• Graffiti for God

    SALT LAKE CITY -- The Virgin Mary is living large on the side of the old Guthrie Bicycle building, a model of tranquility on a busy downtown Salt Lake City street.

    Standing 44 feet high and staring up at the mountains from the wall at East 200 South, “Ave Maria” was created in November by a pair of world-famous mural artists who go by the names El Mac and Retna.

  • JUDI'S JOURNAL 03/06/2010: Jewish astronauts

    Ever since Abraham looked up to the stars and was told by God that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars of heaven, Jews have scanned the heavens in search of knowledge and adventure.

    While Jewish mothers are commonly apt to brag about “my son, the doctor,” or “my son, the lawyer,” “my son, the astronaut,” has a funny ring to it. In truth, there are many Jews involved with the space industry, as well as famous Jewish astronauts.

  • GRACE NOTES 03/13/2010: Everybody's not 'fine'

    Everybody’s fine and everybody lies. That pretty much sums up the essence of life, doesn’t it?

    Last Saturday I watched the Robert DeNiro movie, “Everybody’s Fine.” DeNiro’s character, recently widowed Frank, has four adult children scattered across the nation whom he has invited home for the weekend. He wants everyone to sit at the table together, just like they used to. He wants to know that he was a good dad, that his kids love him, especially now that his wife is gone.

  • Mountain music

    A mountain dulcimer concert and lessons were given Saturday, March 6, by Don Pedi from Appalachia. Don is known for his old-time, yet fast, technique, keeping up with fiddlers and flat-foot dancers. Accompanying Don are Donna and Jeff Palmyra of Hernando and Dan Eisaman of Pine Ridge. This was the last winter  concert of a three-part music series at the Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship in Citrus Springs.

  • Fire fuels faith

    With Bible in its name, Grace Bible Fellowship in Inverness stands for presenting a clear gospel message: that “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

    So says the church’s pastor, the Rev. John Fredericksen.

  • GRACE NOTES 03/06/2010: Good news for "good daughters"

    When my sister was little, she wiped spaghetti sauce from her mouth with a piece of bread.

    This is a significant event in our family’s history because, as the Good Daughter, it is probably the one and only time Peggy ever got in trouble.

    In a nanosecond, Peggy did the bread-wipe and Dad reached over and whacked her hand, which stunned us all. Not that Dad whacked one of us, but that it was Peggy — the Good Daughter!

  • ON RELIGION 02/27/2010: Fasting and evangelicals

    Elmer Towns had a big problem three decades ago after he moved to Lynchburg, Va., to help a Baptist preacher named Jerry Falwell start the school that grew into Liberty University.

    Month after month, Towns faced two house payments — a real family crisis. Thus, the veteran Bible professor decided to try something that he considered a radical “Old Testament thing.” In addition to praying that someone would buy the house back in Chicago, Towns and his wife, Ruth, began fasting on the day that the mortgage was due.

  • Ex-Marine finds new calling at Hospice

    As a chaplain for HPH Hospice, the Rev. Carl Hemphill (who prefers being called just Carl), considers his job “the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.”

    “It’s pure ministry,” he said. “There’s no politics, no games being played. They’re dying and they know it.”

    His role as chaplain is to provide spiritual care and support, regardless of religious affiliation.

  • Second time around

    For the Rev. Tom Walker and his wife, Joany, coming to First Church of God in Inverness was like coming home.

    Walker had served as church pastor from 2000 to 2006, then retired and moved to Tennessee.

    “But we didn’t really retire,” Walker said. “There were four churches up there, and in that three and a half years they didn’t have a pastor, so we filled in. Then we went to Valrico last year and did the same thing. When we finished there, we came to Leesburg and bought a home.”

  • Found in translation

    Words like “peace” and “mercy” are vital to talking about Christianity. They’re just two of many English words difficult to translate smoothly as an evolving Episcopal congregation tries to create a Hmong version of the denomination’s Book of Common Prayer.