White Gifts 2023

present with bow and text that reads WHITE GIFTS

Why White Gifts?
Some say it all began about 1,000 years ago in the mighty kingdom of Cathay – where there ruled a rich and powerful king called Kubla Khan. Unlike many kings, Kubla Khan was generous and wise. He treated the rich and the poor alike and was especially kind to children. One year, his subjects decided to hold a great birthday party for him to honor him as their king. They knew that he treated all his people the same, so they decided that all the gifts, to be presented, would be wrapped in white so they would all look the same.

On the king’s birthday, some were able to bring only a handful of rice – but it was wrapped in white. Others brought beautiful ivory and precious jewels, but these too were wrapped in white. All the gifts looked the same, and when the king unwrapped them he appreciated them all equally, because he knew that each gift was given with the same degree of love and devotion as the next. On White Gifts Sunday, when we present our white gifts during worship, we will follow this spirit of equality and devotion as we honor the birth of the King of Kings, the Christ-Child, by giving to him what we can. And we know that he will use our gifts to help others, regardless of their station in life, because he loves us all the same, completely and unconditionally.

christmas pageant people are dressed up on chancel of sanctuary

The traditions we at Central Union Church have held dear for many generations had to be put on hold indefinitely or substantially revised to accommodate safety precautions and concerns during the pandemic. We adapted our annual White Gifts project so that we could still carry out our mission of providing much-needed Christmas gifts for the social services agencies and ministries we have faithfully partnered with for decades, enabling them to offer Christmas gifts to the people they serve. The agencies enthusiastically and unanimously indicated a strong preference for this “new” way of doing White Gifts — specifically leaving all gifts unwrapped. They are thrilled that they are now able to indicate the specific needs of the people they serve (every agency serves a different demographic) and know that the gifts their agency receives are appropriate for the current needs of their specific population.

The majority of White Gifts go to adults and youth who are homeless or in transition due to domestic violence, injustice, and/or circumstances beyond their control. Some gifts go to elderly shut-ins. The importance of these gifts cannot be overstated. Every year we receive acknowledgement and thanks from these agencies, in the form of letters, cards, photos, and/or annual reports.

If you wish to participate in the White Gifts project, we invite you to make a monetary donation!

You may donate by cash or check, made payable to Central Union Church. On the memo line, please write White Gifts.

Mail it to:
Central Union Church
Accounting Office
1660 S. Beretania Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96826

You may also donate online through our website. Just click the “GIVE” button to get to our Tithe.ly giving form. In the “To:” field, click to view the dropdown menu and select “White Gifts”.

Please submit your monetary donation before December 10!

We will hold our much-loved Christmas Pageant on December 17; however, there will not be the typical “parade of gifts” as in pre-pandemic times.

Reminder: We are NOT accepting any items for gifts, only monetary donations. This also saves you from having to shop, wrap, and wonder if you are buying the right gifts! All gifts will be pre-sorted according to each agency before White Gifts Sunday.

Mahalo for helping us to bring Christmas joy to the most vulnerable in our community. God bless you all!

—CUC Community Ministry