The area's Armenian faith community will again celebrate a centuries-old tradition — the blessing of the grapes.
The tradition dates to ancient Armenia at the beginning of harvest in mid-August when priests asked God to protect the vineyards from natural disasters and to bless the grapes and the harvest. After the ceremony, parishioners exchanged best wishes.
In Fresno, two Armenian churches each present the blessing ceremony with a congregational picnic. Their events are held on separate weekends.
The St. Paul Armenian Church Picnic and Grape Blessing is Sunday, Aug. 10, at California Armenian Home, 6720 E. Kings Canyon Road.
The event begins with the celebration of divine liturgy at 10:30 a.m, followed by the blessing of the grapes at noon and picnic at 12:30 p.m.
The celebration also will be the first service for the Rev. Yessai Bedros, who was named Wednesday as new parish priest at St. Paul Armenian Church.
Bedros, 29, who was born in Kamishli, Syria, replaces the Rev. Arshen Aivazian, 69, who retired in May after serving 14 years at the church. Bedros previously served at the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church in Burbank. Since May, Bedros was assigned several times to serve as a guest celebrant at St. Paul Armenian Church.
The congregational picnic offers a menu of shish kebab, chicken kebab, lulu burger, salad, pilaf and beverage. Music will be provided by the Richard Hagopian Band.
Details: (559) 226-6343.
The Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church Grape Blessing, Picnic & Festival will be Aug. 17, also at California Armenian Home.
Divine liturgy starts at 10 a.m., followed by the blessing of the grapes at 11:45 a.m. and the picnic/festival at noon.
Details: (559) 486-1141.
Community rally will support Israel
A community rally — Stand With Israel — is scheduled at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 11, at Wilson Theatre, 1455 Fulton St.
Eyal Naor, deputy consul general of Israel for the Pacific Northwest region, will speak.
The Jewish Federation of Central California is inviting members of the Jewish community to attend the rally in defense of Israel.
Wilson Theatre also is site for Cornerstone Church services on Sundays and programs during the week.
Details: (559) 432-2162 or 442-0122.
Ministry will honor human rights
A program honoring recipients of the Church Women United 2014 Human Rights Award will be held from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Aug. 16 at First Congregational Church of Fresno, 2131 N. Van Ness Blvd.
The recipients are Jackie Holmes, Les and Pauline Kimber, and Allen Hodgkin.
The program theme is "We Are in God's Hands."
Church Women United is a national movement that brings together women of diverse races, cultures and traditions in closer Christian fellowship, prayer, advocacy, and action for peace with justice in the world.
The event includes a light lunch. Cost is $7. Reservations must be made by today.
Details: email, firstname.lastname@example.org or call (559) 225-1894.
Seminar seeks to expose false doctrine
A seminar seeking to expose false doctrine in the "prosperity gospel" will be offered Sunday, Aug. 10, through Tuesday, Aug. 12, at Coarsegold Community Bible Church, 44934 Road 415, Coarsegold.
The seminar theme is "Clouds Without Water."
Justin Peters, founder of Justin Peters Ministries in Sandpoint, Idaho, is the speaker. The ministry is committed to the faithful proclamation of the Gospel and to expose the false doctrines of the "Word of Faith" movement.
Peters will speak at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday and 6:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday.
Details: (559) 683-7415.
Event will gather men to pray for Fresno
A gathering for men to pray for the city of Fresno — Heartbeat of the City/An Evening of Prayer — is scheduled at 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 14, at the New Covenant Community Church upstairs chapel, 1744 E. Nees Ave.
The quarterly event is presented by the Men's Citywide Prayer Network, a program within the ministry of Operation Heal Our Land.
The events focus prayers on major areas within the culture where there is need — education, business, religion, media, family, arts/entertainment and government.
The event is designed for men's citywide prayer groups, city leaders, pastors and others.
Details: (559) 298-0688.
Dinner/dance helps scholarship fund
The 44th edition of the Baile Ranchero dinner/dance fundraiser will be held Aug. 16 at VFW Post 8900, 385 N. Blythe Ave.
Proceeds go to the St. John's Guadalupe Society student scholarship program. Three scholarships are awarded each year.
The event begins with dinner at 6 p.m. Mariachi music will be provided during dinner. Dancing is 7:30-11:30 p.m. Music will be provided by Conjunto Califas.
The event is for adults only. Admission is $30.
Details: (559) 999-5671 or 477-5103.