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With the scriptural prospect of paradise awaiting him in the Pure Land, University of Hawaii professor emeritus Alfred Bloom knows that he should be dancing for joy as he faces the end of his life.

The Lutheran Church of Hono­lulu will celebrate on May 24 the 40th anniversary of its organ, which was made by master organ builder Rudolf von Beckerath.

The Oahu Jewish Ohana will hold a Morning Festival Service of Shavuot this month, at which it will dedicate its first Torah scroll and its portable ark.

Windward United Church of Christ has awarded its 2015 Holmes Scholarships to 10 high school students.

Faith leaders looking to fill their pews face stiff competition for the attention of church members with lures ranging from ballgames and ideal surf conditions to a demanding list of chores or even a leisurely brunch.

Molokai resident Clarence Kahili­hiwa says there was a time when even conversation about Hansen's disease and those afflicted by it was hushed, "taboo" subject matter.

Helen Abe was understandably tentative, standing in her bare feet before a bed of burning coals. At age 87 she was about to take a step of faith in a purifying ritual meant to cleanse her of negative karma and invigorate her life.

Hsu Yun Temple in Nuu­anu is inviting the public to witness a rare Festival of Water and Land, considered the ultimate of Chinese Buddhist rituals.

Nuuanu Congregational Church will celebrate Earth Day next week with free community classes on vermicomposting and a "Green Day II in Nuu­anu" fair.

After several years of counseling single adults on how to choose the right person to marry, the Rev. Dan Chun, a longtime pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Honolulu, saw that 90 percent of those who followed his advice were still hitched more than 20 years later.

The Baha'i Community of the Hawaiian Islands this week commemorated the 100th anniversary of a historic meeting between Queen Liliuokalani and the U.S. delegation of Baha'is.

The Honolulu Chamber Music Series will pre­sent New York Polyphony in concert at 7:30 p.m. March 28 at the Cathedral of St. Andrew.

The Rev. Jack Bomar, a native of Tennessee and founder of Blessing Hands USA Inc., is the new senior minister at Unity Church of Hawaii.

Why is it that peace-espousing faiths are often associated with some kind of violence occurring in the world?

Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii is co-sponsoring an event titled "Dialogue on Death Penalty: Legal, Ethical and Buddhist Perspectives," 8:30 a.m. to noon March 21 at the Buddhist Study Center, 1436 University Ave.

The opening-night reception for Temple Emanu-El’s 13th annual Kirk Cashmere Jewish Film Festival is Saturday, from 6 to 7:15 p.m. at the Hono­lulu Museum of Art’s Doris Duke Theatre, 900 S. Bere­ta­nia St.

A record audience is expected for the annual Hawaii Island Ministries Hono­lulu Conference on March 19-21 at the Hawai‘i Convention Center — a cross-generational event that will offer seminars covering topics especially problematic to middle- and high-schoolers, says the Rev. Dan Chun.

The Interfaith Alliance Hawai‘i has scheduled a forum of national and local scholars titled “Non-Violence: Philosophy and Practice in World Religions” that will take place at 6:30 p.m. March 12 at Honpa Hongwanji Hawaii Betsuin, 1727 Pali Highway.

Underscoring the solemnity of Lent, a jazz quartet will be striking a contemplative chord at St. Peter's Episcopal Church on Thursday evenings preceding Easter.

United Methodist Church pastor who wanted to experience what the poor and outcast endure has dedicated recent years to living with those who "sleep under the stars."

Christian recording artist Amanda Vernon will hold a free concert featuring a mix of interactive songs, Scripture stories, personal testimony and a "call to action," 7:30 to 9 p.m. Feb. 24 at The Newman Center/Holy Spirit Parish at the University of Hawaii-Manoa.

Arise, a women's ministry at Inspire Church in Wai­kele, is organizing a series of conferences with talks focused on empowering women.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Hono­lulu held a Taize "prayer around the cross" ecumenical service Thursday to mark the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

Growing up in a small Appalachian town in Tennessee, Ellen Godbey Carson was raised in an insulated, privileged world in which she rarely crossed paths with black people.

Teachers of hula, lei making and Japa­nese culture are among the 2015 Living Treasures of Hawai‘i Recognition Program’s award winners who will be honored next month by the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii.

Scarlett Lewis, the mother of a Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim, will share her views on "Forgiveness, Gratitude and Compassion in the Face of Personal Tragedy" on Jan. 18 at Temple Emanu-El.

Calmly working atop scaffolding above the altar at St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church in Alewa Heights, Egyptian painter Sawsan Salib seems oblivious to the height as she puts final brushstrokes on Jesus' Last Supper.

The orthodox Jewish synagogue, 410 Atkinson Drive, next to the entrance of the Ala Moana Hotel, will hold its annual menorah-lighting in Waikiki and parade on Wednesday, and a "Grand Hanukkah Party," including games and treats for keiki, on Friday.

