Christmas is coming still for some traditional Armenian and Eastern Orthodox congregations in Fresno.
The congregations observe Christmas on Jan. 6 (or close to it), the date when all Christian churches celebrated Jesus' birth until the fourth century.
Here's what the Fresno churches are planning:
-- An Armenian Christmas Eve Holy Badarak service at 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 5, at Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church, 2226 Ventura Ave.
After the service, parishioners will gather for the church's traditional Armenian Christmas Eve Dinner, featuring lentil soup, fish and vegetable souffle.
Armenian Christmas Day service at the church is on Monday, featuring Holy Badarak at 10 a.m., confession and Holy Communion at 11:30 and Blessing of Water at noon.
Details: (559) 486-1141.
-- A Christmas Eve vigil service at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 6, at St. Peter the Apostle Serbian Orthodox Church, 3502 N. First St.
After the service, the Blessing of the Badnjak takes place, and parishioners remain for fellowship.
The Nativity of Our Lord Christmas liturgy is at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, followed by the parish's Christmas Open House in the social hall, from noon to 3 p.m. The church is providing a main entree at the open house. Parishioners are asked to bring a side dish or dessert to share.
The church also will present special services for the Eve of Theophany on Jan. 18 and Theophany, the Baptism of Jesus, on Jan. 19.
Details: (559) 227-5565.
-- Blessing of the Waters (Pre-Epiphany) divine liturgy at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 5, at St. George Greek Orthodox Church, 2219 N. Orchard St.
Blessing of the Waters (Epiphany) divine liturgy is at 9:45 a.m. Monday, Jan. 6. The Feast of St. John the Baptist divine liturgy is at 9:45 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 7.
St. George congregants celebrated Christmas Day on Dec. 25.
Details: (559) 233-0564.
Oakhurst woman raises awareness for homeless
An Oakhurst woman has written a children's book — "The Best Dinner I Never Ate" — that is about her family's ministry to the homeless.
Lori Prentice and her husband, Jay, have been bringing homeless people into a remodeled room at their home for the past three years. The couple has three children.
The ministry began when Lori Prentice was cooking an early Thanksgiving dinner and felt a "call from God" to donate the meal to a family in need.
She asked Paul DePledge, associate pastor at Sierra Vista Presbyterian Church, whether he knew of a family. He recommended a family with two children that no longer had a home and was staying in a hotel with help from the church.
Prentice wants the book to raise awareness for the homeless.
The book costs $14.95, plus $3.99 for shipping and tax, and is available at www.thebestdinnerineverate.com.
Synagogue hosts Holocaust exhibition
A traveling exhibit on the Holocaust will be on display at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 10, at Congregation Beit Shalom, 115 E. Paseo Ave., Visalia.
The exhibit — "Everyday Objects" — features posters that illustrate the complexities of life during the Holocaust as demonstrated through the possessions of survivors.
The film — "To the Little Polish Boy" — also will be shown. The book, "To the Little Polish Boy Standing With His Arms Up," by Peter L. Fischl, will be sold.
Matzo ball soup, challah, dessert, coffee and water also will be sold at the event.
The event is held in conjunction with International Day of the Holocaust.
Details: email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (559) 308-1333.
Church leader attends chapel dedication
The executive minister of Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ) worldwide was a special guest at the chapel dedication for the renovated Iglesia ni Cristo church near Fresno's Tower District at 826 N. Palm Ave.
Eduardo V. Manalo is leader of Iglesia ni Cristo, a self-proclaimed global church with 104 ecclesiastical districts in the Philippines and in 90 more countries and territories. The INC central office complex is in Quezon City, Philippines.
The Fresno renovation cost more than $2 million. Two fiberglass steeples were installed as well as new window trimmings, parking-lot fencing, three large chandeliers in the sanctuary and two smaller ones in the choir loft.
The Fresno church is mainly a Filipino congregation of about 200 people.
Church hosts course for blended families
A six-week course on the healthy step family begins at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 8, at New Covenant Community Church, 1744 E. Nees Ave.
The course features "The Smart Step-Family" DVD series by Ron Deal.
Ron and Joan McLain are the course facilitators. Cost is $10 per couple, including course materials.
Details: email email@example.com or call (559) 313-4226.
Tulare church hosts gospel group
The Revised Standard Version gospel group is scheduled to perform at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 12 at Wayside Church of the Nazarene, 1929 E. Bardsley Ave., Tulare.
Known also as the RSV Quartet, group members are schoolteachers who travel on weekends to take the Gospel message to venues. The event is free. An offering will be taken.
Details: (559) 686-7880.
The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6304 or firstname.lastname@example.org.