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A Cornucopia of Holiday Observances Offered

November 21, 1998|TERESA WATANABE

Southern California congregations will feature free concerts, meditative labyrinth walks, canned food drives and personal testimonies as they observe Thanksgiving next week.

First celebrated in 1621 by the Pilgrims, Thanksgiving symbolizes America's founding tradition of religious freedom more fundamentally than even the Fourth of July, said William Pannell, professor of preaching at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena. Despite today's tendency to link Thanksgiving with turkey and football, those who want to return to its authentic meaning might include not only God in their Thanksgiving but also the Native Americans who taught the Pilgrims how to survive in their new land, Pannell said.

"Freedom and thanksgiving should not be divided," he said. "If they are, you get a tendency toward arrogance and entitlement."

Local Thanksgiving celebrations include the following:

* The Alliance for Spiritual Community will hold a nondenominational interfaith service Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at St. Timothy's Roman Catholic Church, 29102 Crown Valley Parkway, Laguna Niguel. (949) 661-3087.

* Brentwood Presbyterian Church and the Kehillat Ma'arav Synagogue will hold their 14th annual joint celebration Thursday at 8:30 a.m. at the church, 12000 San Vicente Blvd. A breakfast will follow the service. Cost is $3, plus a can of food for the homeless. (310) 826-5656.

* Glendale Adventist Medical Center will sponsor a concert Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Glendale Presbyterian Church, 125 S. Louise St. The celebration will feature remarks by William Pannell of Fuller Theological Seminary and music by the St. Charles Borromeo Choir, Hollywood Brass, soloist Arlene Thomas and organist Ladd Thomas. (818) 409-8100.

* The Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual Interfaith Clergy Assn. of Greater Los Angeles will hold an interfaith service Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Metropolitan Community Church in the Valley, 5730 Cahuenga Blvd., North Hollywood. The service will feature singers and choirs from seven congregations, Christian and Jewish, and offer three personal testimonies about "maintaining a positive, loving stance in the face of hatred and attacks," said the Rev. Jeffrey Pulling. (818) 762-1133.

* South Bay churches will hold their 26th annual interfaith celebration Tuesday at St. Lawrence Martyr Catholic Church, 1900 S. Prospect Ave., Redondo Beach. The observance includes a meditative labyrinth walk at 5:30 p.m., followed by a children's concert, a service and a reception. (310) 374-4950.

* The Wilshire Center Parish Assn. will hold an ecumenical service Thursday at 10 a.m. at First Congregational Church, 540 S. Commonwealth Ave., Los Angeles. The Rev. Ray Simpson, who leads a retreat center for Celtic spirituality on the English island of Lindisfarne, will offer the guest sermon. The association will collect donations of food, clothing and offerings to benefit Hope-Net, its ministry to the homeless. (213) 385-1341.


Storyteller Melea Brock will present "The Family Album--Snapshots of Grace," featuring stories and folk tales about families, friends and faith. Musician and composer Perry Moore will accompany Brock, who has performed for nine years throughout California. The programs will be today at Coast Hills Community Church in Aliso Viejo, Sunday at Bethany Church in Sierra Madre and next Sunday at the Church on the Way in Van Nuys. (626) 795-3282 Ext. 101.

* Rabbi Ruben Huttler will offer a Hebrew reading refresher course Monday at 7 p.m. at the Yeshiva of Los Angeles, 9760 W. Pico Blvd. The review is sponsored by the National Jewish Outreach Program, which is promoting Hebrew literacy throughout the United States and Canada. (310) 772-2485.

* Arizona evangelist Wayman Mitchell will lead "Heal the People," a free healing event today at 7 p.m. at John Adams Junior High School, 2425 16th Ave., Santa Monica. Mitchell has led healing crusades for more than a decade in the United States, Africa, Asia and Australia and written a book about spiritual healing. (310) 829-1741.

* Christmas/Advent fairs will be held at various locations Sunday. Garden Grove United Methodist Church, 12741 Main St., will present its fair after the 9:30 a.m. service. (714) 534-1070.

St. Mark Presbyterian Church, 2100 Mar Vista Drive, Newport Beach, will offer Native American jewelry, African handicrafts and other items beginning at 10:45 a.m. (949) 644-1341.

Beverly Hills Presbyterian Church, 505 N. Rodeo Drive, will feature yule logs, Advent calendars and other items beginning at noon. Suggested donation is $6 for adults and $3 for children. (310) 271-5194.

* The Biola University Student Relations Board will host a Harvest Fest today from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. featuring games, music, hayrides and a petting zoo. The Christian university is at 13800 Biola Ave., La Mirada. (562) 906-4546.


Eckankar will offer a free workshop, "Discover the Mahanta, a Spiritual Guide for Our Time," on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Bodhi Tree Bookstore, 8585 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood. (323) 340-8331.

* The Monte Vista Unitarian Universalist congregation will sponsor an anti-racism workshop, "Creating a Jubilee World," today at 9 a.m. and a related service Sunday at 10:30 a.m. The congregation is at 9185 Monte Vista Ave., Montclair. (909) 626-0520.


Notices may be mailed to Southern California File, c/o Religion Editor, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053 or faxed to (213) 237-4712. Items should arrive at least three weeks in advance and should include all pertinent details.

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