Seven singers for Shabbat at Temple Beth Israel tonight

PLATTSBURGH -- A group of enthusiastic singers and their accompanist will travel from Ottawa, Ontario, to share their joy of learning and singing Jewish liturgical music at tonight's 7:30 Shabbat service at Temple Beth Israel in Plattsburgh.

The group, which meets weekly for that purpose in their home city, includes members Ruth and Perry Coodin, Fortune and Bill Shugar, Fran Ariel Russel, Caren Weinstein and cantorial soloist Ellie Glantz.

They will be directed by Choir Director/Accompanist Peter Pundy. All are welcome.

St. Peter's Masses to focus on the environment

PLATTSBURGH -- "God so loved the world ... Won't you do the same?" will be the focus of liturgies at St. Peter's Catholic Church in Plattsburgh this weekend. The parish has been dealing with environmental questions for the past year.

Reusable polypropylene bags that can carry 45 pounds and be used at least 1,000 times will be available for a $2 donation that will assist in a tree-planting project. A "car pooling to Mass" program will be unveiled and information on the U.S. Catholic Bishops Global Climate Change document will be offered.

Methodist service to honor veterans

MOOERS -- A special service honoring veterans will take place at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, May 25, at the Mooers/Mooers Forks United Methodist Church located at 14 East Street in Mooers, next to the "old post office." In addition to special music, prayers and message, the five-minute DVD "A Family Affair" (A Father's Concern) will be viewed courtesy of the American Legion. All are invited to attend.

Saint Anne's Shrine will reopen May 24

ISLE LA MOTTE, Vt. -- Saint Anne's Shrine in Isle La Motte will reopen for the 2008 pilgrimage and tourist season on Saturday, May 24, with the 7 p.m. Mass. Mass on Sunday, May 25, will be at 10:30.

The new Mass schedule for the season will be as follows: Saturday evenings at 7 p.m. from May 24 to Aug. 30; Sunday at 9 a.m. from June 15 to Aug. 31; Sunday at 10:30 a.m. from May 25 to Oct. 12. A daily Mass, Monday through Friday at 11:15 a.m., will begin on June 30 and continue through Aug. 29.

The Gift Shop and Book Store will be open daily. The Shrine Café will serve a breakfast buffet every Sunday, June 29 through Aug. 31. Call the shrine office for a schedule of activities for 2008 at (802) 928-3362. Saint Anne's Shrine will hold its annual Trinkets and Treasures sale on Saturday, June 14, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Anyone wishing to donate articles for the sale, call the office to deliver or for a pick up. No mattresses, clothes or large appliances.

Healing services begin tonight at Assembly of God

PLATTSBURGH -- A healing service led by Pastor Tony and Deborah Kemp will take place at First Assembly of God Church, 164 Prospect St., Plattsburgh, at 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday and at 7 p.m. Monday, May 19; Tuesday, May 20; and Wednesday, May 21. Pastor Kemp, who is senior pastor of Embassy Christian Center in Hannibal, Mo., was a licensed clinical social worker and certified alcohol and drug councilor for 20 years. His 30 years of ministry includes five years as a youth pastor and 15 years as an associate pastor. He has also been overseer of several churches and ministries in the United States and 200 pastors in Central America. A flier advertising the service says, "Pastor Kemp has seen many people experience mental, emotional, physical and spiritual healings.

Malaysia unveils tax incentives for investment in halal

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- Malaysia is aiming to become a worldwide hub for food and other products prepared according to Islamic religious rules by offering new tax exemptions to investors in the industry, the prime minister said.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced the plan Monday at the World Halal Forum.

A halal designation means a product complies with Islamic principles of hygiene and humane treatment of animals, along with other rules involving production.

The government is seeking growth in halal processed foods, cosmetics and personal care, pharmaceuticals, food ingredients, livestock and meat products, he said.

Opposition to Bush visit at university with Baptist tradition

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- More than 200 Furman University students and faculty are objecting to the school's first visit by a sitting U.S. president, criticizing how the Bush administration handled the Iraq war and environmental issues.

President Bush is scheduled to give the graduation speech May 31 at this conservative-leaning school with Baptist roots located in the traditionally conservative upstate region of South Carolina.

The 222 students and faculty signed and posted a statement on the school's Web site titled "We Object." It cites the war in Iraq and the administration's "obstructing progress on reducing greenhouse gases while favoring billions in tax breaks and subsidies to oil companies that are earning record profits." The school has 2,625 undergraduates.

Sikh group wants anti-bias action after turban set afire

HIGHTSTOWN, N.J. (AP) -- A Hightstown high-school senior has been charged with setting fire to a turban worn by a fellow student who is a Sikh.

A group representing Sikhs is calling for a full investigation and asking for the school to do more to combat discrimination against followers of the religion.

The Sikh Coalition says the fire was ignited on May 5 during a fire drill while the Sikh student -- one of only two in the school who wear a turban -- was talking with a friend. The student, a 16-year-old junior, was singed but not seriously hurt.

The New York-based coalition says the school should hold an assembly, publish a newsletter article and require classroom discussions about the attack.

Christian ministry

to distribute

New Testaments

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- A religious group plans to distribute 250,000 Pittsburgh-themed copies of the New Testament in advertising pouches delivered with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newspaper.

CityReachers Pittsburgh, a program of the International Bible Society in Colorado Springs, Colo., is set to send the books Sept. 7 to the paper's subscribers in Allegheny County and some border communities.

The group has delivered custom-designed Bibles to newspaper subscribers in several other cities across the country. Last month, the group distributed 140,000 copies in the area.

In Pittsburgh, the New Testament copies will have a front cover showing the city's Golden Triangle, where the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers form the Ohio River, and a photograph of Steelers football players kneeling in prayer on the back cover.

So far, the organization has raised just $350,000 of the $625,000 needed to distribute the publications. It has until May 31 to raise the remaining money to meet a printing deadline.

Judge orders Baptist church in Redding to open financial books in fraud lawsuit

REDDING, Calif. (AP) -- A Shasta County Superior Court judge has ruled that a Redding church must open its financial books as part of a lawsuit claiming its leaders defrauded congregants.

The lawsuit was filed in March after church directors at Bonnyview Baptist Church sought to sell the property without church members' consent.

Congregant Michael Duffy, who filed the lawsuit, said church leaders also pocketed $90,000.

Church leaders insist they have the authority to sell church assets without a membership vote. The Rev. Danny Ray Smith also denied that any money was stolen.

Church bylaws had required a vote of the membership to sell assets, but they were amended in February to eliminate that requirement.

Superior Court Judge Bradley Boeckman said the church can't be sold until the lawsuit is settled.

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