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Sunday, April 20, 2014         

Religion Stories

Social media has been buzzing for weeks with jokes about how Easter shares the calendar this year with the pot lover's highest holiday: April 20, or 420 in stoner lingo.

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. » Now that he's retired, Mariano Rivera says he misses spring training and his Yankees teammates, but baseball doesn't compare with doing God's work.

In the new movie "Son of God," Jesus is played by Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado, whose appearance has been compared to Brad Pitt and a young Marlon Brando and who has inspired a Twitter hashtag of "Hot Jesus."

WASHINGTON » Hawaii surfer Bethany Hamilton got a standing ovation and President Barack Obama reaffirmed that freedom of religion is a central tenet of U.S. diplomacy at the annual National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. » Bill Nye "The Science Guy" is set to visit Kentucky to debate evolution and biblical creation with the founder of the Creation Museum.

VATICAN CITY » Pope Francis has warned that priests can become "little monsters" if they aren't trained properly as seminarians, saying their time studying must be used to mold their hearts as well as their minds.

The Hawaii Sacred Choir, composed of both children and adults -- ranging in age from 7 to 73 -- will perform a free concert at 3 p.

Going to church, temple or any house of faith on a regular basis may take care of the soul, but the Rev. Wally Fukunaga, founder of the Sunrise Ministry Foundation, said his organization is trying to "broaden the landscape even more" and give the spirit a playground in which to frolic.

Instead of dreading the darkest days of the year, Neolithic pagans came to realize that the winter months would usher in longer days of sunlight — so vital to their sustenance — and they started celebrating the coming light with traditions still treasured during Christmas today.

MAR GIRGIS MONASTERY, Egypt >> There was no mention of churches torched or Christians killed, but the prayer neatly written on a tiny piece of paper and placed atop an icon of St. George in the chapel of a desert monastery left no doubt about the growing fear and despair of Egypt’s Coptic Christians.

Yes, a victory for Mitt Romney on Tuesday would have been the ultimate sign that Americans accept Mormons — that a tradition until recently considered a cult throughout the evangelical world, unable to shake its association with long-discarded polygamous ways, has come to seem pretty normal.

Pieper Toyama, head of school at Pacific Buddhist Academy, will receive The Interfaith Alliance Hawai'i's "Flame of Hope Award" at the organization's 10th annual Awards Celebration and Dinner on Nov. 18 at Honpa Hongwanji Hawaii Betsuin.

The pious, compassionate side of St. Marianne Cope is well known with all the publicity surrounding her newly declared sainthood, but a play to be staged next month reveals her feisty side.

HOUSTON » For three straight weeks, high school football players in a small Southeast Texas town took the field by bolting through large red-and-white banners that hollered the praises of Jesus Christ.

ST. LOUIS » American nuns described as dissenters in a Vatican report that ordered an overhaul of their group said Friday they will talk with church leaders about potential changes but will not compromise on the sisters' mission.

The Rev. Patrick Killilea always imagined he would live here in South Coast until the end of his career. Killilea, affectionately known as Father Pat among his parishioners, has spent the past 13 years in Fairhaven and has only had two assignments outside the area since he was ordained in 1969.

Republican Mitt Romney is about to become the first Mormon nominee for U.S. president on a major party ticket. That will give them a chance like no other to explain their tradition to the public.

The Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, which brought the first Catholic missionaries to Hawaii in 1827, formally merged its Hawaii chapter with a mainland contingent this week to expand its resources and invigorate its ministries.

Christian, Buddhist, Baha'i, Jewish and Unitarian congregations are planning a Thanksgiving service under one roof to recognize 50 years of neighborliness in a community proud of its diversity of faith traditions.

They will be hungry and thirsty for an entire month, feel low on energy and even have to watch their language.

The newly formed Aloha Church, a nondenominational ministry, will hold its first service Aug. 7 at the Koko Marina 8 Theatres in Hawaii Kai.

An element of sobriety underlies the gaiety of summertime obon festivals, one of the most colorful, popular traditions of the year with the profusion of dances at Buddhist temples statewide.

The Waipahu United Church of Christ was formed 50 years ago through the merger of the predominantly Filipino Waipahu Evangelical Church and the Waipahu Community Church, whose membership was mostly Japanese.

