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O.C. RELIGION | ORANGE COUNTY FILE

Giving Retired Baby Boomers a Mission in Life

February 10, 2001|GENA PASILLAS

You've done it: retired early. But now you're staring at 30, 40, maybe 50 years of golf.

Nelson Malwitz is guessing you want something more. The Connecticut resident founded the Finishers Program, an organization designed to give folks in their 40s and 50s a second career as missionaries.

"Christian [baby] boomers retire, then say, 'I worked hard, but what did I do?' " said Dick Palm, a veteran missionary. "So they get into missions."

Finishers, open to all ages, offers all levels of mission opportunities, from local, once-a-week needs to long-term missions abroad. The program has more than 20,000 mission openings.

A two-day forum on the Finishers Program will be held Friday and next Saturday at the First Evangelical Free Church in Fullerton. The event is organized by Palm, a member of the Fullerton church.

The program's goal is to show Christians that they have the natural and spiritual skills necessary to be missionaries.

"Any occupation represents a skill that can be used," Palm said.

The organization then links prospective missionaries with dozens of mission agencies.

Chuck and Marilyn Warner, a retired engineer and retired elementary school principal, have been missionaries in China and Papua, New Guinea. They will share their experiences at the forum.

The conference begins at 4 p.m. Friday. Registration is $59 ($108 for couples), and can be made through the First Evangelical Free Church, 2801 N. Brea Blvd., Fullerton. (714) 257-4390, Ext. 471. www.finishers.org

Sweetheart Deals

The Center for Spiritual Development in Orange will sponsor "Oh Blessed Fire of Love," a Valentine's retreat for couples, this evening. Presented by David Hoover and Sharon Halsey-Hoover, this celebration of God's love features teaching, prayer, sharing and a candlelight meal. The event occurs from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the St. Joseph Center multipurpose room and costs $75 per couple. The center, a ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, is at 434 S. Batavia St. (714) 744-3175.

Couples wanting to take advantage of a preregistration discount have until Valentine's Day to sign up for a Christian Prep program sponsored by St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach. Marriage and family therapist Marcia Stroup and clinical psychologist Keith Edwards will teach couples to improve their communication, manage conflict and increase relationship satisfaction. Cost is $50 per couple before Wednesday; $60 after. The event occurs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 10 and 24. The church is at 600 St. Andrews Road. (949) 574-2236.

Perhaps you want to learn of future love. The Learning Light Foundation in Anaheim is hosting a "Giant Valentine Psychic Fair and Shopping Bazaar" from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today. There will be readings, healing, aura photography, New Age vendors and free lectures. Topics include clairvoyance, Tarot, palmistry, numerology, astrology, past-life regression, massage therapy, Reiki and more. Admission is $2. Readings are $15 for 15 minutes. The center is at 1212 E. Lincoln Ave. (714) 533-2311. http://www.learninglight.org

Meet an Apostle

A rare visit by an apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the Huntington Beach Stake will happen Sunday from 9 a.m. to noon. Elder L. Tom Perry, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, will speak at a conference for the nine congregations that make up the Mormon's Huntington Beach Stake.

"It has been 16 years [since an apostle's visit]," Stake President Bruce E. Miller said. "We love and respect him greatly and look forward to his counsel and direction. This is also a rare occasion to be instructed by one called as a prophet, seer and revelator, and who is 'special witness of Christ.' "

The conference will be held at 8702 Atlanta Ave. in Huntington Beach.

A celebration of African American culture is underway at the First United Methodist Church of Orange. The series features evangelist speakers Elder Charles and Debra Gibson, co-founders of the Holy Spirit Jubilee Ministries. A "diversity of worship" workshop will take place this morning, with a healing and prayer service at 6 p.m. On Sunday, Charles Gibson will speak during services at 10 a.m. The church is at 161 S. Orange St. (714) 532-6363.

Getting Back to Religion

Have you been away from the Roman Catholic Church? "Welcome Home," an invitation to inactive Catholics, will take place at 6:15 p.m. Sunday at St. Cecilia's Church in Tustin. The event promises a pressure-free atmosphere for those who have questions or issues. Sessions continue on Feb. 25, March 11 and 25 and April 28. The church is at 1301 Sycamore St. (714) 544-3250.

Always wondered about Buddhism? Soka Gakki International-USA in Santa Ana will present "The Winning Life," an introduction to Buddhism, at 7 p.m. Thursday and 10 a.m. Feb. 18. The seminar will address courage, relationships, health, prosperity and more. The event is free. Soka Gakki is at 1500 E. Warner Ave. (714) 444-9580.

Religious event notices may be sent to Gena Pasillas at The Times' Orange County edition, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa 92626. They also may be faxed to (714) 966-7711 or sent by e-mail to gena.pasillas@latimes.com

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