Purim, Holy Week Celebrations Highlighted

Temple Isaiah of Newport Beach will celebrate the festival of Purim with a traditional holiday worship service at 7:30 p.m. Monday in the temple sanctuary, 2401 Irvine Ave.

Purim, or the Feast of Lots, is traditionally celebrated on the 14th day of Adar, the 12th month in the Jewish calendar. On this day, Queen Esther and her uncle Mordecai saved the Jews of ancient Persia from a mass slaughter plotted by Haman, who drew lots to see when the Jews were to die.

The joyous holiday will be celebrated with a reading of the Megillah, or the book of Esther, and congregants will respond with groggers , or noisemakers, to symbolize the overcoming of the villain Haman.

The public is invited to attend the celebration. For more information, call (714) 548-6900.

The Greater Buena Park Ministerial Assn. will hold an ecumenical worship service from noon to 1 p.m. on Good Friday at the First Congregational Church of Buena Park, 7703 10th St. The public is invited to the service, which will feature pastors from 10 county churches. For more information, call (714) 522-1831.

"About My Father's Business" is the title of the Rev. Jack F. Lamey's sermon at 11 a.m. services on Palm Sunday at the Church of Religious Science, 27802 El Lazo Road, South Laguna. A meditation service will also be held from 10:30 to 10:45 a.m. For more information, call (714) 831-2683.

The Chancel Choir of the Community Presbyterian Church will present DuBois' "Seven Last Words of Christ" at 7:30 p.m. on Maundy Thursday at 32202 Del Obispo Road, San Juan Capistrano. Maundy Thursday marks Jesus' washing of the Disciples' feet. The church's dramatic presentation commemorating the Last Supper will include special lighting effects and a dramatic participation by congregants in a Communion service. Nursery care will be provided. For more information, call (714) 493-1502.

Holy Week services at the Laguna Beach United Methodist Church will begin with a candlelight Communion and meditation service at 8 p.m. on Maundy Thursday at 21632 Wesley Drive, South Laguna. A three-hour Good Friday service for congregants will also be held at St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Laguna Beach. For more information, call (714) 499-3088.

A special Communion service will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Maundy Thursday at the United Methodist Church of the Good Shepherd, 8152 McFadden Ave., Westminster. The Sanctuary Choir will present "The Service of Shadows" program. For more information, call (714) 897-0100.

Congregation B'nai Israel (Conservative) will hold their annual Purim Carnival from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sunday at 655 S. B St., Tustin. Sponsored by the synagogue's youth groups, the carnival will feature games and prizes. At 7:30 p.m. Monday, the Purim festivities continue with a reading of the story of Esther and a costume contest for both children and adults. For more information, call (714) 730-9693.

The Laguna Presbyterian Church will hold a special "Friendship Sunday" service at 9 and 10:30 a.m. Sunday at the church, 415 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach. "One Great Hour of Sharing" is the title of the Rev. Jerry Tankersley's sermon. New members will be received into the church during the 10:30 a.m. service, and a reception in their honor will follow. For more information, call (714) 494-7555.

The choir and orchestra of Saint James Episcopal Church will perform Gabriel Faure's "Requiem" at 7:30 p.m. Friday at 3209 Via Lido, Newport Beach. William Bradley will conduct the choir, which features soloists Renee Patitucci, Mel Whitehead and Gerald McMillan. There is no admission charge, but donations will be accepted. For more information, call (714) 675-0210.

A special Maundy Thursday service re-enacting the Last Supper will be held at 7 p.m. at the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), corner of Harbor Boulevard and Wilshire Avenue, Fullerton. The service will portray Jesus washing his disciples' feet, sharing the last meal and Communion. For more information, call (714) 525-5525.

"The Healing Touch--Sharing" is the title of the Rev. David Beadles' services at 9 and 11 a.m. on Palm Sunday at the United Methodist Church of Laguna Hills, 24442 Moulton Parkway, Laguna Niguel. Sunday School for youths will be held at 9 a.m., and classes for adults and teen-agers will be held at 10 a.m. A two-hour worship service will also be held from noon to 2 p.m. on Good Friday in the church sanctuary. Churches in the Laguna Hills area will share in the presentation of the "Seven Last Words of Christ From the Cross," which includes music, Scripture and meditation. For more information, call (714) 837-3414.