Jodo Mission of Hawaii is looking for students or former residents who lived in the dormitory behind its Makiki temple who can help fill a gap in its 82-year history.

Dubbed the "ultra-running monk," Acharya Ryo­jun Shio­numa has completed two of the most difficult practices of the Buddhist Shu­gendo tradition: the Omine Sen­ni­chi­kai­ho­gyo (1,000 days trekking on Mount Omine in southwestern Japan) and the Shi­mu­gyo (a fourfold renouncing practice).

The late Rev. Mitsuo "Mits" Aoki taught people to take charge of the end of their lives — to view those days as a vital closing act, a time for tying up loose ends and appreciating what's important.

Cultural diversity and ancient traditions will be celebrated at a benefit concert set for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday at Pacific Buddhist Academy. Performances will include ancient music of the Japa­nese imperial court and traditional Indian dance.

The Hawaii Friends of Sabeel, the Muslim Association of Hawaii, the Hawaii Coalition for Justice in Palestine and various other organizations and University of Hawaii departments and centers will host three events featuring Noura Era­kat, an international human rights attorney and activist.

The Catholic Diocese of Hono­lulu's Prison Ministry is collecting donations to bring together children and their incarcerated mothers at the Women's Community Correctional Center on Oahu for a Christmas party.

When Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, he was modeling the role of a humble servant that he wanted his followers to adopt. Local Jehovah's Witnesses are following his example by forming "lua patrols" to clean public restrooms and restock supplies.

A free public screening of "Hawaii: A Voice for Sovereignty" will be held at 6 p.m. Friday in the Von Holt Room of the Cathedral of St. Andrew in honor of the annual "Feast of the Holy Sovereigns."

An estimated 24,000 delegates from 11 countries, mostly in Asia and South America, are slated to attend an international convention of Jehovah's Witnesses spanning two weekends this month at the Hawai‘i Convention Center.

Chartered in 1877 by the kingdom of Hawaii's royal decree, the Chinese Christian Association of Hawaii was born from necessity because "in the early days we were a minority and we had to stick together," said member Cyril Wong.

In an effort to assist Hawaii's homeless veterans and other members of the military in need of support, the Roman Catho­lic Diocese of Hono­lulu's Office for Social Ministry and its partners are collecting donations for an event dubbed "Stand Down and Job Fair."

Should Christians celebrate Halloween or not? One controversial view is that Halloween customs pay homage to the devil and glorify superstitious pagan rituals, thereby opening a gateway to hell, a perusal of Christian websites reveals.

The International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima will be in Hawaii Nov. 1 through 21, visiting at least 13 parishes on Oahu and one on the Big Island, according to the Hawaii Catho­lic Herald.

The Rev. C. Welton Gaddy, national president of the Interfaith Alliance and a strong advocate of the separation of church and state, is urging the local interfaith community to continue to pursue religious freedom for people of all faiths.

A new edition of the Hawaiian-English language New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs is now available. This marks the first time the bilingual Bible includes the modern Hawaiian text alongside New American Standard English text and that Psalms and Proverbs appear in a bilingual format.

In its first year, A Cup of Cold Water, a community care van stocked with water, food and other basic provisions, has assisted more than 5,600 of Maui's neediest people. The Episcopal churches on Maui — Trinity-by-the-Sea in Kihei, Good Shepherd Wai­luku, Holy Innocents Lahaina and St. John's Kula — launched the all-volunteer outreach mission in October 2013.

Educating people, especially the young, about the need for world peace is an endeavor close to Masago Asai's heart because many of her relatives suffered or died from cancer, an aftereffect of the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan during World War II.

Five members of Dignity Hono­lulu, a group of about 20 LGBT Catho­lics, attended Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Peace Catholic downtown as part of the group's annual Solidarity Sunday observance.

Ken Niumatalolo, a former Radford High School and University of Hawaii quarterback who went on to become a successful U.S. Naval Academy football coach, is one of six devout Mormons from around the world featured in the new film titled "Meet the Mormons."

Churches and other faith-based groups in Pahoa are working in tandem with disaster relief officials as the community preps for the possible flow of lava across the town's major highway. Efforts now underway build upon ongoing outreach tied to the aftermath of Tropical Strom Iselle.

The Hawaii Kotohira Jinsha-Hawaii Dazaifu Tenmangu shrine's annual Shichigosan Children's Festival features special blessings for children ages 3, 5 and 7 — three good luck numbers in Japanese numerology.

The Sunrise Ministry Foundation is accepting registration for its "Journeys to Wellness III" seminar for healing of the mind, body and spirit from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 18 at the Community Church of Honolulu, 2345 Nuuanu Ave.


The Jewish New Year High Holidays, which got underway this week with Rosh Hashana, concludes with Yom Kippur celebrations Oct.

The Gandhi International Institute for Peace of Hawaii is inviting the public to a celebration marking Mahatma Gandhi's 145th birthday. The event is slated for 5 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

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."

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