WAILUKU - Award-winning musicians performed Hawaiian music on a stage set up in a gravel lot.
A car show, food and craft booths, rummage sale and silent auction drew buyers and lookers.
At the last minute, a church member dropped off a red Volkswagen Jetta that was sold as a bonus.
Living Way Church Maui Pastor Greg Dela Cruz (with lei) talks with well-wishers during Saturday’s Rally for da Valley fundraiser for the church, which is located in the old T.K. Supermarket building in Happy Valley.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
The band Mele Pono performs during Saturday’s fundraiser in Happy Valley.
The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo
It was that kind of day Saturday at the "Rally in Da Valley," with a steady stream of people turning out throughout the day to support Living Way Church Maui.
"Good music, good food, supporting a good cause," said Mia Magbual, who was at the event in Happy Valley with her husband and three children Saturday morning.
Magbual works at the nonprofit Neighborhood Place of Wailuku across the street from the church. "Their purpose in the valley is good," Magbual said. "They're a safe place for people to come, especially when we're closed.
"It's a light in the darkness. If the church wasn't here, I don't even want to think about what would happen."
With its landlord facing foreclosure, the church is seeking to raise money to try to buy the property at 399 N. Market St., where the church has been based for most of its nearly 13 years in Happy Valley.
The church is in part of the old T.K. Supermarket building on a lot at North Market Street and Mokuhau Road.
The property is scheduled to be auctioned off Friday at Hoapili Hale, the state courthouse in Wailuku.
Court documents show that property owner Revitalize Wailuku LLC owed First Hawaiian Bank more than $340,000 as of Aug. 2. At that amount, a bidder would need to provide at least 10 percent, or $34,000, in cash or certified check at the time of the auction.
Organized in just three weeks, the rally was meant to help the church's fundraising effort.
On Friday, Pastor Greg Dela Cruz said that the church was closer to its goal after raising about $20,000 in pledges and donations from its approximately 200 members.
Other donations came in the form of entertainment provided by Mele Pono, Lawai'a, Ikaika Blackburn, Richard Hoopii, George Kahumoku, Sheldon & Kevin Brown, Dane Patao and others for Saturday's event.
"We might have 10 or 15 Na Hokus on the stage," Dela Cruz said Saturday, as he sat with others on a stone wall across the street from the music stage, greeting visitors and listening to the music. "It's all friends. We're just connected."
The church also received more than 50 items, many donated by businesses, for the silent auction and an "obscene amount of stuff" for the rummage sale, Dela Cruz said.
By midmorning Saturday, with people showing up in waves, much of the furniture, clothing and other rummage items had been sold, said Ciera Constantino, who was helping out with the sale.
Constantino said that she recently began attending the church, where her sister has been a member for a while.
"The people here are like family, and the pastor is awesome," she said. "I really support what they're trying to do, trying to save the church. It's really good for Happy Valley. They're really welcoming to anybody and everybody."
Cornelia Soberano, a state social worker, echoed sentiments by others at the rally, saying, "I hope it's saved."
"Pastor Greg, he's one of a kind," Soberano said. "He helps those who are disadvantaged, those in the justice system. Without him, many people would be lost. He helps them see how much strength they have and how to access services.
"I hope this place survives. If it does not, it will be a big loss to Maui."
Child & Family Service case management employees Shana Orta, Emily Paredes and Jenn Keau said that the church has become known as a safe haven in Happy Valley.
"It's the best thing here," Orta said. "Pastor Greg knows everybody. Everybody knows if they needs something, that's the place to go."
"Everybody goes there for support and love," Paredes said.
Without Living Way Church Maui, there wouldn't be a church in Happy Valley, Keau said.
"It brings people together in good times, bad times," said Brad Juliano, another Child & Family Service employee. "It really uplifts the community of Wailuku."
Manny Go said that he and other Golden Heart Car Club members displayed their cars at the rally to support the church as it works to stay in Happy Valley.
"It's a real sad story," he said. "We try to do a lot of community events. That's mainly what the car club's all about - giving back to the community."
As he scanned the crowd of at least 100 people at about noon Saturday, Dela Cruz said he could probably name everyone there. "Because I love everybody," he said. "Everybody's community."
"We're a big part of the community in every way," he said. "We do a lot more than worship services."
Dela Cruz said he is aware of the defects in the property the church wants to buy. The building, built in 1946, has flooded and its roof has defects. He lives on the property and hasn't seen anyone looking at it with an interest to buy.
"The building's falling apart," Dela Cruz said. "But we're going to use this as a community project, and the community's going to fix it. We're here for the community."
While he was pleased with the attendance at the rally, Dela Cruz said Saturday that he didn't know how much closer the church was to its fundraising goal.
"Going to do some counting, probably tomorrow," he said.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.