Wednesday, September 17, 2014         

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Several individuals and groups devoted to social justice issues will be honored at The Interfaith Alliance Hawaii's 12th annual Community Awards celebration and banquet. The event will feature the theme "Transformation to a Better World" and the Rev. C. Welton Gaddy.

The Catholic Diocese of Hono­lulu has named Kristin Leandro as director of its safe-environment and charter compliance program, which is responsible for overseeing adults who have frequent contact with minors and investigating child abuse allegations, among other duties.

A three-part series focusing on issues tied to aging is set to get underway Sept. 22 at the Newman Center/Holy Spirit Parish on the University of Hawaii's Manoa campus. The first part will feature Sister Joanne Dehmer addressing "Aging with Wisdom, Grace and Compassion."

Conversation about religion is frowned upon in some social settings for fear it will touch off heated debate. But that was not the case at the recent All Believers Network (Belnet) annual conference.

Saleem Ahmed, a Muslim who founded the All Believers Network (Belnet), says the Quran inspired him to start the interfaith group in 2003 to promote harmony and peace among the world's diverse religions.

At this year's Eckankar Spiritual Fair attendees are invited to experience "Adventures in the Light and Sound of God" through past lives, dreams and soul travel. The public may drop in at any time during the free event set.

The Unitarian Universalist Leeward Ohana Group will be launched as a new branch of the Unitarian Universalist church on Sept. 13 at Island Pacific Academy in Kapolei. The Rev. Jonipher Kupono Kwong, minister at the First Unitarian Church of Honolulu (FUCH), will deliver the opening sermon.

Hawaii and Israel are on opposite sides of the world, but when it comes to matters of the heart, both stand on essentially the same ground, former Gov. Linda Lingle said at a "Pro-Israel Rally" this week at the state Capitol.

Lawyers working on changing legislation to allow Micronesians to continue receiving Medicaid benefits will deliver an update on the legal struggle at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at St. Elizabeth's Episcopal Church in Kalihi.

Whenever Muslim extremists trigger headlines worldwide for their latest atrocities, Islamic history professor Abdul-Karim Khan of Leeward Community College is approached by students, faculty and friends who ask: How can these terrorists possibly use religion to justify their aggression?

Aug. 25 is the registration deadline for next month's All Believers Network (Belnet) workshop, which will explore similarities and differences in the religious traditions of the world. The Sept. 1 workshop is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the University of Hawaii's Shidler Hall auditorium.

Seeing Nagasaki two months after it was shattered by the atomic bomb on Aug. 9, 1945, was enough to turn Navy navigator Bill Hanson against war the rest of his life. "It was a terrible sight. The destruction is hard to describe," said Hanson.

As a second-generation survivor of the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in World War II, Masago Asai of Hono­­lulu is one of only three members of her extended family who have survived cancer.

The Hawaii Sacred Choir recently returned from its history-making performance at Ely Cathedral in England, but now it's time to pay the piper. The choir includes 38 members, both adults and children.

A candlelight peace walk to downtown's Naga­saki Peace Bell, slated for Aug. 9, will commemorate the anniversary of the atomic bombing of Naga­saki as well as express gratitude for nearly seven subsequent decades without nuclear bomb explosions.

One of the oldest Chinese congregations in Hawaii, St. Peter's boasts a wealth of cooks who mastered their culinary craft while satisfying family appetites for decades, said the Rev. Diane Martinson.

St. Marianne Cope is returning to Hawaii to stay. The remains of Hawaii's second saint will reside permanently in Hono­lulu's downtown Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace, according to the Hawaii Catholic Herald.

The event, set for 2 to 5 p.m. Aug. 3 in the Kai­muki area university's Mystical Rose Oratory, will be a "celebration of the power of forgiveness and its origins in silence," and an attempt to draw hundreds of people "into a sincere, reflective silence," said organizer Michael North in a news release.

The Rev. Stan Bain, co-organizer of the Hawai‘i Coalition for Immigration Reform, is urging people of all faiths to take part in this weekend's national interfaith Weekend of Compassion and Prayer for Unaccompanied Migrant Children, which lasts until sundown Sunday.

Japanese immigrants buried in a common grave in Makiki will be remembered at an obon service set for Saturday, with dozens of ministers from various Buddhist sects gathering for sutra chanting.

It was during Ramadan last year that Deanna Wathen took the "shahada" vow to become a Muslim, willingly taking on the self-discipline the faith requires and finding peace and maturity in the process.

It is difficult for the average American to understand what the fighting is about between the Shiite and Sunni Muslims in Iraq. Even local experts have trouble unraveling the conflict between the two main sects of Islam.

The Interfaith Alliance Hawaii said the U.S. Supreme Court made "a grave error" this week in allowing two businesses to cite their owners' religious beliefs as the reason to deny employees contraceptive coverage, as required by a federal health mandates.

