While the Bush Administration promotes economic enterprise...


While the Bush Administration promotes economic enterprise zones for riot-torn sections of Los Angeles, the United Methodist Church plans to build “shalom zones” in the stricken areas.

Shalom is a Hebrew word meaning “peace” or “wholeness.” The idea for a shalom zone was first suggested in May by a pastor from Columbus, Ohio, at the United Methodist General Conference in Louisville, Ky.

The Rev. C. Joseph Sprague proposed that, under the auspices of the denomination’s Board of Global Ministries, one city block be rebuilt -- physically and spiritually--”with homes, business and social-service outposts needed for life, liberty and the pursuit of meaning.” Also envisioned are “listening posts” where residents could come to express their concerns.


According to the Rev. Robert Smith, superintendent of the Los Angeles District of the California Pacific Annual Conference, the shalom-zone proposal was the product of a “highly emotionally charged” general conference. “People really wanted to do something,” he said.

“But since then, our crisis committee realized how hard it would be to select just one block. We are now thinking in terms of four blocks, in different ethnic neighborhoods.”

Smith is participating this week at the Methodists’ regional conference in Redlands.

“The church sees its role as trying to effect healing and reconciliation and bring wholeness,” he said. “The hope is that we can take burned-out blocks and call the community together and work to rebuild, as a symbol of peace and reconciliation.”

The committee is identifying donors and sites for the shalom zones and plans to consult with Rebuild L.A. chairman Peter V. Ueberroth and other officials.

Smith said the denomination is considering using its resources as “collateral to do (financial) leveraging.” He said it would also seek funds from foundations and philanthropic organizations, and urge other denominations to consider similar projects. Participants at last month’s national conference spontaneously contributed $24,000 for the shalom zone.

He pointed out that the church has long had active ministries in the inner-city areas affected by the riots, and has disbursed more than $100,000 in cash for clothing, food, housing, legal services and refugee counseling. The Holman United Methodist Church in the Crenshaw district has been a major distribution point for food and clothing, said Peg Parker, an assistant to Bishop Jack M. Tuell.


For information about the shalom zones or to contribute goods or services to riot victims, call (310) 677-7106. To contribute money, call (213) 749-6310.


A traditional Irish Mass will be celebrated in Gaelic at 8:30 a.m. June 21 at the Grand National Irish Fair and Music Festival in the Shamrock Bowl at Santa Anita Race Track. Background accompaniment will be provided by Evan McGrath and Irish Eyes.

The Mass is sponsored by the Los Angeles County Board of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in America. Those who wish to attend only the Mass will be refunded admission price to the fair if they return to the ticket office within 10 minutes after the Mass. Tickets to the fair are $12.50 general admission and $7.50 for seniors, students and handicapped people. Children under 13 are admitted free. (818) 771-5909.


Retiring Methodist Bishop Jack M. Tuell and his wife, Margie, were honored Wednesday night at the California Pacific Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church with a program of original music, a slide presentation and gifts. About 1,600 clergy and lay people gathered on the outdoor green at the University of Redlands for a reception in honor of Tuell, who will retire Aug. 31. Television personality Mario Machado was the surprise master of ceremonies. The conference presented $125,000 to the School of Theology at Claremont in the bishop’s honor.

Miriyam Glazer, head of the University of Judaism’s Lee College and its department of literature, has accepted an invitation to spend six weeks at Mishkenot Sha’ananim, an artists’ residence in Jerusalem. The residence hosts artists from around the world, including author Saul Bellow, who wrote one of his books there. Glazer will be working on a book on gender and spirituality during her stay, which begins this month.


The Academy of Music and Arts at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Long Beach presents its annual spring concert Sunday at 4 p.m. The church choir and orchestra, members of the Academy Singers and pianist Dale Schweitzer perform works by Bach, Mozart and Mendelssohn under the direction of David Koehring. There is a $5 suggested donation. The church is at 525 E. 7th St., Long Beach. (310) 436-4047.


The Westwood Presbyterian Church Chancel Choir and Orchestra will present Antonio Vivaldi’s “Gloria” during worship services at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Sunday. Don Weiss conducts. Child care and free parking are available. The address is 10822 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood. (310) 474-4535.

The musical “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” will be performed at the United Methodist Church of Garden Grove June 19-20 at 6:30 p.m. An ice cream social will precede the performance, which is open to the public. Admission is $3, $6 per family. The address is 12741 Main St., Garden Grove. (714) 534-1070.


Rev. Jeannette Myers of Food for the Poor will deliver a guest sermon at the 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. worship services Sunday at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Fullerton. Myers’ organization is an interdenominational ministry that ships food, medical, building and school supplies to more than 20 countries, including Haiti and Guyana. The church is at 1145 W. Valencia Mesa Drive, Fullerton. (714) 879-8070.

Psychiatrist Roderick Gorney will discuss “Why We Believe: The Function of Belief” at a general meeting of the Society for Humanistic Judaism at 7:45 p.m. June 19 at the United Methodist Church Annex in West Los Angeles. Discussion and questions will follow. Admission is free. The address is 10497 Wilshire Blvd.; the annex entrance is on Warner Avenue. (213) 891-4303.

Please address notices to: Southern California File, c/o Religion Editor, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, C a., 90053. To receive consideration, an item must be brief and arrive at least three weeks prior to the event announced.