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Survey Examines Christian 'Discipleship' Activities


Is going to church enough? One out of every six Americans who attend Sunday Christian services says no and reports getting involved in other activities that nurture spiritual growth, according to a national survey released this month.

About 22 million Americans are believed to participate in the activities, commonly referred to by churches as "discipleship."

According to the survey conducted by the Barna Research Group, discipleship takes many forms, but the most common is through small Bible study groups.

Gender and race were also factors in discipleship efforts. The survey found that women are twice as likely as men to be involved in discipleship. Moreover, African Americans were more likely than white or Latino adults to engage in such activities. Black adults were also the only group that said their churches deem discipleship to be among their highest priorities.


Protesting Chinese occupation of Tibet, a group of monks, nuns and activists will gather at Embarcadero Park in San Diego on Monday to kick off a three-week march along the coast to Los Angeles. At 11 a.m., the Venerable Geshe Tsultim Gyeltsen, the Tibetan teacher and director of the Thubten Dhargye Ling Center in Long Beach, will bless the group. On June 20, the participants are expected to reach Santa Monica, where they will meet a group that is walking from San Francisco. Both groups are expected to come together at a rally outside the Chinese Consulate.


Roman Catholic Cardinal Roger M. Mahony and Auxiliary Bishop Gabino Zavala are expected to join community and labor leaders at an Immigrant Workers' Rights Forum on June 10 at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. The town hall-style gathering will be sponsored by the AFL-CIO, which is calling for major changes in immigration policy, including the adoption of a new amnesty program for illegal immigrants and the repeal of employer sanctions for hiring such workers.

At a news conference earlier this month voicing the church's support for the forum, Zavala said, "We affirm the right of all people to participate fully in the political, social and economic life of American society." He added that members of local parishes would be actively recruited to attend the event. Other supporters of the forum include the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance and United Teachers-Los Angeles. (213) 381-5611, Ext. 23.


Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, founder of the Jewish revival movement called Hineni, will speak twice in the Los Angeles area this week. As a survivor of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, Jungreis was troubled by the apathy of modern Jews and set out to create a Jewish awakening.

On Wednesday, she will discuss "The Committed Life--Welcoming Spirituality Into Our Lives" at 8 p.m. at the Hyatt Westlake Plaza Hotel, 880 S. Westlake Blvd., Thousand Oaks. The talk will conclude the Conejo Jewish Academy's 16th annual lecture series. For reservations, call (818) 991-0991.

On Thursday at 8 p.m., Jungreis will speak at Congregation Bais Naftali, 221 S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles. The event is free and open to the public. For more details, call (323) 931-2476.

* Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, an international teacher and founder of Sahaja Yoga meditation, will present a free lecture at the Wiltern Theatre on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. The Wiltern is at 3790 Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles. (310) 519-3285.

* "The Herstory and Vision of Secular and Spiritual Feminism" is the topic of a colloquium to be held Sunday at 2:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 5450 Atherton St., Long Beach. Expected participants include Laura Janesdaughter of the Temple of Isis; Sharon Sievers, professor of history and women's studies at Cal State Long Beach; and Carl Strandberg, organizational behavior consultant. The event is sponsored by FEASST, a center dedicated to supporting feminist spirituality among all faiths and backgrounds.

* The Archangel Michael Orthodox Bookstore will continue its weekly lecture series Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. with a presentation on St. Helen of Antiquity. Helen Ferrari will tell about the Emperor Constantine's mother, Helen, uncovering the cross of Christ in the 4th century. The bookstore is at 12550 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles. Free. (310) 390-8065.


The San Fernando Valley Interfaith Council is starting another series of Home Interfaith Dialogues. The sessions on consecutive Thursdays will run from June 1 to July 6. The dialogues are open to anyone of any faith who is older than 16. They will be held at the Bahai Community Center, 4830 Genesta Ave., Encino. All sessions begin at 7:30 p.m. There is no fee, but organizers ask that participants commit to attending five of the six sessions. (818) 348-0267 or (818) 718-6460.


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