Fresno teens win Bible quiz competition

FresnoJuly 26, 2013 

The Fresno Bible Quiz team has won a national competition.

Keith Klann, 19, of Westside Tabernacle in west Fresno, Michael Blackman, 18, of Truth Tabernacle in east-central Fresno, and Isaiah Acosta, 16, of Clovis Tabernacle joined forces as the Fresno team won the 2013 Apostolic Bible Quizzing National Tournament in Tulsa, Okla., last week.

In Bible quizzing tournaments, teams are waged against one another in a double-elimination format. Members accumulate points for their team by quoting Bible verses accurately and succinctly.

The Fresno team memorized about 400 verses in the past six months. This year, they were verses selected from the book of Psalms. In competition, they had to recall individual verses at a moment's notice.

The Fresno team qualified for the national tournament after placing second in the advanced division (ages 13-19) at the Southwestern Region, which is for California, Arizona and Nevada teams. There are six regions in the nation.

The Fresno team was one of three California teams at the national tournament. Fresno lost to its first opponent, then ran off five straight victories — the last two over Lake Isabella — to win the tournament.

About 90 people greeted the team members, as well as head coach Leonard Contreras and assistant Kenny Kimbley, at Fresno Yosemite International Airport when they returned July 18.

"I get the most joy out of the young people who choose to spend so much time in the word of God when they have so many other distractions around them," says Contreras, who was named coach of the year.

Truth Tabernacle has five "branch work" churches, including Westside Tabernacle and Clovis Tabernacle.

Details: (559) 225-1622.

Fresno Pacific seminary names new leader

Terry Brensinger has been appointed to lead Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary, starting Thursday, Aug. 1.

He was appointed dean and vice president of the seminary, a school of Fresno Pacific University. The seminary dean/VP is a presidential appointment serving on President Pete C. Menjares' cabinet.

The position is unique in that the seminary is both a school within the university and the national seminary for the U.S. Mennonite Brethren Conference. Fresno Pacific University is affiliated with the Pacific District Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches.

Brensinger joined the seminary in 2011 as professor of pastoral ministries.

He succeeds Lynn Jost, who was instrumental in the merger of the seminary's Fresno operations with Fresno Pacific University in 2010.

After a term as interim pastor at Ebenfield Mennonite Brethren Church in Hillsboro, Kan., Jost will rejoin the seminary faculty in Old Testament and preaching in 2014.

Saint Rest block party features NBA players

NBA players Paul George of the Indiana Pacers and Quincy Pondexter of the Memphis Grizzlies are scheduled to attend Saint Rest Baptist Church's neighborhood block party 10 a.m.-4 p.m. today (Saturday, July 27) at the church, 1550 E. Rev. Chester Riggins Ave.

George is a former Fresno State star. Pondexter is a former Memorial High star. Church officials say kids can meet and hang out with George and Pondexter at the event.

The block party also features an obstacle course, bounce houses, dunk tank, face painting and games as well as popcorn and sno-cones. Music will be provided by a DJ.

Admission is free.

Details: (559) 237-5551.

Visalia synagogue hosts scholar

A scholar-in-residence at Congregation Beit Shalom in Visalia is presenting Shabbaton educational events at the synagogue, 115 E. Paseo Ave.

Arthur Zuckerman, rabbi of Congregation Shaarie Torah in Portland, will teach on "Repentance or Redemption" at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2, and talk at a program on "Domestic Terrorism: The Local Neighbor" at 7 p.m. Aug. 3.

In addition to the synagogue, Zuckerman is a chaplain with the Portland Police Bureau and serves on the Mounted Patrol Unit and the Explosives Disposal Unit. He goes to a correctional facility and works with women in the prison, both Jewish and non-Jewish.

He also is certified in Weapons of Mass Destruction from the office of Domestic Preparedness in Fort McClellan, Ala.

"This is a very well-experienced rabbi," says Cynthia Fischer, para-rabbinic at Congregation Beit Shalom.

Cost for both events is $15. The public is welcome.

Details: or (559) 308-1333.

