Economy even hits Easter services

Northside Christian Church in Clovis has presented special Easter services with celebrity musical guests and other personalities since 2004.

Among them, Lee Greenwood, Randy Travis and Natalie Grant were headliners at the Save Mart Center from 2004-06. After scheduling conflicts, the services were held at Northside's sanctuary in 2007-09, when Ruben Studdard and Matthew West had top billing.

Northside is cutting back this year because of the economy. There won't be any big names.

"With people out of work, it sends mixed messages," says the church's executive pastor, Jim Corrao, adding that Northside's financial health is sound.

The services Easter weekend -- 6 p.m. April 3 and 9 and 11 a.m. April 4 -- will feature the church's adult and children's choirs. Church pastor the Rev. David N. Rutherford will give the Easter message.

In preparation for the services, the Special Forces church ministry is coordinating a prayer vigil next Saturday where church members will pray in 15-minute intervals, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The church is at 2709 E. Nees Ave. Details: (559) 323-9675.

Islamic center will hold Norouz event

Iranians and Persians will observe their New Year at a Norouz celebration at 10 a.m. today at the Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno, 2111 E. Nees Ave.

The event will feature the countdown to 10:35 a.m., the exact time for the New Year. A program and lunch will begin at 11:30 a.m.

Details: (559) 297-9535.

Hindu faithful will celebrate

The Hindu faithful in the central San Joaquin Valley will gather for Swaminarayan Jayanti and Ram Navmi celebrations.

Among them, BAPS Shree Swaminarayan Mandir will present "Bolya Shri Hari Re" at 4 p.m today at the Hindu temple, 1425 W. Pine Ave.

The event will feature chanting, spiritual talks, traditional dances and dramas performed by youth on the life of Swaminarayan Bhagawan and Ram Bhagawan. A dinner will be served.

Details: (559) 213-0872.

Fresno Worship Center has guest speaker

The Rev. Karl Barancik, pastor of Faith City Church in Fenton, Mich., will be guest speaker at services at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday at Fresno Worship Center, 3385 E. Shields Ave.

Barancik will talk about his life of drug abuse and crime in Kansas before becoming a born-again Christian in 1974. He and his wife, Kathi, founded Faith City Church in 1981.

Details: (559) 226-1100.

Tulare church offers Southern gospel event

The California Melody Boys will present a Southern gospel concert and dessert at 6 p.m. next Saturday at Tulare First Baptist Church, 469 S. Cherry St.

The annual event will feature the California Melody Boys and The Beene Family. Special guests will be The Sons of the Shepherd and Solid Grown.

Details: (559) 686-0004.

Registration available for prison volunteers

A Bill Glass Weekend of Champions prison outreach event will be held April 29, April 30 and May 1 at Valley prisons and facilities.

The event will feature the ministry's athletes, entertainers and musicians sharing their faith while visiting inmates. The registration deadline for local volunteers is Wednesday.


Sikhs raise money for Haiti relief effort

The Sikh Council of Central California recently donated $15,000 to benefit the victims of the earthquake in Haiti.

The money was raised at 10 Sikh temples in the Valley and by other Sikh organizations.

Details: (559) 304-2107.

Baptist church plans new worship center

Groundbreaking was recently held for LifeWay Baptist Church's 11,000-square-foot worship center at 4250 W. Bullard Ave.

The $2 million project is expected to be completed by early October. The congregation holds services at the West Shaw Financial Park, 2515 W. Shaw Ave.

Details: (559) 228-1614.