The Rev. Kyle Ann Lovett, one of the few openly gay ministers in Hawaii, is leaving the Church of the Crossroads by mutual agreement after four years as its pastor.

Thanks to the generosity of Hollywood celebrities Will and Jada Smith as well as that of another couple of Hawaii vacationers, the Hawaii Sacred Choir is taking its dream trip to England to fill a cathedral with song.

Obon observances to honor ancestral spirits, including dances and memorial services ("bon mairi"), will be held at the Honpa Hongwanji Hawaii Betsuin, 1727 Pali Highway, from Friday through July 13.

Allan Boesak, an internationally known South African anti-apartheid leader, will give a series of talks in the islands beginning June 14 on Oahu.

An Anglican priest known for his staunch opposition to apartheid in South Africa will lead a discussion titled "Christian Responses to Oppression: A Courageous Conversation" Monday at the Church of the Crossroads.

The Rev. David Rivers will deliver his first sermon as the new senior minister of Central Union Church on June 15. An ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, Rivers has previously served large churches in Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Florida and Kansas as a youth, family or senior pastor.

Ann Wright, a retired Army colonel and former U.S. diplomat who resigned from the State Department 11 years ago in protest against the Iraq War, told local faith leaders on Memorial Day that they are not doing enough to fight for world peace.

The Pacific Peace Forum, set for Friday at the Cathedral of St. Andrew, will feature a screening of "Breaking Bows and Arrows: A Search for Reconciliation and Forgiveness," a documentary set on the island of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea.

Taking care of her grandmother as she succumbed to cancer more than three decades ago inspired Leilani Kupahu-Marinoto learn how to help others cope with the process of dying and impacts linked to death.

The historic Kawaiaha‘o Church is inviting local artisans and craft-makers to take part in its annual King Kame­ha­meha Makeke and Luau Celebration, which is set for 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 14 on church grounds near downtown Hono­lulu.

Featured speakers slated for Night to Honor Israel, May 31 at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, include an Israeli diplomat and other leaders affiliated with the Jewish faith.

Nightly, at least a half-dozen homeless people are finding a corner to sleep on the grounds at Makiki Christian Church. They're admitted on a case-by-case basis, said Wayne Ibara, the church's senior pastor.

Most people are a bit scared by erratic or unusual behavior and might be reluctant to approach someone displaying it, whether it's a homeless person or a member of their church.

People of all faiths are welcome to bring their pets to the annual Chinowa Blessing for People and Pets on June 1 at the Hawaii Kotohira Jinsha -- Hawaii Dazaifu Tenmangu shrine in Kalihi.

Every once in a while the demise of Buddhism in Hawaii and what to do about it comes up among religion scholars and temple leaders who look at dwindling attendance and aging membership.

Honpa Hongwanji Hawaii Betsuin will hold Gotan-E services May 17 and 18 to celebrate the birth of Shinran Sho­nin, founder of the Jodo Shin­shu (also called Shin) Buddhism sect.

The Kagyu Centers of Hawaii — a group of Tibetan Buddhist meditation centers in Nuu­anu on Oahu, on Maui and Kauai — is hosting a three-day prayer festival for world peace and the environment.

Spread out the feast, pour the best whiskey, light the incense and burn plenty of gold paper ingots for your family's ancestors during the Ching Ming season. If you neglect to do so, their spirits might come back to haunt you.

Tickets are being sold for the 25th-anniversary celebration of the Counseling & Spiritual Care Center of Hawaii and Ho‘o­mene­mene Awards Banquet. The benefit will feature a silent auction, cocktail reception, dinner and program during which two individuals and one organization will be recognized.

Manoa Valley Church, a United Church of Christ congregation, is inviting the public to take part in a multisensory Experience Easter program.

For years James Au refrained from taking part in a Chinese ancestor veneration ritual held in graveyards during annual Ching Ming festivals because he felt it conflicted with his Christian beliefs.

The weeklong holiday of Passover, also called Pesach, recalls liberation from slavery in Egypt 3,000 years ago with a mix of sober storytelling and merrymaking tied to a Seder service.

Four people who stood up in front of hundreds of their classmates to admit they were bullies and vow to stop intimidating others were warmly applauded Thursday at a Kala­heo High School assembly.

Some 2,500 grade school students from all over Oahu learned that bullying is a form of violence and how to help stop it Thursday at the first Student Anti-Bullying and Violence Convention, held by the nonprofit Adult Friends for Youth.

Sarah Beppu's son Dylan has a form of autism, which she said kept her from taking him to Mass. "He would inevitably have a meltdown," she said. "The smells of incense were too much, the music too loud, and he couldn't relate to anything."

