With Labor Day approaching Sept. 6, unions and religious groups are underscoring their common ground on issues of social and economic justice.
Known as "Labor in the Pulpit," their program was launched three years ago by the AFL-CIO and the National Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice, a nonprofit group of religious leaders. More than 400 services were held last year, the union said. At least as many are planned this year, including some in Southern California.
Los Angeles religious leaders such as Episcopal Bishop Frederick H. Borsch have been known for practicing what they preach. For example, they have joined with labor unions in campaigning for contracts for hotel workers and an ordinance requiring Los Angeles city contractors to pay their workers a "living wage."
Meanwhile, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Los Angeles, said that despite a healthy economy, the gap in family income continues to widen. He called for "a strong, active, democratic labor movement."
"Many of the values embedded in the labor movement's search for social justice reflect our own faith values," Mahony said, speaking for the nation's Catholic bishops as chairman of the U.S. Catholic Conference's Domestic Policy Committee. "We seek public policies that protect and promote strong families, expand a stable middle class, create decent jobs, and reduce the level of poverty and need in our society," he said.
The 25th anniversary of an Evangelical Lutheran gay and lesbian ministry, Lutherans Concerned, will be celebrated at 7 p.m. Sept. 10 at Hollywood Lutheran Church, 1733 N. New Hampshire Ave. in Los Feliz. The Rev. Paul W. Egertson, bishop of Southern California's West Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, will preach. The following day at 9 a.m., Pastor Jane Ralph, who was defrocked because of her sexual orientation, will lead a discussion. A Communion service will follow at 3:15 p.m. All events are free. Call (323) 666-0146.
* A three-week, nonsectarian lecture course on Buddhist yoga will be offered by Rosemead Buddhist Monastery, 7833 Emerson Place, Rosemead, beginning at 3 p.m. next Saturday. Classes will emphasize the Indian foundations of Buddhist yoga. Free, but space is limited. Call (626) 288-1210.
* Raksha Bandhan, an ancient Indian festival of protection and pure love, will be observed at 6 p.m. today at the Brahma Kumaris Meditation Center, 1200 N. June St., No. 410, Los Angeles. Free. Call (323) 461-8028 for more details.
* The West Angeles Church of God in Christ, one of the city's largest predominantly African American congregations, has opened a new Web site on the Internet: http://www.westa.org.
* Guitarist Martha Masters will perform at 12:10 p.m. Wednesday as part of the Pasadena Presbyterian Church's "Music at Noon" concert series. Suggested donation is $3. The church is at Colorado Boulevard and Madison Avenue in Pasadena. Call (626) 793-2191.
HIGH HOLY DAYS WORKSHOPS
Before the Jewish Holy Days, several workshops and classes for synagogue members as well as non-Jews, returning Jews and interfaith families are being offered.
Temple Beth El will hold a workshop from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday at 1435 W. 7th St., San Pedro. Free, but reservations are required. Child care is available at a nominal charge. Call (310) 833-2467 for more details.
Temple Judea's final High Holy Days class will meet at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Carlsbad. For details, call (760) 724-8318.
Temple Beth Am will hold a Selihot service at 9:30 p.m. next Saturday, followed by High Holy Day learning with Rabbis Joel Rembaum and Perry Netter. The traditional late-night service will be at 11 p.m. outdoors at the synagogue, 1039 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles. For more information, call (310) 652-7353.
Attorney Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. was honored as Man of the Year by 54 African Methodist Episcopal Churches in ceremonies this week at First AME Church in Los Angeles. The Rev. Mark Whitlock said Cochran has been instrumental in "changing the legal system that has looked at the complexion instead of the composition of an oppressed community."
TURKISH QUAKE RELIEF
Additional religious groups announced relief programs for victims of the Turkish earthquake. The Greek Orthodox Diocese of San Francisco, which includes Southern California, is raising funds. Contact St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Los Angeles at (323) 737-2424. Funds may also be sent to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles in care of Turkey Earthquake Relief Fund, Archdiocesan Catholic Center, 3424 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90010-2241.