Love is the primary ingredient in Kaumakapili Church's 40th annual benefit luau today, featuring Hawaiian food made from classic recipes that have been handed down by the kupuna over the generations.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu is moving forward with its Homeless Affordable Housing Plan, which aims to provide 720 living units for the poor by the end of 2013, spokesman Patrick Downes said.

Scott Sonoda, an outreach pastor with First Assembly of God-Red Hill, knows what it's like to hit the bottom and feel beaten by despair.

The 15th Annual Honpa Hongwanji Hawaii Betsuin Golf Tournament will be held Aug. 11 at the Ala Wai Golf Course as a fundraiser to maintain the Buddhist mission's youth and educational programs.

Organist and teacher Katherine Crosier of the Lutheran Church of Honolulu is offering a free PipeWorks program to introduce students to the pipe organ from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 9.

The Mililani Assembly Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, at 239 Palii St., will host the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ 2011 District Convention, beginning Friday at 9:20 a.m. All convention sessions, consisting of seven three-day events until Aug. 14, are open to the public and are free.

As part of a national initiative to combat anti-Muslim bigotry, representatives of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths will give readings from their sacred texts and offer prayers under the same roof during a special service tomorrow.

If you knew you only had one month to live, what would you do differently?

Peter Makari, a Middle East missions executive for United Church of Christ, will speak today on using economic leverage to pressure Israel into ending its controversial occupation and settlement of what is considered Palestinian territory under international law.

The Episcopal Diocese of Hawaii recently completed a $1 million renovation of Camp Mokuleia, formerly a favorite venue for retreats, family reunions and vacations.

The most controversial point so far in Gov. Neil Abercrombie's 90-day plan to address homelessness, announced May 17, is one that discourages churches and other organizations from feeding homeless people in public areas because it enables them to continue living on the streets and in parks instead of finding permanent shelter.

Reminiscent of the Hawaii custom of throwing lei onto the waves while scattering the ashes of a loved one, the Buddhist ritual of sending out to sea a candle-lit lantern carrying a prayer or message has struck a chord in people in search of solace.

Small government, helping the poor and justice for the common people are some of the goals of the Catholic Worker Movement, whose back-to-the-earth message has been introduced to Hawaii this month with the first issue of an online newspaper.

Hawaii's diversity of ethnicities, religions and cultures had a profound effect on dozens of foreign exchange students who are completing a year of study in Hawaii high schools.

The Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii presented a check for $45,000 to the Japan America Society of Hawaii Tuesday to support relief efforts by the Japanese Red Cross Society following the earthquake and tsunami in March.

Father Michael Lapsley, maimed by a mail bomb for his protests of apartheid in South Africa, says he is more of a priest with no hands than if he had two hands.

Last year, John Burrett and about 50 other men from the Waipahu branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hauled out several truckloads of bulky trash from Waipahu Cultural Garden Park and vowed to make it an annual project.

Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Yom Ha­Shoah in Hebrew, tomorrow pays tribute to the 6 million Jews killed in German concentration camps more than 60 years ago.

The 60th annual National Day of Prayer will be celebrated Thursday at the state Capitol rotunda and at Kapolei Regional Park.

As the first beams of sunlight peek over the edge of Punchbowl crater tomorrow, a thousand people are expected to join with Christians around the world on Easter Sunday in rejoicing that Jesus Christ has risen.

Palm Sunday tomorrow sets the stage for the significant Holy Week events that encompass the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter, the ultimate celebration of the year for those of the Christian faith, said the Rev. Ruth Peterson of the Joy of Christ Lutheran Church in Pearl City.

Chabad of Hawaii is presenting an evening of Jewish music by renowned master violinist Lior Kaminetsky next Saturday at 8 p.m. on the ground floor of the Ala Moana Hotel.

To the secular world, the Jewish celebration of Passover may seem linked to Easter because these holidays occur about the same time, and Christianity is rooted in Judaism. But that's where the similarity ends,says Rabbi Peter B. Schaktman of the Temple Emanu-El of Honolulu.

Robert Wong grew up following his father around Manoa Chinese Cemetery as he took care of the graves dotting the tranquil valley some 40 years ago, showing respect for the headstones that other kids might have found tempting for a game of hide and seek, he said.

Survivors of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami are facing the epic problem of how to dispose of, yet honor, the bodies of thousands of loved ones who perished in the natural disaster.

International evangelist Krish Dhanam will give the keynote address at the 32nd annual Hawaii Prayer Breakfast at 7 a.m. April 8 at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Coral Ballroom. The public is invited.

