Last week, the Lerner Jewish Community Day School, 1935 W. Cornwallis Road, celebrated the Jewish festival of Purim by dressing in costumes, playing games and singing songs.
The Purim celebration is one of joy and giving and part of its observance is “Matanol L’evyonim, or the collection of money for food for the needy. In the weeks leading up to Purim, students collected food for the N.C. Food Bank.
The story on which the festival is based is found in the book of Esther in the Hebrew Scriptures. Although this book makes no reference to God per se, it does extol the life of this important woman whose heroic actions saved her people from a wicked plot to destroy them.
The children at the day school were reminded of the importance of speaking up when there is injustice as in the story of brave Queen Esther, who went to the king to beg for the life of her people. The king assured her that an evil plot to destroy them would be overturned.
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Purim is a time when children are taught that part of being true to oneself is being brave enough to protect those who are in jeopardy.
Faith and mental illness
“Growing Up in Faith with Mental Illness,” a one-day conference offered by Faith Connections on Mental Illness, will be held on Friday, April l, at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Chapel Hill.
The program runs from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and features Gary Nelson, D. Min. from West Virginia, author of “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression.” Other presentations include Jack Naftel, M.D., “Understanding Mental Illness in Childhood and Adolescence”; Youth MOVE; a parent panel; one church’s effort to raise mental health awareness, and other expert speakers.
Anyone who wants to learn more about mental illness and the community’s role in recovery is invited to attend. Register online at www.wakeahec.org; visit faithconnectionsonmentalillness.org for details. Early registration is recommended as attendance is capped at 300 and there is a waiting list every year.
Free organ concert
A free concert by organist Jacob Reed is set for Friday, April 1, at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 82 Kimberly Drive.
Reed, who grew up in Chapel Hill and studied with Van Quinn at Chapel of the Cross before enrolling at Yale University, has given concerts across the the United States, Europe and Canada.
At Yale where he studies organ with Professor Thomas Murray, he has a double major in music and mathematics. At St. Stephen’s he performed the complete Clavierubung III of J.S. Bach in a single performance as a high school senior.
Reed has performed frequently as a soloist, accompanist and chamber musician on piano, harpsichord, cello and viola da gamba.
His program will include works by Frescobbaldi, Vivaldi and Passacaglia and Fugue by J.S. Bach.
A reception will follow the performance.
The event is jointly sponsored by the Durham-Chapel Hill and Central North Carolina Chapters of the American Guild of Organists.
Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 1320 Umstead Road, will host a Stephen Ministry introductory workshop on Saturday, April 2.
This half-day, three session workshop will help congregations catch a vision for strengthening their caring ministry by equipping lay people as caregivers. During the workshop, participants will develop care-giving skills that can be used right away in this kind of ministry.
The cost is $15 per person or $50 for a group of four or more from the same congregation.
Registration will begin at 8 a.m. and the workshop will be in session from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Jennifer Bing, director of the Palestine-Israel Program of the American Friends Service Committee, will speak at The Community Church of Chapel Hill Unitarian Universalist, 106 Purefoy Road in Chapel Hill on Sunday, April 3.
The documentary film “Detaining Dreams” will be shown at the 7 p.m. gathering. Bing will discuss AFSC's advocacy campaign focused on ending the military detention of Palestinian children.
The film features the stories of four Palestinian children and their families undergoing detention.
Each year, from 500 to 700 Palestinian children ages 12-17 from the West Bank are prosecuted in Israeli military courts after being arrested, interrogated and detained by the Israeli army, police or security agents.
The Charles M. Jones Peace and Justice Committee, the Friends Committee and the Coalition for Peace are sponsoring the program. The public is welcome.
Yates fund drive
Yates Baptist Church, 2819 Chapel Hill Road, has announced plans for a capital fund drive caled the “Growing God’s House Campaign.”
The purpose is to renovate the sanctuary and facilities and to add parking. A minimum goal of $1.2 million and a challenge goal of $2 million have been set.
The campaign will officially commence with a Kick-Off Celebration on Sunday, April 10, at noon in the fellowship hall and will end on Commitment Weekend, Sunday, May 15.
The Rev. Christopher Ingram is pastor of the church that averages 200-plus at its weekly worship services.
Contact Flo Johnston at email@example.com or call 910-361-4135