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Central Union's steady growth in membership reflected the growth and increased sophistication of Honolulu. The change from monarchy to republic to U. S. territory brought business, professional, and military people from the United States mainland, and many of these new residents chose Central Union for their spiritual home. The congregation, originally numbering 337, had tripled in number by 1905, less than two decades after union. Despite its mission activity, the church remained predominately Caucasian at the turn of the century.

After Kincaid's retirement and return to the mainland, the church turned for leadership to the Reverend J. Walter Sylvester, who was able to serve only ten months in 1906 and 1907 before resigning due to ill health. Thus the task of consolidating and sustaining Central Union's growth fell to the Reverend Doremus Scudder. A graduate of Yale, Union Theological Seminary, and Northwestern University (M.D.), Scudder had gone to Japan as a missionary under the ABCFM.79 He was ordained as a Congregational minister there, in Kobe, in 1885 and served at Niigata until 1889. Subsequent missionary work had brought him to Honolulu as superintendent of the Japanese work for the Hawaiian Board of Missions.

Dr. Scudder became pastor of Central Union on October 1, 1907, and entered on his duties with obvious enthusiasm. An indefatigable pastoral caller, Scudder paid home calls on "slightly above 100" parishioners each month during the nine-year span of his ministry in Honolulu. He compiled meticulous membership records showing that people of forty-two denominations and thirty-three "national or racial groups" belonged to the church by 1916.80

Scudder's missionary background and continued interest in missions complemented his congregation's concern with the needs of their community and world. 


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