New book explores violence in the Bible

A former Fresnan is the author of a new book, "Fight: A Christian Case for Nonviolence," which will be released Thursday.

Preston Sprinkle, a graduate of Bullard High School in 1994 and a teacher at Eternity Bible College in Simi Valley, says the book explores warfare and violence in the Bible and challenges readers to live out Jesus' call to nonviolence.

"I'd love for readers who claim the Bible as authority to lay presupposition aside and go back and see if my views are biblical," he says.

Sprinkle also co-authored, with Francis Chan, a book, "Erasing Hell: What God Said about Eternity, and the Things We Made Up," which spent several weeks on The New York Times bestseller list in 2011.

Sprinkle also is a teacher at Anthem Church in Thousand Oaks.

Sprinkle's latest book is available at and

Details: email,

Women's conference features speakers

The women's conference Soul Reflection is Thursday, Aug. 1, through Aug. 4 at Harvest of Harmony International Church, 1410 Kern St.

Special guest speakers are Michelle Corral, chief executive officer/founder of Breath of the Spirit Prophetic Word Ministries International in Orange, and Monica Gort, pastor of Wings of Healing Christian Center in Stockton. The conference soloist is Shauvone Guzman.

All services begin at 7 p.m.

Brenda Goudeaux, wife of pastor Phillip G. Goudeaux of Calvary Christian Center in Sacramento, is the speaker at the conference luncheon Aug. 3. The luncheon costs $25.

The conference is hosted by Ginger Morgan, wife of pastor Kelvin Morgan of Harvest of Harmony International Church.

Details: (559) 485-1446.

Tebow's mother to speak at Visalia event

Tim Tebow's mother will be the speaker at the Tulare-Kings Right to Life's Making a Difference for Life banquet fundraiser at 7 p.m. Sept. 5 at the Visalia Convention Center, 303 E. Acequia Ave.

Pam Tebow became a national pro-life figure after her son won the Heisman Trophy as a sophomore at the University of Florida in 2007. In an ESPN interview, she said her Christian faith had led her to ignore the advice of doctors, who feared a stillbirth and encouraged her to terminate her pregnancy. That decision led to Tim Tebow's birth.

He is now a backup quarterback with the New England Patriots.

The Visalia event costs $65. Details: or (559) 732-5000.

Catholic Charities receives $36,500

Nonprofit organization Philanthropy Inspired by the Needs of our Community presented a $36,500 check to Catholic Charities of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno. The money was raised at a PINC fundraiser for Catholic Charities on June 15 in Fresno.

PINC annually selects a nonprofit as beneficiary of a PINC fundraising event. Since 2009, PINC has raised more than $130,000 in five fundraisers.

The other beneficiaries have been Angel Babies of Hinds Hospice in 2009, Marjaree Mason Center in 2010, Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central California in 2011 and Break the Barriers in 2012.


More property returns to Episcopalians

St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Bakersfield will hold a Festival Welcoming Eucharist at 4 p.m. Sunday, July 28, to celebrate the recent return of church property at 2216 17th St.

St. Paul's is the latest church to be returned to the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin since theological differences split the diocese in 2007. Those differences resulted in legal cases concerning church properties still held by others. The diocese has offices in Modesto.

The properties of St. Michael's in Ridgecrest, St. Francis in Turlock and St. James in Sonora have also returned to the Episcopal Church.

Details: or (559) 576-0104.

Student chosen for Youth in Mission

A member of Hope Lutheran Church is one of 20 high school sophomores in the nation who have been selected to serve in a two-week Youth in Mission program through the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. The program begins Sunday.

Christa Slater, a student at Bullard High School, and the others will work at the Oaks Indian Mission in Oaks, Okla. The mission has a home for children with special needs who are part of the Cherokee Nation. The mission has been supported by Moravian missionaries and Lutherans for more than 200 years.

The purpose of the experience is to deepen participants' faith and theological awareness as well as expose them to opportunities for Christian ministry in life, including possibly vocations in the church.

Christa is the daughter of Christina Wyneken and John Slater.

Details: (559) 439-4320.


The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6304 or

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