Bishop Minerva Carcano of the Cali­for­nia-Pacific Conference of the United Methodist Church, a national spokes­woman for immigration reform, will be preaching at 10:30 a.m. Sunday at Trinity United Methodist Church in Pearl City.

Australian-born evangelist Nick Vuji­cic, who was born without arms or legs, will be taking his anti-bullying message to schools and other venues on Kauai and Oahu this week.

Giving up chocolate or taking on more Bible study during Lent are common sacrifices for Christians during 40 days of penitence building up to Easter. Sacrifices of treats and time take willpower.

The Faith in Action Diocesan Drama Community of the Roman Catho­lic Diocese of Hono­lulu will stage "The Passion of Christ," a two-act play on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, at Windward Community College's Paliku Theatre.

Some local Hawaiian leaders maintain that traditional concepts tied to dealing with lawbreakers have a place in modern prison rehabilitation efforts. Puuhonua were sacred places of refuge in ancient Hawaii, where warriors and others who had broken kapu could gain sanctuary and pardon.

The Cathedral of St. Andrew begins the season of Lent and its weekly Wednesday Lenten program with the 2014 Margaret "Peggy" Kai Memorial lecture "In at the Deep End: Exploring the Spirituality of Mission."

Four decades ago Jose Antonio Abreu began the "El Sistema" program with 11 children living in poverty. Today 500,000 youngsters are inspired yearly in that country as well as other youth across the globe.

The Bible Institute of Hawaii is presenting "Evidence of Life Beyond the Grave" at its ninth annual Hawaii Apologetics Conference at Kalihi Union Church, 2214 N. King St.

Nationally syndicated radio talk show host Michael Medved spoke at Temple Emanu-El this week about what he contends are "big lies" perpetuated by the media and critics of Israel's attempts at negotiating peace with Arab countries.

A bill aimed at preventing the state from passing laws that substantially burden religious exercise will likely not receive a hearing in the state House this session.

Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii today is honoring five winners of its annual Living Treasures of Hawaii honors, which recognize people in Hawaii who demonstrate excellence in their individual areas of endeavor and enrich society with their contributions.

Last fall Kari Adams, a rising high school soccer star, was running up and down practice fields and approaching the seventh month of pregnancy before she found out she was carrying a baby. Given her upbringing as a Catho­lic, Kari said, "I never thought of having an abortion."

Michael Medved, a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host and well-known movie reviewer, will speak about Israel's treatment of Palestinians.

"The Tao of Aloha" Symposium, a series featuring tai ji (tai chi) master and dancer Chungliang Al Huang, will be held Feb. 12 through 14. Huang began to compare the tai ji philosophy with the movements of hula throughout many summer seminars in Hawaii.

The event aims to help health care professionals, social workers, caregivers and others find meaning and wisdom in caring for someone with a terminal illness or in dealing with the death of a loved one.

A coalition of progressive interfaith leaders who took a stand for marriage equality in Hawaii last year is formalizing its intention to further affect state lawmaking, now focusing on meeting basic human needs such as food, shelter and education.

While the congregation at Unity Church of Hawaii accepts that their pastor has moved on to his "next big adventure" in eternity, many members are still stunned by the sudden death of the Rev. Sky Liko St. John, said Margie Hyatt, acting head minister of the Diamond Head church.

Central Union Church in Honolulu passed a resolution Sunday supporting marriage equality that also urges local faith congregations to allow same-sex marriages to be performed in their facilities.

In 1952, a few years before the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s name became synonymous with the civil rights movement, Samuel Eugene Cox took part in his first demonstration against segregation in Washington, D.C.

Bishop Larry Silva of the Catho­lic Diocese of Hono­lulu has invited nearly 100 Christian church leaders, as well as the public, to join him in a "Taize Prayer around the Cross" at 7 p.m. Friday at the University of Hawaii's Newman Center/Holy Spirit Parish.

Life lessons acquired before one's spirit evolves into something as beautiful and free as a butterfly are known as "caterpillar wisdom," according to Religious Science teachings.

St. John Vianney parish in Kailua is hosting its fourth "Breakfast with the Bishop" on Jan. 19 as a fundraiser for its school at 920 Keolu Drive.

In Japan, millions of people flock to Shinto shrines for New Year's blessings called "Hatsumode." In Hawaii, people of all sorts of backgrounds and faiths also take part in the custom during the first three days of the new year.

Raw. Relevant. Actionable. That's how Ka‘ala Souza, a Christian evangelist and Oahu business consultant, describes "The 3-Minute Message," a video he offers daily as a means to spreading the gospel.

Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University, a nine-week course offering practical tools to gain long-term financial stability and success, will get underway next month at two churches on Oahu and one on Hawaii island.

Tis the season to be jolly, but grief, financial hardship and illness don't follow a calendar. For those in no mood to be merry, a "Blue Christmas" service offers a way to help lose the blues.

