• JUDI'S JOURNAL 03/20/2010: New traditions part of Passover

    The Passover tradition is an ancient one. The celebration of the Israelites’ liberation from Egyptian bondage goes back some 3,000 years. The story of the Exodus is symbolically portrayed and re-enacted each year in a ritual called the Seder. Through the eating of ritual foods, songs, prayers and symbolic acts, the whole liberation experience is re-created by Jews all over the world.

  • GRACE NOTES 03/27/2010: Giving God another chance

    Recently, I met a young guy who told me about his faith journey with Jesus.

    He had grown up in church but didn’t want to follow Jesus once he got older. He didn’t go into details, but he said he was a knucklehead and did a lot of stuff he knew was wrong and didn’t really want to do what’s right.

    One day he was out driving and hydroplaned his car, and it stopped just before going over a ledge.

    He said as he thought about what had just happened and how it could’ve ended, he heard God say to him, “Give me another chance.”

  • P.A.R.T.Y. time!

    The flyer from Teen Girls Party, made to look like a magazine cover, invites local teen girls to join the P.A.R.T.Y., and on a recent Friday night about a dozen or so girls did just that at the FresHope Place in Inverness.

    P.A.R.T.Y. stands for Pray, Align with God’s Word, Restored from the past, Train for your destiny, You pay it forward.

    Teen Girls Party is a ministry of The FresHope Place Women’s Center, under the direction of Pastor Donna Sallee, who co-pastors Christ Way Fellowship in Inverness with her husband, Paul.

  • Episcopal parish gets new vicar

    Jovial and joyful describes the Right Rev. James Adams, or “Bishop Jim,” as he likes to be called.

    Adams is the new vicar at Shepherd of the Hills Episcopal Church in Lecanto, replacing the Rev. Ladd Harris, retired Episcopal priest who has served the church part-time since 2004.

    On Sunday, Adams will be officially installed as parish priest at a celebration service at 2 p.m. at the church, 2540 W. Norvell Bryant Highway (County Road 486), Lecanto.

    For the past eight years, Adams has served as bishop of western Kansas.

  • ON RELIGION 03/13/2010: A spiritual year at the cinema

    In one of Hinduism’s most sacred poems, the lord and sustainer of the universe chooses to be incarnated in human form — the ancient term is “avatar” — to help the Pandava people fight evil invaders and defend what is right.

    In director James Cameron’s blockbuster “Avatar,” a U.S. Marine is transformed by technology into a blue-skinned warrior on a planet called Pandora, where he helps the Na’vi people fight evil invaders and defend their sacred lands and traditions.

    There seem to be some similarities in these epics.

  • GRACE NOTES 03/20/2010: The gospel according to Charlie

    (Editor’s note: This is an updated column from 2005, about a well-known and dearly loved local service dog that died this week. Charlie was a welcome guest at nursing homes, the Key Training Center and the veterans’ hospital in Tampa; he marched in parades and was even a volunteer greeter at the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. This is a tribute to Charlie, who will be missed.)

    Joan Chipkar has one of those kind hearts that I only dream of having.

  • Church still on a 'Journey'

    In six months’ time, Journey Church in Inverness has met in three locations.

    As church pastor the Rev. Kevin Brian joked, “We tell people, if you can find Journey Church, you’re welcome to come.”

    They began meeting at Inverness Middle School in July 2007, and then moved into Citrus Memorial Health System’s annex building, formerly First Baptist Church, then into a dance studio on North Apopka.

    Recently, they moved into a location with a three-year lease, so at least for that long, they have a place to call home.

  • 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.