A multi-faith religious coalition of bishops, priests and rabbis will gather Sunday night at All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena to speak out against Proposition 22, the ballot initiative that would ban same-sex marriages in California. The event, billed by organizers as a "teach-in," is open to people of all faiths who are interested in learning about the Limit on Marriage initiative, also known as the Knight initiative for its sponsor, state Sen. William "Pete" Knight (R-Palmdale).
Leaders expected to attend include the Rev. Mel White, Laguna Beach pastor and co-founder of Soulforce, a gay rights group; the Rev. James Lawson of Holman United Methodist Church; Rabbi Denise Eger of Temple Kol Ami; Rabbi Steven Jacobs of Temple Kol Tikvah; Methodist Bishop Roy Sano; the Rev. Ignacio Castuera of Community Methodist Church; the Rev. Madison Shockley of United Church of Christ; Episcopal Bishop Chester Talton; and Lutheran Bishop Paul Egertson.
The Rev. Ed Bacon, rector of All Saints Church, said the new religious coalition was formed to show supporters of the initiative that God loves all, and "that includes gay and lesbian people."
On the other side of the initiative campaign are several denominations and religious groups, including the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Assemblies of God Church, the Muslim-American Voter Assn. and several Baptist, Nazarene, Wesleyan, evangelical and Pentecostal congregations.
All Saints Church is at 132 N. Euclid Ave. in Pasadena. The conference takes place from 6 to 9 p.m.
Congregations from 18 Christian denominations will meet Sunday at the First African Methodist Episcopal Church of Los Angeles for a Millennial Ecumenical Celebration. The prayer service, "Eighteen Houses Under One Roof!" is part of the annual observance in Southern California of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The Rev. Cecil "Chip" Murray, senior pastor of First AME Church, will be host of the service, and the Roman Catholic archbishop of Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, is expected to deliver the sermon. The theme for the Week of Prayer is "Praised Be God Who Has Blessed Us in Christ and Sealed Us in the Spirit." First AME is at 2270 South Harvard Blvd. in Los Angeles. The service begins at 4 p.m. and is sponsored by the Southern California Ecumenical Council.
An exhibit of 100 photographs documenting religious life in Los Angeles will remain on view at USC until Tuesday. Paris-based photographer Jerry Berendt explores the diversity of religious life in his show, "On Common Ground: Los Angeles as a Microcosm of the World's Religions." On Tuesday at 3:30 p.m., the university will hold a closing reception with Berendt and a conversation with Robert Bellah and Rabbi Susan Laemmle. Bellah, professor emeritus of sociology at UC Berkeley, and Laemmle, USC dean of religious life, will discuss "Reflections on Religious Pluralism." Both the exhibit and reception will take place in the Helen Lindhurst Fine Arts Gallery on the first floor of Watt Hall at USC's School of Fine Arts. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call (213) 740-6110 or (213) 740-8562.
South African church leader the Rev. Desmond Hoffmeister is scheduled to speak at the First Baptist Church of North Hollywood on Sunday at 5 p.m. on "Reconciliation and the Mission of Christ." Hoffmeister served as the general secretary of the Baptist Convention of South Africa and participated in that country's truth and reconciliation process. He is now scholar in residence at the American Baptist Seminary of the West in Berkeley. First Baptist Church of North Hollywood is at 11210 Otsego St. in North Hollywood. For information, call (818) 763-4356.
* The Rev. Claudia Highblaugh, chaplain and associate director of ministerial studies at Harvard Divinity School, will visit the Claremont School of Theology on Thursday and lecture on the legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The lecture will be held in the school's Kresge Chapel at 7 p.m. and is free to the public. A community dinner will be held before the address in the Haddon Conference Center at 5:30 p.m. Reservations are required for the dinner, which costs $10. For reservations, call Sharon Thompson at (909) 626-3521. The Claremont School of Theology is at 1325 N. College Ave. in Claremont.