Clergy join pilgrimage for path to citizenship

The Fresno BeeAugust 16, 2013 

Local clergy members have signed up to walk in the Valley next weekend in support of an immigration pilgrimage.

The Pilgrimage for a Path to Citizenship project focuses on 11 pilgrims — symbolizing the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. The pilgrims are walking 285 miles in 21 days, from Sacramento to Bakersfield. The pilgrimage began Monday.

Their walk is designed to call attention to families — and their suffering and sacrifice as a result of living without status.

The pilgrims are drawing clergy support along the way, including in the Valley.

On Friday, the Revs. Chris Breedlove of College Community Congregational Church, David J. Criner of Saint Rest Baptist Church and Booker T. Lewis II of Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church will walk with the pilgrims for about 10 miles from Madera to Fresno.

On Aug. 24, the Revs. Gabriel Ruiz of St. Anthony Claret Catholic Church, Melvin Whittle of Second Baptist Church, Bill Knezovich of Our Saviour's Lutheran Church and Breedlove will walk with them in a procession for about eight miles from the Comfort Inn at Highway 99 and Shaw Avenue to St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, 5770 N. Maroa Ave. The procession starts at 9 a.m.

At St. Anthony of Padua, a community action meeting will begin at 1 p.m., calling attention to members of Congress about families' sacrifices in the current immigration system. Bishop Armando X. Ochoa of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno will attend the event.

The Fresno events are organized by Faith in Community and Communities for a New California.

"It's about sacrifice, the pilgrims making a tangible, concrete sacrifice to do their part to end suffering for 11 million," says Andy Levine, executive director of Faith in Community in Fresno. "In Fresno, we're seeing this as a multiracial coalition."

The Pilgrimage for a Path to Citizenship project is presented by PICO California and scheduled to reach Bakersfield on Sept. 2.

Details: or (559) 355-5169.

Nonprofit with faith ties ends after 37 years

A nonprofit organization that started out mainly serving the area's Jewish community has dissolved after 37 years in Fresno.

Young At Heart Club began in 1977 as a Jewish senior social and intellectual club, founded by Andrea Schwartz. She also was founder of the Valley Center for the Blind. The organization changed its named to Young At Heart Center in 1978.

In 1986, Young At Heart Center became a nondenominational organization. Religious holidays were celebrated as combined events, including Easter/Passover and Hanukkah/Christmas. At its peak, the organization reached nearly 50 people. In recent years, the group had just 10 members.

"Most had become 80 to 90 years old, and most passed away," says Joyce Kroker, president the past 27 years.

In disposing assets, Young At Heart Center presented $14,000 to Temple Beth Israel, Kroker says. It plans to give $5,000 to Valley Center for the Blind.

Church gives backpacks to children at Manchester Center

More than 1,500 backpacks were distributed to kids at Celebration Church's annual back-to-school backpack giveaway, which was held Aug. 10 in the Manchester Center parking lot.

The church began its backpack outreach in 2010, when 328 were distributed to students at Ayer Elementary School.

At the Manchester Center event, the church also partnered with the Paul Mitchell school in Fresno to give about 800 free haircuts to kids.

"We want Fresno to know we love our city," says Fred Negrete, missions/outreach pastor at Celebration Church. "We are driven to love the next generation."

Celebration Church has sites in both Fresno and Clovis.

Details: (559) 275-2083.

Fresno City Council recognizes winning Bible Quiz team

A proclamation — recognizing the achievement of the Fresno Bible Quiz team — was presented at the Fresno City Council meeting Thursday, Aug. 15.

The three-member team — 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 — won the 2013 Apostolic Bible Quizzing National Tournament in Tulsa, Okla., last month.

Council Member Clint Olivier said in a statement: "This team accomplished something impressive by winning this tournament. I want to make sure the members are recognized for their outstanding achievement as representatives of the Fresno area."

Fresno Pacific freshmen going to Hume Lake retreat

Fresno Pacific University's entire freshman class this fall semester is going on an orientation retreat Thursday, Aug. 17, through Aug. 24 at Hume Lake Christian Camps.

There are about 260 incoming freshmen in this class.

At the start of previous fall semesters at Fresno Pacific, only a select group of students — President's Scholars — went to the orientation retreat.

Fresno Pacific President Pete C. Menjares again will accompany the students at the retreat. Classes begin Aug. 26.

Details: or (559) 453-2073.

Celebration at Fresno State marks India's independence

A celebration marking India's 67th independence day will be at 4:30 p.m. Aug. 24 in the Satellite Student Union at Fresno State.

Special guests are Kiran Bedi, a prominent leader of an anti-corruption movement in India, and Joseph Castro, new president at Fresno State.

Bedi also will speak on "India Today and Tomorrow" at a dinner at 7 p.m. at the Hope Lutheran Church social hall, 364 E. Barstow Ave. Cost is $40. Reservations are required. Details: (559) 438-3072.

The events are presented by the Council of Indian Organizations of the Central Valley.

The Nelons will perform at Northwest Church

The Central California Southern Gospel Music Association will present The Nelons in concert at 7 p.m. Monday at Northwest Church, 5415 N. West Ave.

The Ambassador Youth Choir, a ministry of Riverdale Assembly of God, also will perform.

Details: or (559) 435-2200.

Kingdom University courses offered in Fresno

Kingdom University School of Ministry will present courses Thursday through Aug. 24 at Harvest of Harmony International Ministries, 5242 N. Garfield Ave.

Harvest of Harmony is a Kingdom University satellite campus. Cost is $99 per course. Application fee is $50.

Details: (559) 485-1446.


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

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