucks to haul it back and forth.
Then officials from Hawaii County stepped in and ordered KCC out of the park area. The Antones were told the only way they could minister there would be to rent the building and the lawn area once a month. Religious events could not be held there on a weekly basis. They were told if they returned without the rental they would all be put into jail!!!
When Uncle Billy heard of this he invited the church to hold their services in the back of the Village on the lawn area beside the Pacific Ocean. They were elated as the location is absolutely beautiful. After a while, they asked if they could rent a storage area for all the music and sound equipment and Uncle Billy agreed. When Uncle Billy found out a couple months later that this was a non-profit organization and no one was compensated, he took away the monthly charge. Again, the church was elated. Uncle Billy and his family have been very good to the ministry.
For two years Pastor Chuck would fly to Kona from Oahu each Sunday to do the service. But a short time later the Mills and their grown children moved back to the mainland, leaving the Antones with no help or funds to continue on with the ministry. They knew KCC should continue to minister in the Kona area but how? The Antones thought they would have to close the KCC, but God had something else in mind.
The next week a couple in Waikiki gave them enough funds to carry on with the ministry plus move them to Kona to be able to serve full-time. Then in their WBC office, Doni had a telephone call from a cousin in Texas saying they were coming to Kona and wanted to help with the ministry. And it was just a few days later that another couple ministering with WBC offered to rent the Antones’ Waikiki condo. Wow! All in one week God had provided all their needs! They knew God did indeed want the ministry to continue on and even in better ways.
Since those early days the ministry has touched many lives. The focus has always been sharing the Gospel message, especially with those who are visiting the Kona coast. At the same time the Antones and others in the church have ministered in the community, including weekly services at the LifeCare nursing home and helping to start the Eat ‘n Meet feeding program. The Antones have traveled extensively to spread the Gospel in other countries while developing leaders in Kailua-Kona to oversee the ministry in their absence.
At the beginning of 2018 Pastor Chuck passed on the Lead Pastor position to Pastor Bruce Pratt who along with his wife, Khristine had been coming to the church for the past two years. Pastor Bruce accepted the position so that the Antones could extend their Taiwan ministry each year. The Antones had been going there for about four months each year but desire to extend it to six months. The other six months their plan is to continue ministering with the church here in Kailua-Kona.
In September 2018 Kona Coast Chaplaincy officially changed its name to Kona Coast Fellowship. The name change reflects the way God has joined together not just those in Kailua-Kona, but our extended fellowship all over the world. Hawaii is the most remote place in the world, yet the love of God through Jesus Christ erases all the distance and draws us close.