MERGER OK’D: Members of Hillcrest Christian Church...

MERGER OK’D: Members of Hillcrest Christian Church in Granada Hills approved a merger with Shepherd of the Hills Church in Porter Ranch during voting last week, and Hillcrest Senior Pastor Dudley Rutherford will be installed Sunday as pastor of the new congregation.

Rutherford has withheld announcing the ballot tally until services tonight and Sunday morning at Hillcrest. In the meantime, however, Shepherd of the Hills Church sent a mailing to its members this week signaling the favorable vote by noting that Rutherford would be installed at its 10:40 a.m. service Sunday.

A Shepherd of the Hills spokesman said that its retiring pastor, the Rev. Jess Moody, 70, will install Rutherford in a brief ceremony Sunday rather than Oct. 8, which was the previously announced plan if the merger was approved.


The combined church--whose name has yet to be decided--is expected to have an average attendance of about 2,000 people and will begin meeting regularly at the 4-year-old Porter Ranch church next weekend.

HUNGER WALK: Los Angeles Laker broadcaster Chick Hearn will serve as grand marshal for the 20th San Fernando Valley Crop Walk on Nov. 19, said the Valley Interfaith Council, the fund-raising walk’s sponsor.

Hearn, inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1991, is an Encino resident.

Council officials said that participants can choose either a 2K or a 10K walk, starting in Chatsworth at St. Stephen Presbyterian Church. Each walker is responsible for signing up individual sponsors, whose donations are tax-deductible.

Three-quarters of the funds will go to world hunger relief agencies, such as Church World Service; the remainder will be given to local groups, such as the council’s Meals on Wheels and Food Pantry Coalition.

For more information, call (818) 718-6460.

ST. NICHOLAS CONCERT: Celebrating the impending arrival of a new rector at St. Nicholas Episcopal Church in Encino, the congregation’s 50-voice Episcopal Chorale will perform a free concert at 4 p.m. Sunday.

The Anglo-Catholic church, affiliated with the Los Angeles Episcopal Diocese, will welcome the Rev. James E. Furman of Hawaii as its first permanent rector in three years Oct. 22. The Rev. Robert Voyle, who served as interim priest-in-charge, left that post this week.

The church, established in 1938, is at 17114 Ventura Blvd.

GROUNDBREAKING: Auxiliary Bishop Armando X. Ochoa of the Los Angeles Catholic Archdiocese presided over groundbreaking ceremonies Friday in Granada Hills for a new parish center and hall for St. John Baptist de la Salle Church, which lost three buildings to the 1994 Northridge earthquake.