Religion briefs 11/1/03

Saturday, November 1, 2003

Maple Methodist Church to hold bazaar Nov. 8

Maple United Methodist Church will hold its annual holiday bazaar from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 8 at the church. The bazaar will feature hand-crafted holiday items, a sweet shop and "Mom and Pop's" kitchen serving breakfast and lunch.

A silent auction will feature a youth-sized antique car and tractor quilt, a crocheted baby sweater set, cedar bird feeder, a deacon's bench and other items.

Area man begins work with poor in Jamaica

Just months after Stephen Keusenkothen was ordained a priest in the Claretian order, he has begun work among the poor in rural Jamaica. Claretian missionaries are an order of 3,000 priests and brothers whose ministry focuses on social concerns, justice issues, peace and the environment.

Keusenkothen is the son of Gene and Laverne Keusenkothen of Kelso, Mo. He was ordained in July at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Chicago.

Ministry seminar Nov. 6,7 at Osage Centre

Ministry Indicators is sponsoring a ministry summit for pastors to learn how to become more efficient and effective in their roles as church leaders. Speakers include the Rev. Dale Burke, pastor of First Evangelical Free Church in Fullerton, Calif., the revs. John H. Rice, Steve Tippin and Scott Keller and Dr. Vyron Yount. The event also includes a question-and-answer session with leadership coach Barry Winders of Jackson. Music will be provided by Robyn Hosp of Jackson. Registration fee is $85.

For information, or to register, contact Winders at 239 Cathy Drive, Jackson, Mo. 63755 or online at www.ministryindicators.com.

Church to hold fall mission festival

Trinity Lutheran Church in Friedheim will hold a fall mission festival, Nov. 9 at 9:30 a.m. The speaker will be the Rev. Dr. Stuart W. Brassie, mission and ministry facilitator and coordinator for congregational services for the Missouri district of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

Brassie helps churches to develop evangelism, stewardship and ministry planning programs.

Group to perform at Scott City church

Crimson Gold, a group that has been contracted to perform at Silver Dollar City in Branson, will perform at 10 a.m. Nov. 9 at Father's Arms Fellowship in Scott City.

Baptist school appeals voucher block over gays

DENVER -- A private Baptist school will appeal a decision by Denver-area officials to reject its voucher program application because the school would expel homosexuals.

Rodolfo Gomez, principal of Silver State Baptist School in Lakewood, said the separate rulings this month by Denver Public Schools and Jefferson County officials were unfair and contradicted the purpose of the Colorado state voucher plan.

Under the state program, a school board can reject a private school's application if it advocates or fosters unlawful behavior or teaches hatred of a person or group. Silver State's discipline policy requires automatic dismissal for premarital sex, homosexuality and "sexual perversion."

Gomez said the school has not had an openly gay student during its 39-year history, but if an openly homosexual person did enroll, he or she would be counseled about biblical teaching on same-sex relationships before a decision is made regarding expulsion.

"Because we don't have a history, I would say we would treat it like other students caught with a smoking problem," Gomez said.

Catholic-Orthodox talks reach partial accord

WASHINGTON -- The official dialogue between Roman Catholic and Orthodox leaders in North America announced partial agreement on a doctrinal issue that has divided the two Christian branches for nearly 1,000 years.

The groups issued a joint statement Tuesday about the wording of the Nicene Creed, which is recited in all Orthodox and Catholic churches.

The Orthodox insist on the original Greek text from the Council of Constantinople (A.D. 381), which speaks of "the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father." In 1014, the papacy added "and the Son" ("filioque" in Latin) after that phrase, despite opposition from Eastern churches.

The creedal change and the exercise of papal power without church-wide agreement were major issues in the "Great Schism" between Catholicism and Orthodoxy that was formalized in 1054.

Evangelicals hand out Halloween tracts, treats

GARLAND, Texas -- Halloween has become the busiest time of year for publishers of Christian literature, or tracts, as evangelicals focus outreach efforts on the holiday.

The American Tract Society, a 178-year-old religious publisher based in the Dallas suburb of Garland, will distribute an estimated 3.5 million Christian tracts, or pamphlets, this Halloween season.

"It's a natural opportunity because people are coming to your door, instead of you having to approach them," said Dan Southern, president of the organization and a former crusade director for the Rev. Billy Graham.

Good News Publishers in Wheaton, Ill., expects to distribute 1.2 million Halloween tracts.

"A lot of Christians feel that Halloween is a dark holiday and has satanic overtones," said Erin Charles, the literature ministries manager for Good News. "What we like to do is take something that is negative and turn it into a positive by sharing the Gospel that way."

Many evangelicals give out the pamphlets with candy or have their children offer them as thanks for the treats they receive going door-to-door.

Conservative movement stresses Jewish law

DALLAS -- The head of the arm of Conservative Judaism representing congregations said the movement must do more to inspire members to follow Jewish law, such as keeping kosher and lighting Sabbath candles.

Rabbi Jerome Epstein, executive vice president of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, said he was forming a committee of clergy and lay people to help congregations encourage greater observance among Jews.

Epstein made the announcement Tuesday at United Synagogue's biennial convention in Dallas. The group represents about 760 synagogues.

-- From staff, wire reports

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