Boutique to Help Family in Need

The First Lutheran Church of Camarillo women will hold a spring and summer boutique today 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 that is in need due to illness. The money raised 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.

Art Explores Judaic Mysticism * Chabad Community Center of Ventura will host an art exhibit of the work of Michoel Muchnick, titled "Mysticism in Jewish Art," in Ventura on Sunday.

Muchnick's work is known throughout the world for its biblical and Judaic themes and has been featured in UNICEF's greeting card series.

The public is invited to the free exhibit at the Poinsettia Pavilion from 7 to 9 p.m. Muchnick will make a special presentation at 8 p.m.

Light refreshments will be served. The pavilion is at 3451 Foothill Road. For more information, call Rabbi Latowicz of chabad at 658-7441.

Expert on Israeli Business to Speak * As part of its Shabbat weekend celebrating "Israel at 50," the Temple Etz Chaim Men's Club of Thousand Oaks will host a brunch Sunday.

The speaker will be Bennett Zimmerman, general partner of the Israel Emerging Growth Fund, which invests in the equities of Israeli companies traded in the United States and Israel. Zimmerman will lead a business mission to Israel for the California-Israel Chamber of Commerce in April.

A $5 bagels-and-lox meal will be served at the 10:30 a.m. event at 1080 Janss Road. For more information, call 497-6891.

Sermon on Coping With Illness * The First Presbyterian Church of Oxnard invites the public to a special sermon on "When Illness Strikes" by the Rev. James K. Bain on Sunday at the 10 a.m. worship service.

Church school for adults will precede the service at 9 a.m. Church school for children grades pre-K through 12th grade will be held during the 10 a.m. worship service. Child care is available for all classes and services.

The church is at 850 Ivywood Drive. For more information, call 983-0204.

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 Sunday.

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 Sunday.

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 Sunday with speaker 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 Sunday.

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.

"St. Joseph's Table is an opportunity for people of all cultures and faiths to come together to share one of the Italian community's cherished customs," Saglime said.

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

Introduction to Baha'i Faith * The Baha'i community of Ventura will conduct a weekly series of informational classes, "Introduction to the Baha'i Faith," beginning this Tuesday and running through April 14 at 1889 Montgomery St.

The free course begins at 7:30 p.m. each evening. Jan Dietrick, a member of the Baha'i faith since 1982, will be the instructor. To register, call Pete Quick at 659-4660 or e-mail jdietrick@west.net

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 Tuesday.

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.

Ex-Inmate to Tell of Conversion * Evangelist Art Blajos of Victory Outreach International will address the Oxnard branch of Victory Outreach with a testimonial at 7 p.m. Friday.

Currently stationed in London, Blajos will speak of his 17 years in prison before he experienced "a solid conversion to Christ and a total transformation," he said.

He is the author of the book "Blood In, Blood Out."

Victory Outreach Oxnard is pastored by Bob and Diane Herrera. The free service will be at the church at 200 W. Pleasant Valley Road in Oxnard. For more information, call the church office at 986-8862.

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.

Hand Bell Choir and Chorale * The Fresno Pacific University hand bell choir and women's chorale will present a program March 28 at Camarillo United Methodist Church. The 7 p.m. performance is open to the public.

The concert-level hand bell choir of 14 ringers will use five octaves of Malmark hand bells to perform music by Mozart, Bizet, Liszt and Payn. The 20-member women's chorale will include songs by Handel, Leavitt, Sanborn and Rutter.

An offering will be asked to benefit Habitat for Humanity. Camarillo United Methodist is at 291 Anacapa Drive. For information on services, call church secretary Patricia Carroll at 482-4312.

Lecture Focuses on Christian Unity * Healing rifts within and between churches is the topic of a free Christian Science lecture March 29 in Westlake Village. Nathan Talbot of Boise, Idaho, will speak at 2 p.m. at the Hyatt Westlake Plaza Hotel.

Sponsored by the First Church of Christ, Scientist, of Thousand Oaks, the hourlong talk will be open to the public, and child care will be provided. For more information, call 495-8202.

Gospel Singer at Ventura Church * Gospel singer Marlene Elias, who traveled with Mother Teresa and wrote "Am I My Brother's Keeper," which was sung at her funeral, will perform at College United Methodist Church in Ventura at 4 p.m. March 29.

The program, "An Hour of Song and Ministry for the Poor," will be followed by a potluck dinner in the church's Pruitt Hall.

Elias, of Newbury Park, has also written such songs as "Send Me" and "Angel on My Shoulder."

The public is invited to the concert. A free-will offering will be taken for the poor of Ventura, said Karen Selander of the church.

For information, call College United at 642-3282. It is at 4300 Telegraph Road.

Musical Drama About Christ * Calvary Community Church of Westlake Village will produce "The Power of His Love," an original musical drama on the last week of Christ before the crucifixion, on April 3, 4 and 5.

The musical was written by David Fischette, John Gardella and Steve Moore, who also produced it. The Dove award-winning Sounds of Celebration Choir will sing.

Tickets are free, but reservations are necessary. The play will be performed at 7 p.m. April 3 and at 6 p.m. April 4. On April 5, performances will be staged at 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.

For information, call 496-2101. Calvary Community is at 31293 Via Colinas.

Lecture at Camarillo Center * Father Leo Booth will speak on "Insight, Wisdom and Harmony" at the Pleasant Valley Center for Positive Living in Camarillo on April 8.

The public is welcome to the free 7:30 p.m. talk at 200 Daily Drive, Suite 1. For more information, call the center at 482-4300.

Congregation to Celebrate Seder * Congregation B'nai Emet will celebrate its second annual community Seder on April 11 at the Dakota Restaurant in Simi Valley.

The event, which begins at 6 p.m., will feature a kosher meal and traditional reading of the Haggadah, led by Rabbi Michele Paskow.

Cost is $28 for adults and $22 for children 12 and under. For more information call 583-5244.

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.

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