The sign of the cross was drawn on foreheads with ashes this week on Ash Wednesday as many churches began observing the 40 days of Lent, the season in which Christians fortify their spiritual lives for Easter.

Some former members of the Calvary Episcopal Church in Kaneohe have started their own congregation in Kailua called Christ the Foundation Anglican Church, said David Chung, president of the church's board of directors.

Legalized gambling is not the answer for Hawaii's debt-ridden economy, say religious leaders who joined an organized effort to defeat 17 gaming-related bills introduced this legislative session.

While Kawaiaha'o Church has the utmost respect for the ancestral bones buried on its grounds, its Christian doctrine takes priority over ancient Hawaiian cultural beliefs that insist that remains should not be disturbed, says Kahu Curt P. Kekuna, the church's senior pastor.

Dr. Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi of India, will give a series of lectures in Honolulu on peace in relation to the continuing unrest in the Middle East and North Africa.

After advocating for same-gender marriage and gay rights for 41 years, Tim Earhart, president of Dignity USA-Honolulu, said the final passage Wednesday of the civil-unions bill by the state Senate was an unequivocal victory.

When Christianity reached Tonga in the 1800s, the gospel of Jesus Christ replaced worship of the Great White Shark, the Flying Fox and other symbols of a greater life force.

Dr. and Master Zhi Gang Sha, a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine in China and Canada, is holding a free Soul Healing Day and blessing Wednesday from 7 to 10 p.m. in the McKinley High School auditorium.

Six Hawaii inmates in private prisons in Arizona are suing the state of Hawaii and the prison operator for allegedly violating their constitutional rights by denying them free exercise of their native Hawaiian religious practices.

Registration is being accepted for a "Freedom from Depression" seminar, March 4-5 at Pacific Islands Bible Church in Mililani.

Eight films exploring topics ranging from family relationships to baseball and the Holocaust are featured in the ninth annual Temple Emanu-El Kirk Cashmere Jewish Film Festival, today through Feb. 20 at the Doris Duke Theatre at the Honolulu Academy of Arts. The event is co-sponsored and curated by the Academy of Arts.

The most challenging problem the Rev. Al Miles faces in dealing with domestic violence among churchgoers is the denial that the problem exists.

How do Buddha's teachings on inner peace translate into world peace?

Interfaith Conversations Windward is sponsoring "Ministering to the Cancer Survivor" Monday at Pohai Nani in Kaneohe.

Start by cleaning your house to prepare for the lunar Chinese New Year on Thursday.
It's the way to sweep away yesterday's rubbish and clear a path for prosperity to enter unhindered, says Clarence Lau, a veteran feng shui consultant and Chinese lunar astrologer in Honolulu.

There is never any justification for expressing anger, says a Jewish spiritual mentor whose parents were survivors of the Holocaust.

The Church of the Crossroads has long commemorated the work of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. by honoring peacemakers instead of seeking redress through anger and violence, the Rev. Kyle Ann Lovett said Monday.

To honor her work toward a just and peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and her service to seniors, Margaret Brown is this year's recipient of the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Peacemaker Award, presented by the Church of the Crossroads.

The Pacific Justice & Reconciliation Center is inviting the public to attend the 18th annual Hookuikahi-Reconciliation Events starting Friday through Jan. 17 at various sites.

Bishop Larry Silva and Bishop Thomas Okano will take part in a discussion on "Contemplation and Practice for Peace and Justice: Buddhist and Catholic Traditions" at 2 p.m. next Saturday in downtown Honolulu.

The expression "ringing in the New Year" takes on added meaning when Buddhist priests ring a giant bell 108 times during "hatsumode," the first visit of the year to a Shinto shrine or Buddhist temple.

The Hawaii Kotohira Jinsha-Hawaii Dazaifu Tenmangu temple, at 1239 Olomea St. in Kalihi, invites the public to participate in centuries-old traditions to welcome the Year of the Rabbit.

The classic Nativity scene of Jesus' birth in a manger is a cultural icon at Christmas, but "it's not just a fairy tale," says the Rev. Ruth Peterson, pastor of the Joy of Christ Lutheran Church in Pearl City. "It's something we believe happened in a real time and in a real place.

