A year-end paddle to wrap up first season

New Hope Canoe Club Ministry Team brings culture of Hawaii to Cape Region
January 5, 2023

The New Hope Canoe Club Ministry Team finished out the year Dec. 30 with a 10-mile paddle in the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal and the Broadkill River.

Paddling the outrigger canoe named Ho'Omanawanui I Ke Kai, which means the perseverance of the sea, were Merrill Johnson, Amy Reese, Tom Ager, Marc Lopez, Barbara Henry and steersman David Schofield, who is club coach.

Other club members turned out to help carry and setup the canoe prior to its launch in Canalfront Park in downtown Lewes.

Schofield moved from Hawaii to Lewes, where his mother Patricia Schofield lives, in November 2021 and began to form the nonprofit New Hope Canoe Club Ministry – Team Atlantic. He's brought a touch of Hawaiian culture to the Cape Region.

While in Hawaii, Schofield became an avid Hawaiian outrigger canoe paddler. The Atlantic team's sister club is the New Hope Outrigger Canoe Ministry in Oahu, which was founded in 2000.

For 16 years, he worked for NOAA Fisheries Service in Hawaii, serving as a marine mammal conservation expert, providing training and rescuing stranded marine mammals throughout the Pacific region.

Before that, he worked for 16 years at the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

Schofield, who is pastor of New Hope International, International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, started the spiritual-based outrigger canoe ministry in the spring of 2022. He helps members learn the art of paddling an outrigger through training sessions and races. Workouts and training are available for people of all skill levels, including those who have never paddled before.

Although the club is faith-based, Schofield said everyone is welcome to get involved. “There will always be time for ministry for those who want it,” he added.

Schofield said he hopes others will embrace Aloha as a way of life through the canoe ministry.

He said the essence of the word is its components: Akahai – kindness; Lokahi – unity; Olu'olu – to be agreeable; Ha'aha'a – humility; and Ahonui – patience.

Before they paddled, club members met in a circle with Schofield. He asked them what their intent was for the New Year. “For me, it's growing this club and spreading this canoe ministry,” he said.

He urged members to focus on simple things such as kindness, humility and patience, which help to create Ohana, which means family to Hawaiians.

For more information on the club, contact Schofield at 808-347-2587.

First year is busy one

Over the past year, the club has grown to more than 40 members who participated in 80 canoe workout sessions starting in May.

The club competed in three sanctioned East Coast Outrigger Racing Association races race in Washington, D.C.; Gloucester, Maine; and Brigantine, N.J.; and one local fun race in Milton.

In addition, a website,, was created; club members participated in the Fourth of July boat parade and the Lewes Christmas Parade, winning a third-place trophy; and partnered with Mason’s Mobility Mission, Delaware Center for the Inland Bays and Marine Education, Research and Rehabilitation Institute with donations of canoe excursions auctioned off at fundraisers, to give back to the nonprofits who have supported the club.

More than 200 middle-school-aged children received outrigger canoe exposure with Biblical and environmental context at weekend programs at Camp Arrowhead; a Bible study group was formed; and prayer circles were held at the club's Cape Henlopen State Park fishing pier launch site focusing on short messages and a scripture of the day with connection to Aloha.

In November, Schofield traveled to Florida with a team from The Crossing Church to provide pastoral care for a post-hurricane relief mission trip to help those in need of assistance.

Three paddler recruitment and orientation meetings have been scheduled: 3 p.m., Saturday, March 18, St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Lewes; 3 p.m., Saturday, March 25, The Crossing Church, Milton; and at 6:30 p.m., Friday, April 7, at IV Drip Bar, Rehoboth Beach.


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