The Chabad of Irvine Jewish Center will hold a number of Purim festivities, beginning with the Grand Purim Carnival from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at 4872 Royce Road. The annual event will feature rides, games, shows, food and a puppet show. At 6 p.m. Monday, there will be a "Purim on Parade" festival in the Rancho San Joaquin Auditorium, 4861 Michelson Drive, Irvine. A masquerade contest, slide show, Purim kits and a Megillah reading will be held. For more information, call (714) 786-5000.

The Capistrano Valley Church will host a Good Friday luncheon and worship service beginning at noon at 32032 Del Obispo Road, San Juan Capistrano. Other Christian churches from the community will be participating in the event. Lunch will be served from noon to 1 p.m., followed by a one-hour worship service. For more information or lunch reservations, call (714) 661-4991.

Congregation B'nai Tzedek will hold their Purim service at 7:45 p.m. Monday in the sanctuary, 9669 Talbert Ave., Fountain Valley. Members of the synagogue's 7th-to-9th-grade youth group will mime the story of Queen Esther saving the Jews from a massacre. Participants are encouraged to attend in costume. For more information, call (714) 963-4611.

A vigil and prayer service in memory of Archbishop Oscar Romero will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Sunday at St. Irenaeus Church, 5201 Evergreen Drive, Cypress. This Sunday marks the eve of the sixth anniversary of Romero's death in El Salvador. Pat Krommer, director of the Archbishop Romero Relief Fund for the poor, will speak on "The Costs of Discipleship in Today's Central America." For more information, call (714) 523-2550.

In celebration of Palm Sunday, the First United Methodist Church of Santa Ana will present the Easter portion of Handel's "Messiah" at 10:30 a.m. worship services at 609 Spurgeon St. The Chancel Choir will perform the musical classic, accompanied by an orchestra. The service will close with the "Amen" chorus. For more information, call (714) 542-2322.

The First Congregational Church of Santa Ana will hold 10:30 a.m. Palm Sunday services at 2555 Santiago Ave. The service will include a children's palm procession and the 30-voice church choir performing Faure's "Requiem," accompanied by the pipe organ. A Sunday school open house with refreshments will follow the service. Nursery care will be provided. For more information, call (714) 639-0311.

Temple Beth Emet will hold Purim services at 7 p.m. Monday at 1770 W. Cerritos Ave., Anaheim. Costume contests for all ages, entertainment and refreshments will follow the services. For more information, call (714) 772-4720.

Saddleback Christian Church will hold Good Friday worship services at 7:30 p.m. at the Linda Vista Elementary School, 25222 Pericia Drive, Mission Viejo. In honor of the religious holiday, the congregation will share in the ancient service of Tennebrae, which is derived from the Latin word for darkness. Candles will be extinguished one by one to symbolize the betrayal, denial, arrest, trial and crucifixion of Jesus. For more information, call (714) 380-1097.

John Robert Clarke, author of "The Importance of Being Imperfect," will speak to the Unitarian Church of Orange County at 10:30 a.m. Sunday at 1120 W. Santa Ana St., Anaheim. His speech, "The Born-Again Humanist," will cover the human need for renewal and the requirements for faith in today's society. Clarke's speech is the first in a series on the role of humanism in human freedom. For more information, call (714) 758-1050.

The Geneva Presbyterian Chancel Choir will present Handel's "Messiah" at 5 p.m. Sunday at 24301 El Toro Road, Laguna Hills. The 65-voice choir, directed by Don Walker, will be accompanied by a chamber orchestra and organist Charles Raasch. Soloists performing will be Eileen O'Hern Dolan, soprano; Judy Armer, alto; Jerome Kitterman, tenor, and Ron Hafner, bass. No admission will be charged to the hour-and-a-half performance, but donations will be accepted. For more information, call (714) 837-2323.

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