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October 14, 1995|JOHN DART

One month after being crowned Miss America in 1992, Leanza Cornett stopped at Hope Lutheran Church in Hollywood to speak at the congregation's first AIDS Memorial Service. In the beauty contest finals, she had said she would seek to advance public knowledge and care for the fatal disease if she won the title.

Cornett, who appeared at that church service with the late Linda Luschei, the HIV-positive co-founder of Women at Risk, will be back in the church at 10:30 a.m. Sunday for the Fourth Annual Memorial AIDS Service.

The theme of Hope Lutheran's service will be the small victories that occur amid pain, sickness, loss and isolation, said Rick Rose of the church's AIDS Care Team.

"These [victories] include incredible support groups, an unwavering sense of unity and compassion, medical advancements and sustained health for many long-term survivors," Rose said.

The service will also feature former rock musician Robert Fleischman performing songs including "Don't Let Anyone Tell You That You Don't Have a Prayer." The speaker will be the Rev. Joseph Gilbert, who heads the AIDS Project Los Angeles' spiritual advisory committee.

Pastor Mark Rasbach said that the congregation at 6720 Melrose Ave. is a church of community action. "We are as diverse as the city itself, and we embrace everyone who is tackling any challenge in their lives," he said.

On sensitivity to the issue of AIDS, however, the Lutheran congregation is not alone in the religious community.

* Episcopal Bishop Frederick Borsch has asked Episcopalians in Southern California to attend one of five AIDS Masses to be held in Southern California at 4 p.m. Sunday. Borsch will preside over the liturgy at the Cathedral Center of St. Paul, 840 Echo Park Ave. Other Masses are scheduled at St. Clement's By-the-Sea Church, San Clemente; St. Michael's Church, Riverside; St. Luke's Church, Long Beach, and Trinity Church, Santa Barbara.

* A special forum, "Living With AIDS," was held Thursday at Leo Baeck Temple in West Los Angeles under the sponsorship of the Mothers Activists Group of Los Angeles Jewish AIDS Services.

* Paulist Father Jerry Sullivan will celebrate a Mass and anointing for persons living with AIDS/HIV on Oct. 21 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, 10750 Ohio Ave., West Los Angeles.


* Mother Teresa of Calcutta will be presented with a lifetime commitment award Friday night at the Beverly Hilton Hotel by the Los Angeles-based Noel Foundation. Awardees also include Mary Robinson, the first woman president of Ireland, and Helen Suzman and Adelaide Tambo, South African women who were active in the fight to end apartheid. The $350-a-plate fund-raising dinner will benefit the United Nations Development Fund for Women and other projects. Information: (310) 226-3016.

* Comparative religions expert Huston Smith will lecture on the Native American Church at 11 a.m. on Oct. 22 at the Philosophical Research Society, 3910 Los Feliz Blvd., Los Angeles. His classic text, "The Religions of Man," was updated in a recent edition, titled "The World's Religions." The suggested donation is $5. Information: (213) 663-2167.

* The Rev. Frank M. Alton will be installed Oct. 22 as pastor of Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 3300 Wilshire Blvd. Formerly an associate pastor at Bel-Air Presbyterian Church and most recently engaged in a ministry in Mexico City, Alton will be installed in rites at 4 p.m., conducted in English, Spanish and Korean in recognition of the multicultural community around the historic church. Organized in 1888 in Downtown Los Angeles, the church built its imposing structure on Wilshire Boulevard in 1929.

* The Rev. Dusty Pruitt of Long Beach, who fought court battles for the rights of lesbians to serve in U.S. military forces, will preach at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at the Metropolitan Community Church for All the Saints, 3621 Brunswick Ave., in the Atwater Village section of Los Angeles. Information: (213) 665-8818.


* Focusing on problems affecting African American children, the Greater Bethany Community Church in South-Central Los Angeles will host a daylong conference next Saturday to "strengthen families and preserve our children." Dr. Reed V. Tuckson, president of Drew University Medical Center, will give the keynote speech at the conference, which starts at 9 a.m. The Rev. Noel Jones, pastor of the growing host congregation at 8422 S. Hoover St., will speak on "the black male as an endangered species." Free immunization for children and parents will be provided by Centinela Hospital. Information: (213) 753-8980.

* Six panelists will address the issue of domestic violence, especially as it affects children, at an open forum 3 p.m. Sunday at First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles, 2936 W. 8th St. The panel includes two physicians and Donna Wills, head deputy for the Los Angeles district attorney's Family Violence Division. A $10 donation will be requested. Information: (213) 382-7022.

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