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Christmas, as observed by religious bodies, has...

Christmas, as observed by religious bodies, has a “spectacular” side in traditions being repeated this season by Mormons and the Crystal Cathedral.

Thousands of lights on the grounds of the Los Angeles Mormon Temple will be switched on by Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley during ceremonies starting at 7 p.m. today. The program, open to the public, also features an outdoor concert by the Southern California Mormon Choir.

Because so many of the lights were damaged by winds during the 1987 Christmas season, some questioned whether the project would be repeated, according to the Latter-Day Sentinel. But Howard B. Anderson, a Los Angeles Mormon leader, said churches in his stake (region) and Long Beach plan to raise funds to repair or replace as many lights as possible.

Anderson estimated that 60,000 people daily see the display when driving by the temple at 10777 Santa Monica Blvd. in West Los Angeles.

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An estimated 160,000 people will attend the eighth annual run of Crystal Cathedral’s “Glory of Christmas” pageant, which began Friday, say officials of the Garden Grove church.

The musical production involves live animals, flying angels and special effects--using the 200-foot ceiling and 400-foot wide base to advantage. The performances, three times daily, with tickets starting at $14, will continue through Dec. 23.

Decidedly unspectacular, but also a growing tradition, is the Alternative Christmas Market begun in 1980 at Pasadena Presbyterian Church.

For the materially comfortable person who would rather see that a person in the Third World receives a vaccine, blankets, water pumps, artificial limbs or other such gifts, the program provides the vehicle because of links with such groups as the Mennonite Central Committee, Presbyterian Medical Missions and Habitat for Humanity International.

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Dozens of churches in Southern California and elsewhere are participating; some may have already held their “market” event. Information on sites is available at (800) 842-2243. The organization is directed by Harriet C. Prichard and is now located in Lucerne Valley near Victorville.

* CONVENTION

The Los Angeles Episcopal Diocese, which has 152 parishes in six counties, next week will hold its first convention since electing the Rt. Rev. Frederick H. Borsch as its bishop early this year. The two-day meeting at the Anaheim Hilton Hotel will begin Friday afternoon. Journalist Hodding Carter III, a longtime friend and one-time Princeton classmate of Borsch, will address the Friday night session. The bishop will give his long-range vision for the diocese to the convention’s 730 clergy and lay delegates Saturday morning during and right after the 8:30 a.m. Eucharist, a spokesman said.

* MEDIA

A fund-raising dinner uniting an estimated 25,000 people in 60 locations by satellite television is scheduled Tuesday to benefit the World Home Bible League. Sandi Patti and George Beverly Shea, singers popular with two different generations of evangelicals, are on a program being beamed simultaneously nationwide under arrangements by Victory Communications of Scottsdale, Ariz. The four Southern California dinner-viewing sites are Emmanuel Faith Church in Escondido and hotels in San Bernardino, Ontario and Buena Park.

* BOOKS

Newly published is “Illusions of Innocence: Protestant Primitivism in America, 1630-1875" (University of Chicago), co-authored by Richard T. Hughes of Pepperdine University and C. Leonard Allen of Abilene Christian University, both schools related to the Churches of Christ.


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