Aloha Central Union Church,

I write to share wonderful news—Central Union Church has called a new Senior Minister and the call has been accepted!

More than two years ago, the Church Council formed and empowered a Senior Minister Search Committee (SMSC) to begin the process of identifying, screening, and vetting senior minister candidates with the ultimate goal of recommending to the Council the candidate best suited to lead our church. After a thorough (and sometimes exhausting) search involving dozens of senior minister applicants, the SMSC identified the Reverend Rushan Sinnaduray (Pastor Rushan) as its top candidate and recommended Pastor Rushan to the Council for consideration. After further vetting by the Council’s Personnel and Pastoral Relations Committee, the full Council voted unanimously to recommend Pastor Rushan to the members of the Church. Information about Pastor Rushan’s background (i.e., education and work experience), his family, and his views on various topics affecting issues facing modern Christianity, our United Church of Christ denomination, and Central Union Church were shared with church members who were also given the opportunity to meet with Pastor Rushan in person to ask him their specific questions. Then, at a Special Meeting of the Congregation held on June 25, 2023, the members of the Church voted overwhelmingly (97% in favor) to call the Reverend Rushan Sinnaduray as our next Senior Minister.

The current planning has Pastor Rushan arriving in Honolulu in early September and taking a couple weeks to get his family moved into the Manse, his children enrolled in school, and himself settled into his office at the Church. It is anticipated that his first Sunday in the pulpit will be in the latter part of September. Much needs to be done to prepare for his arrival and that work is underway. As a congregation, we, too, need to prepare ourselves by prayerfully considering how we can support Pastor Rushan and his family as they acclimate to the culture and customs of Hawai‘i, and also how we can actively support Central Union Church as we enter this new chapter in our collective history.

While we await the commencement of Pastor Rushan’s time as Senior Minister of Central Union Church, it is only fitting that we acknowledge the Reverend Mary Herbig and the masterful work she has been doing among us and for us. Despite the many challenges and the added pressure of being the only ordained minister at the largest UCC church in Hawai‘i, Pastor Mary has continued to demonstrate grace in all she does. Truly, we are fortunate and blessed to have her at Central Union Church. Given the increasingly broad scope of her responsibilities, her existing title as Minister of Congregational Life and Care is no longer accurate. Consequently, the Church Council has redesignated her title as Associate Minister and Acting Head of Staff. Please join me and the rest of the Church Council in expressing our heartfelt gratitude to Pastor Mary.

Warmest Aloha,
Carl J. Schlack, Jr.
Chairperson, Church Council


Rushan Sinnaduray (he/him/his) was born in Sri Lanka, grew up in Aotearoa (New Zealand), and has shared in ministry in a variety of denominations in Aotearoa, Canada, and the United States. Years of experience working in churches as Director of Youth Ministries, Associate Pastor, Senior Pastor, Founding & Lead Pastor have equipped Rushan with strong management, communication, leadership, teaching, and facilitation skills. The places and people he’s encountered have broadened his world view and shaped his perspectives, strengthening his ability to work ecumenically and cross-culturally.

Pastor Rushan is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ (UCC) and will come to us from The Oasis United Church of Christ—the only “Open and Affirming” church in Jefferson City, Missouri. He is involved in our wider church, having served as a member on the UCC Board of Directors and, most recently, as the Assistant Moderator for UCC General Synod 34 in 2023.

He shares, “I appreciate and value the important legacy of Central Union Church in the life of our denomination. I am excited by the wide variety of ministries and mission undertaken by the church and its willingness to explore new ways of sharing God’s love with the world.”