Hundreds of children and their parents walked through the dark and found a spot on a long stone wall along Manoa Road, under a dripping canopy of huge trees, to be transported back in time to a stable in Bethlehem -- where a baby was born to Mary and Joseph in a manger, surrounded by animals, angels, shepherds and three wise men.

Long before Dec. 25 became the date for the celebration of Christmas, the darkest days of winter frightened ancient people into performing rituals that evolved into religious celebrations of light.

Families who can't get together to celebrate Christmas often feel like they're missing out on the real gifts of the holidays, even after the presents are opened.

The Hawaiian Church Chronicle ends 128 years of keeping members of the Episcopal Church informed with the publication of its December issue.

Most members of the new Hawaii Sacred Choir are young local kids, but they don English accents whenever they sing classic cathedral music, complete with rolling R's.

Thomas S. Monson, worldwide president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, attended the rededication ceremony of the newly renovated Laie Hawaii Temple on Sunday.

Eight days of Hanukkah celebrations, open to the public, will begin Wednesday at Chabad of Hawaii and Temple Emanu-El in Honolulu.

St. Clement's to hold Christmas fair • Event introduces kids to St. Nicholas

President Abraham Lincoln's words in 1865 have reached across time to counsel a country that is angry and deeply divided today across religious and political lines, says national best-selling author Ron C. White Jr.

Kaumakapili Church's 172-year history is distinguished by the perseverance of a congregation that has had to move and rebuild its sanctuary three times in the Kalihi-Palama area.

With the hectic holidays about to descend, taking time to do a Christian method of meditation might help practitioners acquire more peace and good will toward men.

The Interfaith Alliance Hawaii will present longtime Honolulu Star-Bulletin reporter Mary Adamski with a Special Recognition and Appreciation Award later this month.

Dozens of retired military chaplains say that serving both God and the U.S. armed forces will become impossible for chaplains whose faiths consider homosexuality a sin if the "don't ask, don't tell" policy is thrown out.

SALEM, Ore. » Combining sports and Scripture is a task Pastor Kevin Hearne has managed to implement at Bethany Baptist Church in South Salem.

Reacting to vocal opposition to civil unions and gays in the military by some religious conservatives, a Hawaii Buddhist organization has broken its traditional silence with a statement urging tolerance.

In the first public viewing in 32 years, more than 17,000 people from around the world will get to walk on "holy ground" inside the Laie Hawaii Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, following a major renovation project.

The Alec & Belle Waterhouse Lecture Series is inviting women of all ages to a free conference, "Hope Rising," featuring author Kim Meeder next week at Waialae Baptist Church.

Jikoen Hongwanji Mission, facing a $75,000 budget shortfall, raised more than $41,000 at a concert Sunday at the Okinawan temple in Kalihi.

Shohei Miyasato was an immigrant from Okinawa who didn't speak English, but he spearheaded a petition drive that allowed Jikoen Hongwanji Mission in Kalihi to keep its doors open during World War II, when virtually all Japanese organizations in Hawaii were shut down.

The first time Deborah Zuercher stepped up to play the newly refurbished pipe organ at the Parish of St. Clement, she felt as if she were entering the cockpit of a giant jet airplane.

As a 12-year-old boy growing up in Georgia, William T. Randall despised the Japanese for attacking Pearl Harbor. But when Mahatma Gandhi won independence for India through nonviolent protest two years later, his view started to change.

Church leaders training to deal with sexual misconduct are presented with a case study in which a parishioner says of a minister:

The national furor over the proposed mosque at Ground Zero in New York has caused local Muslim leaders to delay their annual Ramadan celebration to avoid holding it on Sept. 11, the anniversary of the terrorist attacks in 2001.

The public is invited to attend Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) celebrations Friday and next Saturday at Temple Emanu-El and Chabad of Hawaii.

The 10 days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are a traditional period of reflection that has gotten lost in the flurry of today's hectic world. 10Q, a national online project launched in 2008, offers a new, technological way for people of all backgrounds to slow down and reflect.

Bishop Steven Charleston, a leading proponent of justice issues, the environment and spiritual renewal, will speak tomorrow, Monday and Tuesday at three Episcopal churches on Oahu. The public is invited to attend.

Before Nuuanu Congregational Church started using an LCD projector during services, its members would have their heads buried in hymnals and Bibles, fumbling with pages and straining to see the fine print.

Sound business management, faithful giving and multiple sources of income have helped three of the four so-called "megachurches" in Hawaii buttress themselves against a struggling economy.



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