Faith digest



Jewish music recital

Nancy Bach, a student cantor from New York City, will present a free concert at 7:30 p.m. today at the Congregation Children of Israel Temple, 3005 Walton Way Extension.

She will perform Shabbat music and Broadway songs from Jewish composers.

Call (706) 736-3140.

Church homecoming

Bishop Bevel Jones, an Augusta native and retired bishop of the United Methodist Church, will preach at the homecoming service Sunday of Mann Memorial United Methodist Church, 2705 Milledgeville Road.

Jones is bishop-in-residence at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University.

The homecoming starts with Sunday school at 10 a.m. Morning worship is at 11 a.m.

Call (706) 736-1602.

Annual gospel singing

The Gospel Extravaganza of Augusta State University's Black Student Union starts at 3 p.m. Sunday in Grover C. Maxwell Performing Arts Theatre, 2500 Walton Way.

The free singing will feature the ASU Gospel Choir, Jamiah Hudson, the Lively Stones, the New Destiny Mime Ministry, Passionate, poet Semone Reynolds, and Karlton Clay with the cast of Surrender , a Christian play.

Call (706) 737-1492.

Leadership school

An open house for the School of Leadership for Agape International, an organization to train Christian leaders, will be from 3-5 p.m. Sunday at 1054 Claussen Road.

Call (706) 945-0670 or see

Unitarian grant given

Jim Key, the president of the Thomas Jefferson District of the Unitarian Universalist Association, will be at the Aiken Unitarian Universalist Church on Sunday to present the Chalice Lighter Grant, a check for the congregation.

He will deliver a sermon at 10:30 a.m. at the church, 115 Gregg Ave., Aiken.

The grant will fund a part-time minister as the church searches for a full-time staffer.

Call (803) 502-0404.

Winter revival

The Winter Revival of Bible Fellowship Church starts at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, with the Rev. R. L. Jordan, a vocalist and evangelist.

The Rev. Jimmy Snow, son of Grand Ole Opry singer Hank Snow, will speak at 7 p.m. Monday and 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The church is at 3701 Old Petersburg Road, Martinez.

Call (706) 922-5314 or see

Women and power

The House of Refuge Bible Church, 2118 Stoney Hill Road, Warrenton, Ga., will start a Power and Prayer Women program at 3 p.m. Sunday.

Speakers will be Chaquias Miller, Rose Mae Smith, Teresa Sikes and Patricia Chaney.

Call (706) 556-8936.

Gospel concert

The African-American Gospel Choir of Georgia Southern University will perform at 11 a.m. Sunday at Franklin Covenant Baptist Church, 4800 Franklin Covenant Drive, Hephzibah.

Call (706) 592-2959.

Growing in Faith

Growing in Faith, a series of Lenten talks, will start next week at Aquinas High School, 1920 Highland Ave.

From 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Joe Levert, a religion instructor at Aquinas, will examine the relationship between faith and architecture in the church.

On March 3, Robert Larcher, the president at Aquinas, will trace the gradual acceptance of the books of the New Testament during the first four centuries of the church.

On March 10, David Munn, a professor of pediatrics at the Medical College of Georgia, will explain the role of Christianity on the development of scientific thought.

On March 16, Kelley Culver, a religion instructor at Aquinas, will review the evolving Christologies during the history of the church.

On March 24, John McCormack, a clinical psychologist, explores how scientific psychology and Christian discipleship teach common ways to kindle hope.

On March 31, the Rev. Michael Kavanaugh, the pastor at Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church, examines the theory of evolution within Catholicism.

Call (706) 736-5516.


Catholics, Mormons see membership gains

NEW YORK --- An annual tally of church membership in the U.S. found gains by the Roman Catholic Church, the Mormon church and the Assemblies of God last year, while mainline denominations continued their decades-long decline.

The data were published in the latest Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches, released this month by the National Council of Churches.

Membership in the Catholic Church rose nearly 1.5 percent to more than 68 million, the largest denomination by far in the country. The church rebounded from a slight drop last year.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints saw a 1.7 percent increase in its U.S. membership, to just under 6 million, while the Assemblies of God, a Pentecostal faith group, recorded a nearly 1.3 percent jump, to 2.9 million members.

The Southern Baptist Convention, the nation's largest Protestant group, reported a slight drop for the second consecutive year by 0.24 percent to about 16.3 million.

The U.S. membership of the United Methodist Church dropped by nearly 1 percent last year, to 7.9 million members, but the denomination remains the third-largest in the country.

Jewish champ seeks Yankee Stadium bout

NEW YORK --- Jewish boxing champion Yuri Foreman hopes to defend his title at Yankee Stadium in June -- unless a bar mitzvah gets in the way.

The 154-pound boxer would fight former welterweight titleholder Miguel Cotto on June 5 at the ballpark in the Bronx, promoter Bob Arum said Tuesday. Arum has been hoping to bring a fight to the stadium for years.

"The Yankees want to make a deal; we know we can make a deal; they're just working through a problem at Yankee Stadium," Arum said. "But you wouldn't believe it if I told you.

"They've leased out some lounges for this bar mitzvah, and part of the deal was for a half-hour or so, they could use the big screen in center field to show pictures and all that sort of stuff.. Obviously you can't do that if there's fights going on."

Foreman, the boxing champion, is studying to become a rabbi.

Arum said he's hopeful that something can be worked out, perhaps by giving the families holding the bar mitzvah credentials for the fight.

If the conflict can't be resolved, Foreman would defend his WBA junior middleweight belt June 12 at Madison Square Garden.

Teacher suspended over Bible on desk

APEX, N.C. --- A middle school teacher was suspended after she posted an angry entry on her Facebook page saying she was the target of a "hate crime" by Christian students.

Melissa Hussain, an eighth-grade science teacher at West Lake Middle School, was suspended with pay while investigators reviewed her case.

Hussain wrote that it was a hate crime that pupils anonymously left a Bible on her desk, and she said she "was able to shame" her kids for the incident.

Hussain's Facebook page does not mention her religious affiliation.

Parents said classroom tensions escalated after a student put a postcard showing Jesus on Hussain's desk and she threw it into the trash.