Religion Briefs

Model of Labyrinth on Display

* A canvas reproduction of the famous labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral in France will be displayed at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Ventura today and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The public is welcome to walk the labyrinth.

A workshop on the labyrinth's meaning for adults will be offered at 10 a.m. today. A children's workshop is set for 10:15 a.m. Sunday. Guided tours will be available at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. both days.

The labyrinth is an archetype found in all religious traditions around the world, said Marilyn Campbell of St. Paul's.

The church is at 3290 Loma Vista Road. For details or to register for a workshop, call 643-5033.

Free Gospel Quartet Concert

* Crimson River Quartet will perform Sunday at Newbury Park's First Baptist Church. The public is invited to the free concert.

The program will feature Southern gospel harmonies, messages of faith and hope along with traditional hymns.

First Baptist Church is at 166 S. Silas Lane. For information, call the church at 498-6114.

A Day for Community Service

* Members of Temple Beth Torah in Ventura will observe their third annual Mitzvah Day on Sunday by doing a variety of service projects for the temple and the community.

Beach cleanup at Marina Park, a food and toiletry drive, a used-book drive and repairs to the Ormond Beach least tern habitat are some of the projects. Temple members will also provide lunch for the homeless at the former Camarillo State Hospital. Younger members will garden and paint on the grounds of the temple.

Mitzvah Day registration begins at 9:30 a.m. at the temple, and projects will begin at 10, running to midafternoon. The event is open to the community.

For information, call Linda Rubenstein of Temple Beth Torah's social action committee at 984-1270. The temple is at 7260 Foothill Road.

Temple Fair to Celebrate Purim

* Temple Beth Haverim will hold an all-day Purim Carnival on Sunday at Willow Elementary School in Agoura Hills.

Attractions include rides, games, prizes, food, a petting zoo and musical entertainment, said Bobbi Rubinstein of the temple. Admission is free to the event, which will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine.

The school is at 29026 Laro Drive. For information, call Pam Katz at (818) 889-2501.

Church Plans Special Service

* Ascension Lutheran Church and School of Thousand Oaks will hold a special worship service, including a children's event Sunday at Civic Arts Plaza, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd. The celebration will include music from Ascension Music Ministry. The children's program will offer a Christian clown program, music with Paul Phillips and more.

The free celebration begins at 10 a.m. For information or reservations, call 495-0406.

Ecumenical Dialogue at Seminary

* The Ventura County Council of Churches will host its next ecumenical dialogue Wednesday in the theology library at St. John's Seminary and College in Camarillo.

"Path to Unity: The Bible Is Shareable" is the topic. A $5 lunch in the college refectory will be available to participants preceding the dialogue at 12:15 p.m.

St. John's is at 5012 Seminary Road. For information, call Council of Churches President Kenneth Bergmann at 983-0157.

Outing to Focus on Kosher Food

* "Everything You Need to Know about Kosher Shopping for Passover" will be led by Rabbi Eliezer Eldlitz, administrator of the Kosher Information Bureau, at Ralphs grocery store in Camarillo on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Chabad Community Center of Ventura is sponsoring the kosher food outing. The Ralphs store is at 820 Arneill Road.

For information, call Rabbi Yakov Latowicz of Chabad at 658-7441.

Local Temples Join Shabbat Event

* Many Ventura County synagogues, temples and congregations will throw open their doors Friday to take part in a national "Shabbat Across America."

Temple Beth Torah in Ventura and Oxnard's Congregation Am Hayam are among the thousands of temples across the continent planning Shabbat services, down to the traditional kosher meal.

"We're inviting all nonaffiliated Jews so that they may experience a traditional Shabbat service and dinner," said Am Hayam's Elaine Allen.

Allen said Rabbi Gerald Hanig will lead attendees in an interactive Friday night beginners' service with all the rituals explained. Dinner and beginners' service start at 6:30 p.m.

Temple Beth Torah's Rabbi Lisa Hochberg-Miller said it will also hold Shabbat at 6:30 p.m. for practicing and non-practicing Jews, also with a beginners' service and Shabbat dinner.

"This nationwide event is designed to teach a generation of unaffiliated Jews about the significance of the Jewish Sabbath," she said.

Shabbat Across America will begin at 6:30 p.m. throughout the country and Canada.

Congregation Am Hayam, a Conservative congregation, will hold its event at the Oxnard Monday Club at 1401 W. Gonzales Road. The cost is $10 for adults and $6 for children. For information or reservations, call Elaine Hanig at 653-6865 before Tuesday.

Temple Beth Torah's version also begins with dinner and a beginners' service at 6:30 p.m., at a cost of $10 for adults and $6 for children. The religious service will follow at 8 p.m. The temple is at 7620 Foothill Road. Free child care will be available during the service.

For information, call the temple office at 647-4181.

