June 6, 2014

Orozco: Wesley Methodist celebrates ministry

Wesley United Methodist Church in Fresno will celebrate its 30th anniversary in reconciling ministry.

Wesley United Methodist Church in Fresno will celebrate its 30th anniversary in reconciling ministry.

In 1984, the church voted to become a reconciling congregation, which welcomes and affirms gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people as a part of the church ministry.

At the time, the Fresno congregation was just the second United Methodist Church in the nation to do so.

According to Wesley United Methodist Church's website (, "We are a community of people from many different walks of life, who believe that God has drawn us together to be the visible sign of God's wildly inclusive love."

Special events are scheduled at Wesley United Methodist Church on Sunday, June 8, featuring retired Bishop Melvin G. Talbert, 79, of Nashville, Tenn. He will speak at the Sunday Adult Forum at 9:15 a.m. and the worship service at 10:30 a.m.

Talbert became the center of controversy in October after he presided over the wedding of two men in Alabama. A local bishop and the executive committee of the denomination's Council of Bishops had asked him not to perform the ceremony.

In March, complaints were filed against Talbert, alleging he "has violated the sacred trust of his office."

Wesley United Methodist Church is at 1343 E. Barstow Ave.

Details: (559) 224-1947.

Yosemite chapel celebrates 135th year

A special service will celebrate the 135th anniversary of Yosemite Valley Chapel in Yosemite National Park.

The first service in the chapel was held June 7, 1879.

Yosemite Community Church, a nondenominational congregation that holds services in the chapel, will celebrate with an extended service Sunday, June 8, starting at 9:15 a.m.

The service will feature special guest speakers, including former chapel pastors, and musicians.

Some church members also will dress in 1879 period clothing, playing the characters of John Muir and Galen Clark. Visitors also are encouraged to dress in period clothing.

The chapel anniversary comes in a month when Yosemite National Park has its sesquicentennial celebration June 30.

The chapel is on the Yosemite Valley floor at 9000 Southside Drive.

Details: or (209) 372-4831.

Eagle Scout project shows patriotism

A Fresno student has completed an Eagle Scout project that benefits San Joaquin Memorial High School, where he just finished his junior year.

Grant Der Manouel, 17, refurbished the two existing flag poles on campus, installed light fixtures to illuminate the flags and added landscaping to the flag pole areas.

The project now enables the school to fly two flags on each 50-foot pole. The north pole is flying the U.S. and California state flags. The south pole is flying the papal flag as well as a customized San Joaquin Memorial flag that Der Manouel designed.

No flags had been flown at the school for more than 10 years, Der Manouel says.

Der Manouel, a member of Boy Scouts of America Troop 223, says he was inspired by his passion for his country and school as well as his faith.

San Joaquin Memorial was founded on Oct. 1, 1945, and named after the men and women in the central San Joaquin Valley who gave their lives in service of their country.

San Joaquin Memorial is one of two high schools that are part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno. The other is Garces Memorial in Bakersfield. Bishop Armando X. Ochoa of the Fresno Diocese participated in a special ceremony May 29 for Der Manouel's Eagle Scout project.

Clovis native is top pick as Christian artist

A contemporary Christian artist and Clovis native won $10,000 after being voted the top up-and-coming artist for May in a worldwide music competition through

Rachel Belman became the first Christian artist to win the competition.

ArtistSignal is a social music platform that allows listeners to vote for the Top Artist. Each month's top vote-getter wins $10,000.

Belman, a graduate of Fresno Pacific University, received 51,835 votes, holding the site's No. 1 spot for all of May.

Earlier this year, Belman received Best Female Contemporary Christian Artist for the second consecutive year at the Indie Music Channel Awards. She was riding the success of her latest album, "The Call," featuring the hit song "Believe."

In a news release, Belman says, "I have been blessed with the ability to write music and perform, but I never want to be the main focus. My ultimate desire is that my music would bring hope and encouragement to other people, pointing them to the ultimate hope we have in Jesus Christ."


Minister speaks at New Thought event

The senior minister of the Spiritual Awareness Center in Madera gave a presentation at the recent Canadian New Thought Conference in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

The Rev. Steve Walling talked on "It's the Message, Not the Messenger." The conference was held May 30-June 1.

Walling also is host of a show, "New Thought Talk With Rev. Steve," which is on on Saturday mornings.

The Spiritual Awareness Center in Madera is at 218 S. D St.

Details: (559) 661-1948.


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