The Messiah Sing-Along – a Fresno tradition kicking off the holiday season – reaches a milestone this year with its 35th presentation.
At a time when other U.S. cities were presenting Messiah sing-alongs, former McLane High School choir director Sam Barkman led a drive to bring the sing-along to Fresno in 1976.
As many as 700 people again are expected to participate at 3 p.m. Nov. 27 at First Presbyterian Church, 1540 M St.
In Messiah sing-alongs, the audience serves as the chorus and provides the soloists in the singing of the "Messiah," composed by George Friedreich Handel in 1741.
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Fresno organizers again are putting out a call for participants, inviting Fresno-area churches to send their choirs. Individuals, both amateurs and accomplished musicians, also are welcome. The event also features an orchestra.
"There is nothing in music quite as exciting as sitting in the midst of an ensemble of hundreds of singers performing Handel's magnificent 'Messiah,' " director Julie Carter says in a news release. Carter, director of music at First Presbyterian Church, became Messiah Sing-Along director in 1996.
The event is free. Those attending are asked to bring a nonperishable food item, which will be distributed to people through the Fresno Rescue Mission, Evangel Home and First Presbyterian Church.
After the singing ends, a free soup dinner with bread will be served. Details: (559) 485-6460.
Need help with your Thanksgiving dinner this year?
More than 500 Thanksgiving meals – with all the trimmings – are available through the Feeding Fresno program, the West Fresno Ministerial Alliance's Thanksgiving food giveaway. The event begins at 9 a.m. today at Edison Computech, 555 E. Belgravia Ave.
Dozens of volunteers are working with the West Fresno Ministerial Alliance, a coalition of churches, to distribute the food boxes and help carry them to your vehicle. There also is a Kids Zone with children's activities. Volunteers are asked to report at 7 a.m.
The interfaith community will come together to express gratitude at the annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Service, which will be held at 7 p.m. Sunday at United Japanese Christian Church, 136 N. Villa Ave., Clovis.
The event begins with a procession of clergy members and other faith leaders, dressed in clothing representing their religious traditions. The services features the inspiration and music of the various faiths. An offering will be taken to benefit Stone Soup Fresno, a nonprofit serving the southeast Asian community.
Those attending are asked to bring a plate of fruit or sweets to share with others after the service.
The event is presented by the Interfaith Alliance of Central California. Details: interfaithalliancecc.org.
Lessons & Carols
An Ecumenical Service of Lessons & Carols will be offered at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 27 – the first Sunday of Advent – at St. Mary's Anglican Church, 6175 E. Kings Canyon Road.
The service uses nine traditional lessons from Scripture and contemporary Christian song to reveal the true meaning of Christmas.
Details: stmarysfresno.com or (559) 255-4883.
Hope for Haiti
The West Fresno Ministerial Alliance is hosting a series of talks in Fresno by the Rev. Jonathan Joseph and his wife, Alexandra, founders of the Haitian Baptist Convention.
In response to the earthquake that devastated Haiti in January 2010, the West Fresno Ministerial Alliance sent teams of pastors and lay people to work in Haiti last June and this March. The workers established a friendship with the Josephs, who will visit Fresno to give an update on Haiti. The talks are:
- At 9 a.m. Nov. 27 at Campus Bible Church, 4710 N. Maple Ave.
- At 11:30 a.m. Nov. 27 at Bethany Inner City Church, which meets at First Presbyterian Church, 1540 M Street.
- At 6 p.m. Nov. 27 at Saints Community Church, 3740 E. Ashlan Ave.
- At 4 p.m. Nov. 28 at the Fresno City College women's studies meeting, Old Administration Building, room 207.
- At noon Nov. 30 at a Haiti Missions reception at Campus Bible Church, 4710 N. Maple Ave.
- At 7 p.m. Dec. 2 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Fresno, 2672 E. Alluvial Ave., Clovis.
- At 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Dec. 4 at Mount Olive Baptist Church, 101 W. Clinton Ave.
- At 10 a.m. Dec. 4 at New Beginnings Community Church, 4141 N. Fresno St.
- At 5 p.m. Dec. 5 at the West Fresno Ministerial Alliance's annual Christmas Fellowship Banquet at the International Catering Co., 4277 N. West Ave.
Details: (559) 291-9116.
Fresno Metro Ministry
Fresno Metro Ministry will present the 41st edition of its Anniversary Awards Dinner at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 1 at Hope Lutheran Church, 364 E. Barstow Ave.
Award winners are Jenifer Alcorn of Team Jab, Dr. John Telles of The Heart Group, The kNOw Youth Media and Every Neighborhood Partnership. The award goes to individuals and organizations exemplifying Fresno Metro Ministry's spirit of working together to build a better community.
Cost is $40. Details: (559) 485-1416.
Church's first year
Divine Mercy Catholic Church in Clovis will celebrate its first anniversary with a special Mass at 8:30 a.m. Sunday, followed by a complimentary brunch at 9:30. The church meets at Clovis East High School's multipurpose room, 2940 N. Leonard Ave.
Divine Mercy Catholic Church, a mission of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Clovis, held its first Mass on Nov. 21, 2010. The congregation has 115 registered families.
The Mass and brunch are open to the public. Details: (559) 299-4270.