Church to Serve Fish Dinners

* A fish fry will be served each Friday evening of Lent at St. Anthony's Church in Oxnard. Sponsored by the parents' club, the fish fry will also include side dishes, punch and coffee for $5 a plate. Parishioners and friends are welcome to attend, and proceeds will benefit St. Anthony's School.

Stations of the Cross will be on Lenten Fridays at 1:30 and 7 p.m. in English and 8 p.m. in Spanish. The dinners will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Fridays through April 3 at 2511 South C St. For information, call 486-7301.

Women's Spring Conference

* South Coast Fellowship of Ventura will hold a women's spring conference Friday and March 21. Tracy Stewart will be the guest speaker.

The fee for the conference is $30, with registration in the foyer. Lunch on March 21 is $6, and child care will be provided during all sessions.

For information on the conference, call Theresa Dominguez at 981-0622. Stewart will speak at the fellowship meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The fellowship is at 4050 Market St.

Boutique to Help Family in Need

* The First Lutheran Church of Camarillo women will hold a spring and summer boutique March 21 at the church. Items for Easter, Mother's Day, Father's Day and summer will be on sale from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The fund-raiser will help a family from the congregation in need, due to illness. It will be matched by Aid Assn. for Lutherans, Branch 9464.

Those interested in signing up for a booth may call Karen Cozatt at 482-6966. The church is at 380 Arneill Road. Call 484-0426.

2 Churches to Hold Joint Service

* The congregation of Ventura's Olivet Baptist Church will host members of Ventura's Church of the Foothills at a combined 4 p.m. service March 22.

Olivet's pastor, the Rev. John L. Baylor, will give the sermon. The choirs of both churches will sing. The public is welcome.

"We are coming together like this to learn about the other church's differences and styles and to respect the differences," Baylor said.

Olivet Baptist is at 174 S. Anacapa. For information, call the church at 643-1976.

Church Adds Informal Service

* An 8:30 a.m. contemporary worship service at Santa Paula's First Presbyterian Church begins March 22. Pastor Chuck Laird said the one-hour informal service is being added to offer a variety of worship experiences to the community.

In April, the church will begin small group ministries "to enhance individual Christian growth," Laird said. "One of our small groups will meet on the topic 'Making Peace With Your Past,' and another will be about 'Search for Significance.' "

For information, call the church at 525-6654. First Presbyterian is at 121 N. Davis St.

High-Profile Trials Is Brunch Topic

* Ventura's Temple Beth Torah Brotherhood will sponsor a lox and bagel brunch March 22 with Laurie Levenson, who will discuss "High-Profile Trials . . . Through the Eyes of a Jewish Lawyer."

Levenson is a dean at Loyola Law School and legal consultant for CBS, National Public Radio and CNN. The brunch and program are open to the public at a cost of $7 in advance or $10 at the door. The brunch will be held from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the temple, 7620 Foothill Road. Call 647-4181.

Church Follows Sicilian Tradition

* "St. Joseph's Table," a Sicilian tradition, will be the centerpiece of a St. Joseph's Day celebration at St. Paschal Baylon Church in Thousand Oaks on March 22.

The day's festivities will begin with a bake sale from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., children's procession from the church to the hall and 9:15 Mass, followed by a blessing of the baked goods at 10:15 a.m. An Italian dinner, served by the Italian Catholic Federation, will be offered from 4 to 7 p.m. Entertainment will be featured.

Proceeds from the dinner, which costs $7 for adults and $3.50 for children, will support the needy in Thousand Oaks.

The festival is offered in honor of St. Joseph for favors received through the intercession of the foster father of Jesus, said Frank Saglime, president of the Italian Catholic Federation.

The custom of St. Joseph's Table began in the Middle Ages when Sicily suffered a drought and famine. Sicilians prayed to St. Joseph, promising that each succeeding generation would honor him on his feast day if God would send rain. The story goes that at the stroke of midnight, the land turned green and fish became abundant.

To purchase tickets, call Frank Caso at 492-4290. The church is at 155 E. Janss Road.

Rabbi to Lecture on Bible Codes

* The Conejo Jewish Academy will host a lecture with Rabbi Isser Weisberg based on "The Bible Code," the current book about secret codes embedded in the Bible or Torah, on March 24.

Weisberg has researched and lectured widely on the codes.

"In this lecture, Weisberg will explain the methods used to find various types of codes in the Torah and present the opinions of various experts as to their validity," said Rabbi Moshe Bryski of the Conejo Jewish Academy.

Admission to the 8 p.m. lecture is $10 for adults and $7 for students and seniors. For information or reservations, call (818) 991-0991. The Conejo Jewish Academy is at 30345 Canwood St. in Agoura Hills.

Religion Briefs is a weekly listing that runs each Saturday. Please address items, with a publishable telephone number, to Religion Briefs, Los Angeles Times, 93 S. Chestnut St., Ventura 93001. Items may be faxed to The Times at 653-7576 or 653-7548.

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