OPEN MINDS: The Irvine United Church of Christ is far from being a gay church. But gays know the church welcomes them. Beginning this week, it will do more than that. . . . The church will conduct four Wednesday night sessions to help the congregation better understand gays--and the church's history of open-mindedness. . . . Roger Laule, from its outreach committee, says: "We hope it will help show that a lot of very normal people out there just happen to be gay."
NEW MINISTRY: Bishop Norman F. McFarland of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange presides Saturday over a special inaugural celebration for the church's Filipino Pastoral Ministry. Filipino Catholics will continue to attend churches throughout the county, but their leaders have long wanted their own Catholic ministry. . . . Spokesman Arturo Diaz explains: "We want to be a voice within the church, the same as Latinos or the Vietnamese." The celebration will be at the St. Anthony Claret Parish in Anaheim.
COUNTRY MESSAGE: It's not because the Rev. William Halliday is from Texas and constantly wears a Western hat that he decided to introduce country-Western worship at St. Paul's Presbyterian Church in Anaheim. Classical music is his taste. But, says Halliday: "We've got to pass the torch on to the next generation. And we've got to find ways to bring them into the church." . . . He started the Saturday evening country-Western worship--with a live band--last month, modeled partly after similar country music services at the Main Place Christian Fellowship in Santa Ana.
EMERGENCY RELIGION: John Fulce, 44, has specialized in youth ministry for 15 years. The past three years, he has served as the youth pastor at Living Waters Christian Fellowship in Fountain Valley. He's counseled gang members, pregnant teen-agers, drug addicts and youths with just typical teen problems. . . . "It's an emergency room," he says of his church. "We're here for hurting people. Sometimes I just sit with the kids and cry with them."