In what many consider to be a true work of God, Cornerstone Fellowship and The Gathering merged to become one church. Its new name is GracePoint Church. The merged church met together for the first time on May 23, 2021.
“Merging was not even on my radar last fall,” said James Shiroma, who pastored The Gathering prior to the merge and is now the lead pastor of GracePoint Church. Shiroma said that both churches were doing well on their own and did not need to merge.
“However, over the last few months, we have seen God change people’s hearts, including mine,” Shiroma said. “What we thought were barriers were really not barriers. God revealed through people and circumstances that He is directing this merge. Because God is bringing two significant churches together like this, it is becoming more evident that He has a great purpose for GracePoint Church.”
Shiroma who is the founding pastor of both Cornerstone Fellowship and The Gathering credits Pastor Travis Laney (Cornerstone’s interim pastor at the time) for being the catalyst for this merge. Shiroma said that Pastor Laney first approached him last summer about Cornerstone and The Gathering merging.
“I did not think it was a good idea when Travis first brought up the idea to me,” Shiroma said. “But Travis was very persistent because he strongly believed that merging was part of God’s plan.”
“I have never seen anyone so selfless and sacrificial like Travis. It would have been easy for Travis to have seen all that he did leading Cornerstone forward and decide to stay. Instead, Travis worked hard to make sure the merge happened and that the church was in good shape for me to take over.”
This past February, Shiroma entered a series of many discussions with Cornerstone leaders, leaders from The Gathering, and members from both churches. These discussions led to the eventual merge between the two churches.
Shiroma said that the process has been exciting and refreshing for people from both churches as leaders are working well together, people from both churches are building relationships, and that there is an even stronger vision to reach the community, reach Hawaii, and reach the nations with the gospel.
“My prayer is for God to use GracePoint Church in a powerful way,” Shiroma said, “Besides reaching our community and the nations, my prayer is also that we teach the Bible well, raise disciples, and raise up leaders to be sent out to make a gospel impact in Hawaii and around the world.”