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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA FILE

Officials Call Attention to Continuing Church Arsons

August 05, 2000|LARRY B. STAMMER

The national outcry over arson fires at churches in 1996 and 1997 has abated, but houses of worship continue to be burned and vandalized.

Eleven incidents have been reported since January in South Carolina, and religious leaders in Southern California and around the country are again sounding the alarm and appealing for help in rebuilding burned churches.

"Churches continue to be burned in what seem to be hate crimes. Some [suspects] are caught, arrested and prosecuted. Others are not," said the Rev. Beverly Shamana of Pasadena, the newly elected bishop of the United Methodist Church's California Conference.

In the next week, Shamana said, an interfaith team of rabbis, ministers and congregants will go to South Carolina to join rebuilding efforts.

Meanwhile, the Rev. Terrance G. Mackey Sr., president and executive director of the National Coalition for Burned Churches, has urged religious leaders not to let the issue die.

"We are appealing for help from church leaders, the business sector and the community at large to help get the word out about this. We need everybody's help," he said.

The coalition, based in Charleston, S.C., can be reached at (843) 853-5363.

EVENTS

Two churches will mark the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on Sunday with talks by attorney Ann Fagan Ginger, a graduate of the University of Michigan and University of California schools of law and author of books on nuclear weapons. Ginger will speak at memorial services marking the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings 55 years ago. Her lecture is titled "The Illegality of Nuclear Weapons." The services are scheduled for 11 a.m. at Throop Unitarian Church, 300 S. Los Robles Ave. in Pasadena, and 2 p.m. at the Community Church, at 18th Street and Arizona Avenue in Santa Monica. A potluck dinner at which Ginger will also speak will be held at 5 p.m. at Throop. Free. (626) 296-9034.

* "Coping With Depression" is the subject of a seminar today from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Pasadena First Church of the Nazarene, 3700 E. Sierra Madre Blvd. Clinical psychologist Claudia Owens Shields, who served on the faculty of Azusa Pacific University, where she taught treatment and evaluation of depression to graduate students, will speak. Admission fees are $25 and $20. (626) 963-6683.

* Self-Mastery Worships on the subjects of debt, how to stay out of it, and how to forgive and move beyond the past will be led Wednesday and Aug. 16 and 23 by the Rev. Bonnie Rowsell from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Glendale Church of Religious Science, 2146 E. Chevy Chase Drive. (818) 244-8171.

* Jewish cultures of the Middle East will be celebrated with music, storytelling, Middle Eastern cuisine, dance and artwork at the Mizrahi Festival on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. $8 general admission, $6 students/seniors. (323) 655-8587.

* Evangelist Greg Laurie's 11th annual Anaheim Harvest Crusade will be held at 7 p.m. nightly Aug. 18-20 at Edison Field, 2000 S. State College Blvd., Anaheim. $7 for parking. (800) CRUSADE or http://www.harvest.org.

* Willow Creek Community Church's "Leadership Summit 2000" will be broadcast beginning at 8:30 a.m. Thursday and continuing through Aug. 12 by satellite downlink to Coast Hills Community Church, 5 Pursuit, Aliso Viejo. Speakers will include Bill Hybels, senior pastor of the Willow Creek Church; Ken Blanchard, author of "The One-Minute Manager"; author Gary Smalley; Rich Devos, co-founder and former president of Amway Corp.; and Don Soderquist, senior vice president of Wal-Mart Stores. Registration $95. (800) 570-9812.

MUSIC

The New City Gospel Choir will perform Sunday at 11:45 a.m. at Hope Lutheran Church, 6720 Melrose Ave., Hollywood. $15. Children under 6 are admitted free. (323) 938-9135.

* The third annual "August Concerts on the Patio" will be presented each Sunday evening this month at 7 p.m. by Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 9440 Balboa Blvd., Northridge. Freewill offering. (818) 886-1324.

* Norman Ludwin will perform on the double bass Wednesday at 12:10 p.m. as part of the Music at Noon concert series sponsored by Pasadena Presbyterian Church, 585 E. Colorado Blvd. Free. (626) 793-2191.

PEOPLE

The Rev. Lamont Leonard has been named new senior pastor of West Adams Foursquare Church, also known as New Life Christian Center. He succeeds Bishop Clarence McClendon, who withdrew his affiliation from the local church's denomination, the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. A Los Angeles native, Leonard most recently led New Beginnings Fellowship in San Jose and was instrumental in uniting his predominantly African American congregation with Pastor Al Soto's Family Life Center Foursquare Church in San Jose.

* Catholic Big Brothers Big Sisters of America has named Michael Bowler, a special education teacher in Hawthorne and a resident of Chatsworth, as the 2000 National Big Brother of the Year.

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Notices may be mailed for consideration to Southern California File, c/o Religion Editor, Los Angeles Times, 202 W. 1st St. Los Angeles, CA 90012, faxed to Southern California File at (213) 237-2358, or e-mailed to religion@latimes.com. Items should arrive two to three weeks before the event and must include pertinent details about the people and organizations involved, with address, phone number, date, time and cost, if any. Because of the volume of submissions, we cannot guarantee publication.

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