The Cathedral of St. Andrew is dedicating Sunday's choral evensong service to the memory of Nelson Mandela, the first black South African democratically elected as president of his country.

For Rabbi Mendy Krasnjansky, Hanukkah was always the most fun of the Jewish holidays when he was growing up because he would receive toys and chocolate candy coins (gelt) and eat lots of jelly doughnuts.

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.

The eight-day Jewish celebration of Hanukkah usually occurs close to Christmas, but this year the first full day of Hanukkah falls on the same day as Thanksgiving -- Nov. 28 -- a once-in-a-lifetime overlap.

While growing up in a small town in Kauai, the Rev. Norma Nomura DeSaegher was told, both at church and in her home, that homosexuality was wrong.

An interfaith community gathering to celebrate Gov. Neil Abercrombie's signing of Hawaii's marriage equality bill -- known as Senate Bill 1 -- into law is set for Nov. 23 at the Cathedral of St. Andrew.

Prajwal Ratna Vajra­charya, a Nepalese priest of one of the Vajrayana Buddhist lineages, will hold various workshops in Hono­lulu this week in addition to making appearances at Kapiolani Community College for International Education Week.

Envision a Christian church service during which participants may leave the pews to visit several prayer stations around the sanctuary, light candles and linger to say personal prayers, or meditate while seated on floor cushions.

An effort to become a more viable, welcoming church might include replacing the old straight-backed wooden pews at the Parish of St. Clement in Makiki with individual, upholstered chairs that can be configured in cozier arrangements.

The religious exemption of the marriage equality bill now being drafted by the Hawaii Legislature will do little to protect the religious freedom of churches and individuals who believe homosexuality is a sin, says the Rev. Allen Cardines of the Hope Chapel Nanakuli church, and a major organizer of various Christian community groups.

The annual International Day of Nonviolence and birthday celebration of Mohandas Gandhi, pioneer of the strategy of nonviolent civil disobedience and leader of Indian independence, will be held at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Gandhi statue at Kapiolani Park, adjacent to the Hono­lulu Zoo entrance.

Hawaii leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are encouraging members to urge state lawmakers to exempt the church from any potential obligation tied to the proposed marriage equity bill.

State Sen. Will Espero (D, Ewa Beach-Iroquois Point), a practicing Catholic, is putting his personal religious beliefs aside to support a proposal for same-sex marriage, which he maintains is a matter rooted in equality and fairness.

Ho‘omana Na‘auao ‘O Hawai‘i, an organization that consists of a handful of Hawaiian churches, aims to preserve its independence, its own brand of Christianity and its deep cultural roots.

Episcopal minister Elizabeth Ziva­nov of The Parish of St. Clement maintains that recent arguments made by the bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hono­lulu against same-sex marriage are "incredibly offensive" in that they group homosexuals with the Bible's sinners, who, unless they change their ways, face eternal damnation.

Catholic bishops and priests from major dioceses across the country will pre­sent a coordinated message today and Sunday that backs proposed changes in U.S. immigration policy.

Rosh Hashana begins the solemn observance of the Jewish New Year at sunset Wednesday and concludes with Yom Kippur on Sept. 14, a period of deep self-examination and making things right with one's fellow man and God.

Jesus Christ may have dined at the same table with prostitutes and tax collectors and embraced them in love, but he never condoned their behavior, says the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hono­lulu's Bishop Larry Silva.

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.

Kalihi Union Church rose from the destruction of Hono­lulu's Great Chinatown Fire of 1900, which wiped out the bubonic plague as intended and took with it the rat-infested squalor where early immigrants lived when it burned out of control.

Gene Corpuz, a spokes­man for Dignity Hono­lulu (LGBT Catholics), added his group's voice to other national gay rights organizations in praising Pope Francis for his remarks about homosexuals early this week.

Since Ramadan began a few weeks ago, Samah Nasser has been getting Muslim children to associate their holiest month of the year with having fun, not just fasting.

The national conversation about racial stereotyping triggered by the Florida trial over the killing of black teenager Trayvon Martin might benefit from going through the same steps of reconciliation that Hawaii residents must take to finally achieve peace over the toppling of the Hawaiian kingdom, said one organizer of the Hawaii Forgiveness Project.

As the daughter of immigrant farmworkers living in Texas near the Mexican border, Bishop Minerva Carcano of the United Methodist Church has seen people risk their lives and those of their children in desperation to find work in this country.

The Buddhist ceremony of floating lanterns on water to light the way for ancestral spirits journeying to the afterlife is well known by Hawaii residents. Less familiar is the ritual that greets these spirits for the start of obon season.

Harris United Methodist Church started out 125 years ago as a place of solace, where many of Hawaii's first Japa­nese immigrants sought respite from the plantations' backbreaking lifestyle.

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