EASTERN ORTHODOX: Thousands of Eastern Orthodox Christians will go to church tonight in the San Fernando Valley area to begin midnight observances of Easter, or “Pascha,” as it is known in congregations with roots in Greece, the Slavic countries and the Eastern Mediterranean lands.
Roman Catholic and Protestant churches, which observed Easter April 3 this year, calculate differently the date for the holiday celebrating the biblical accounts of Jesus’ resurrection.
Orthodox Christians traditionally begin the service with a candlelight procession around their churches, then go into the church for liturgies that often last until 2:30 a.m.
A fellowship meal follows at many churches; some congregations celebrate an additional Pascha service in the late morning or early afternoon.
VALLEY BREAKFAST: The 21st annual San Fernando Valley Prayer Breakfast Thursday at the Sportsmen’s Lodge (see religion column above) will feature three speakers--teen-age singer Gianna Jessen of San Clemente; Brad W. Dacus of Sacramento, the western regional coordinator of the Rutherford Institute, and Dan Owens, an associate with the Luis Palau Evangelistic Assn., Portland, Ore.
Singer Leon Patillo, the former lead vocalist with the group Santana, will entertain and emcee the event, which starts at 7 a.m.
Prayers will be given by Rabbi Zvi Block, founder-dean of Aish HaTorah College of Jewish Studies, North Hollywood; the Rev. Jess Moody, senior pastor of Porter Ranch’s Shepherd of the Hills Church, and the Rev. Ronald Svendsen, senior pastor of Valley Presbyterian Church, North Hills.
Tickets are $17.50 each. Call (818) 893-6035 for information and tickets.
PRE-CRUSADE CONCERT: A half dozen soloists and Christian musical performers will appear Friday night at a concert to benefit the June 1-5 San Fernando Valley Crusade featuring evangelist Luis Palau.
Amy Moody, Jay Leon, Rick and Kathy Riso and the John Gayton Ensemble are on the 7:30 p.m. program at the Shepherd of the Hills Church, 19700 Rinaldi St., Porter Ranch. Associate Pastor Patrick Moody will emcee.
The concert is free although an offering will be taken to support the five-day crusade, set for Birmingham High School’s football stadium with the support of more than 200 area churches.
For information, call the Van Nuys office for the crusade at (818) 779-8400.
INTERFAITH MARRIAGES: Sally Weber, regional director of the San Fernando Valley Jewish Family Services, will lecture on interfaith and multiethnic marriages 7 p.m. Sunday at Temple Solael, 6601 Valley Circle Blvd., West Hills.
Tickets, if available in this last of a series of lectures, will sell at the door for $4. Call (818) 587-3300 for more information.
CHURCH MUSICAL: “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, will be performed 8 p.m. Friday at Woodland Hills Community Church in the first of three shows.
The other performances will be at 8 p.m. May 7 and at 4 p.m. May 8. Tickets are $9 for adults, $5 for youth, with group rates available.
Call the church, 21338 Dumetz Road, at (818) 884-5558 for more information.
DRAMATIC READING: Actor Don Dolan will portray Constantine the Great in a theater-style reading Sunday during the 10:30 a.m. service of Emerson Unitarian Church, which is meeting at Temple Beth Kodesh, 7401 Shoup Ave., West Hills, because the Northridge earthquake destroyed its church building.
The program will be narrated by the Rev. Robert Kaufman, who wrote the script. For more information, call Kathy Challis at (818) 887-6101.
BLACK FAMILIES: Ezola Foster, president of Americans for Family Values, will speak on troubles facing American black families in a talk 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Congregation Beth Kodesh, 7401 Shoup Ave., West Hills. Call (818) 346-0811 for information.
News and announcements for this column may be sent to Religion Desk, Los Angeles Times, 20000 Prairie St., Chatsworth 91311.