A congregation near downtown Fresno — with strong Danish roots — will celebrate its 100th anniversary Sunday, March 9.
Bethel Lutheran Church is holding an anniversary service at 4 p.m. at the church, 187 N. Broadway St.
A special message will be given by the Rev. Mark Holmerud, fourth bishop of Sierra Pacific Synod, which is part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Bethel Lutheran Church began with 24 people on Feb. 4, 1914, as Bethel Danish Lutheran Church, founded by Danish immigrants, mainly farmers.
Descendants of the original Danes continue to be church members. The congregation of about 100 now includes Hispanics, Armenians and Swedes.
Church ministries in recent years include a Halloween Trunk-or-Treat program, monthly visitations to the southwest Fresno police station, an annual book drive for students at Lowell Elementary School as well as financial support for Evangel Home, New Life for Girls and Catholic Charities.
Bethel Lutheran Church also reaches out to the community with a monthly Jazz Mass, which features some of the finest jazz artists in the central San Joaquin Valley.
After the anniversary service ends, people will gather for dinner at 6 p.m. in the church's parish hall. The church's current pastor is the Rev. Stephen Carlson.
Details: www.bethelfresno.org or (559) 264-5385.
St. John's offers full Ash Wednesday events
St. John's Cathedral, the headquarter church for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno, has a full schedule of activities in four days on Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.
Ash Wednesday is the seventh Wednesday before Easter, so called from the practice of putting ashes on the forehead as a sign of penitence. This year, Easter is April 20.
St. John's will celebrate special Masses at 8 a.m. in Spanish and 12:10 p.m. in English in the cathedral, 2814 Mariposa St. Fasting and abstinence is required.
St. John's also will offer distribution of ashes in the cathedral at 9, 10 and 11 a.m. and 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 p.m., all in English, as well as at 6, 6:30, 7, 7:30, 8 and 8:30 p.m., all in Spanish.
Across the street in the church hall, services will be at 3:30, 4:30, 5:30 and 6 p.m., all in English, and at 6:30, 7, 7:30, 8 and 8:30 p.m., all in Spanish.
Details: email, firstname.lastname@example.org or call, (559) 485-6210.
Church to host Lavender Convention
A convention promoting the spirituality of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community in the central San Joaquin Valley is scheduled 10 a.m.-5 p.m. March 8 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno, 2672 E. Alluvial Ave.
The Lavender Convention will feature the Rev. Geoffrey Farrow as keynote speaker. He is a former Catholic priest for Fresno's St. Paul Newman Center who was removed in October 2008 after he announced that he was gay and opposed Proposition 8.
Cost is $15 in advance or $20 at the door.
Hindu spiritual leader to give lectures
A Canadian-born Hindu spiritual leader will give "Essence of the Bhagavad Gita, Part 3" lectures Sunday through March 8 at Hindu Temple of Fresno, 7699 E. Alluvial Ave., Clovis.
Swami Nikhilanand resides at Radha Madhav Dham in Austin, Texas, the largest Hindu ashram in the United States.
The lecture topics are:
"Brahm, Jeev and Maya," Sunday and Monday
"Sattva, Raj and Tam in the Human Mind," Tuesday
"The Soul's Relationship with God," Wednesday
"Godly and Non-Godly Qualities of Human Beings," Thursday
"The Consequences of Right Faith and Wrong Faith," Friday
"The Secrets of All Secrets," March 8
Details: (559) 325-2413 or 905-2804.
Fresno Choral Artists to perform concerts
Fresno Choral Artists will perform a spring concert — "A Mixed-Up Mass" — 4 p.m. Saturday, March 1, at Reedley First Mennonite Church, which is at 1208 L St., and 4 p.m. Sunday at First Congregational Church of Fresno, which is at 2131 N. Van Ness Blvd.
The concert features medieval to contemporary liturgical music, including movements by Fresno composers Benjamin Certain, Greg Lapp and Kevin Memley. The Kyrie that will be performed is a world premier.
Lapp is director of Fresno Choral Artists as well as the University High School choirs. Certain is a freelance musician.
The Reedley event is free. Donations will be accepted.
Cost of the Fresno event is $15 for general admission or $10 for students.
Details for both events: fresnochoralartists.org or (559) 240-0087.
Author to speak at Visalia church events
The author of a book on hope for those with cancer and those who love them will be the speaker at two events for the GateWay Church of Visalia women's ministry Spring Fling at the church, 1100 S. Sowell St.
Cindy Janecka, author of "This Can't Be Happening," will give talks at a dessert at 7 p.m. Friday, March 7, and a brunch at 10:30 a.m. March 8.
Cost at each event is $10. Free child care will be provided.
Details: www.gatewayvisalia.com or (559) 732-4787.
Seminar set on serving people with disabilities
A seminar on how churches and individuals can serve people with disabilities is scheduled at 9:30 a.m. March 8 at Redeemer Lutheran Church, 1084 W. Bullard Ave.
The seminar includes a service for people with special needs.
The event is presented by Redeemer Lutheran Church and Bethesda Lutheran Communities.
Details: (559) 439-8500.
Retrouvaille event seeks to help marriages
A program for couples seeking to strengthen their marriage will be presented Friday, March 8 and March 9 at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno Pastoral Center, 1550 N. Fresno St.
The Retrouvaille of Fresno program also includes 13 post-weekend sessions over a three-month period.
Details: www.retroca.com or (559) 324-7149.
Workshop explores spiritual writings
A workshop exploring spiritual writings of the Christian mystical tradition is scheduled 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. March 8 at the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master convent, 3700 N. Cornelia Ave.
The topic is Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German, Lutheran pastor and theologian who suffered martyrdom at Flossenburg concentration camp on April 9, 1945.
The presenter is the Rev. Steve Coffey of the Benedictine Abbey of the Risen Christ in San Luis Obispo.
The workshop is open to the public.
Details: (559) 275-1656.
The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6304 or email@example.com.