Chapel Hill: Community

Ring in the New Year at benefit concert for the Inter-Faith Council

By Flo Johnston

Flo Johnston
Flo Johnston Chris Seward

United Church of Chapel Hill will host a concert by the Bradshaw Quartet at 7 p.m. New Year’s Eve to benefit the Inter-Faith Council for Socal Service.

The quartet was founded in 2003 to extend the musical fellowship the group enjoyed singing together as the United Voices of Praise Gospel Choir. The quartet performs jazz, R&B, classical music and gospel.

The quartet and soloists will showcase jazz standards, new interpretations of pop classics and original compositions.

All are invited. There is no admission fee; an offering will be taken at the church, at 1321 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

‘If My People’

“If My People,” a New Year’s eve celebration of praise and prayer is set from 7 to 9 p.m. at Riverside High School, 3218 Rose of Sharon Road.

The event, sponsored by Durham Ministers in Prayer, is free for people of all backgrounds to gather and unite around what is being called “the Lordship of Jesus Christ.”

“It will be a time of prayer, worship, communion and fellowship as we strive for harmony and unity to replace the racial and denominational barriers that deep us apart,” said Pastor Dub Karriker, one of the ministers. “Only Jesus can bring us together as one family and one nation and bring hope to a chaotic world.”

Letting go

Won Buddhist Temple, 8021 Old N.C. 86., will hold its Year End Letting Go Ceremony from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. and again from 8 to 9:15 p.m. on New Year’s Eve

This is a candlelight service of meditation and reflection, a time to let go of the regrets of 2015, a time to reflect on blessings received and a time to contemplate hopes and dreams for the New Year.

Children age 7 and older are welcome.

Those planning to attend are asked to RSVP with a choice of event time by calling 919-933-6946 or email

A New Year’s Day service is set from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The community is invited to celebrate the first day of the New Year with meditation, prayers, music with hammered dulcimer, Uilleann pipe, fiddle and dharma messages, followed by a community lunch.

Again, those who plan to attend should RSVP.

‘Amahl and the Night Visitors’

Christ United Methodist Church on Market Street in Southern Village will perform “Amahl and the Night Visitors” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 6, to mark the 12th day of Christmas, “Twelfth Night” as it’s called.

A pre-performance reflection at 6:30 p.m. and a meal at 5:30 p.m. are also offered, but this part requires RSVP. Call the church office at 919-969-8820.

The church is asking those who attend in lieu of buying a concert ticket to make a monetary donation or bring three non-perishable food items to help TABLE feed hungry children in the community.

The opera by Gian Carlo Menotti is about Amahl and his widowed mother who have nothing to eat, not a stick of wood on the fire and nothing left to sell when three kings knock on their door. These were the dudes out following a new star. The mother steals some of their gold, but is caught red-handed. The rest of the story is the rest of the opera that was commissioned by NBC in 1951.

Labrynth retreat

Nancy Corson Carter, a Presbyterian elder at Chapel Hill’s Church of Reconciliation, will lead a labyrinth retreat from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 16, at New Hope Camp and Conference Center.

Deadline for $35 registration is Monday, Jan. 11.

Participants will deepen their experience entering the new year by walking the Chartres-pattern labyrinth interspersed with times of silent reflection to journal, to pray, to listen, to rest and to be.

Register with the New Hope office by calling 919-942-4716 or online at

Hindu rituals

The Hindu Society of North Carolina Temple in Morrisville ended an elaborate three-day ritual on Dec. 20 to consecrate deities.

Called “Prana Pratishadra Mahotsava” the rituals included 32 different events featuring individuals carrying pots of water around the temple, lamps burning along with worship of the soil, offerings of milk to deities and bathing of deities through reflection in the mirror.

Rajan Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, said it is important to pass on Hindu spirituality, its concepts and traditions, to coming generations amid distractions in society. Zed stressed the importance of achieving liberation, the goal of Hinduism.

The temple, founded in 1976, is open 365 days a year from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., offers pujas performed daily.

A puja is the act of showing reverence to a god, a spirit or another aspect of the divine through invocations, prayers, songs and rituals. An essential part of puja for the Hindu devotee is making a spiritual connection with the divine. The society offers “Adopt the Temple for the Day,” costing $1,001, under which special pujas or blessings are performed to all deities in the sponsor’s name. It also offers a car puja for $25, weddings at the premises for $251 and new house puja for $151.

The temple has a senior club; Hindi, Tamil, Sanskar and yoga classes, summer camps and a youth group called Om Squad to promote a positive outlook on life.

Hinduism, the oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about 1 billion followers. About 2 million Hindus live in the United States.

Freedom ride

The Corridor District of the United Methodist Church has announced plans for a North Carolina Conference Freedom Ride, a four-day event beginning on March 15 in Durham and ending in Tennessee.

The conference is partnering with the School for Conversion, a Durham-based nonprofit, for this pilgrimage of learning, praying and dreaming in the spirit of the Freedom Rides of the 1960s.

Freedom Riders were civil rights activists who in 1961 and following years rode interstate buses into segregated Southern states to challenge the fact that Supreme Court rulings that segregated public buses were unconstitutional had not been enforced by some states.

The first Freedom Ride left Washington on May 4, 1961, and was scheduled to arrive in New Orleans on May 17.

United Methodist clergy is being asked to invite someone from his or her congregation to join this community of pilgrims so that conversations begun during the event can be continued in local churches and communities afterward.

Contact Flo Johnston at or call 910-361-4135.