Church Lady: Religion 101: Area churches join together for interfaith program

Are you a cradle Baptist, Catholic or Episcopalian who has never been to another house of worship? Or a born-again Christian who never has stepped out of the church where you were saved? Perhaps the only time you go to a house of worship is for a wedding or funeral? Are you curious about the house of worship down the street?

The Marco Island Clergy Association (CA) has developed an educational program to help answer those question, which is a time to learn about the different flavors of faith.

“Embracing, with Love and Understanding — An Interfaith Community Adult Education Series” begins 7 p.m. on Wednesday and will continue weekly, with the exception of the first week of Lent. (Lent starts on Ash Wednesday, which this year will be on Feb. 22.) The series was the brainchild of the CA Chairman Edward Rabbi Maline, D.D.

“Many of us don’t know the difference between one denomination and another,” said Maline. “I couldn’t tell you the differences between the Lutherans and the Presbyterians.”

Conversely, many Christians do not know that there are four major movements in Judaism.

“The goal of the series is to promote a better understanding and appreciation of each others faiths and to explore commonalities and differences,” said Maline. “We hope to create a sense of fellowship similar to what we experienced at the interfaith Thanksgiving Service.”

The Church Lady met with Maline, New Life Church of God’s Senior Pastor the Rev. Thomas McCulley and United Church of Marco Island’s Senior Minister the Rev. Richard Adair on Jan. 5 to discuss the upcoming series.

McCulley and his congregation are looking forward to the series. “I was just reading in the book of Romans that Judaism is the rootstock of Christianity,” he said. “Our congregation especially reveres the Bible and many are looking forward to hearing it read in Hebrew.”

“God is God and no matter which way we worship him Christian or Jew, with a band or a pipe organ, with hands held in the air or firmly gripping the pew,” said Adair. “God is the one in control, and nothing we can do will ever change that … People in our congregation are tuned in to learning about others and respecting the differences.”

“I have always been fearful of those who think they have God in a box and only if you think like they think or believe just what they believe or go to their church, will you be saved,” continued Adair. “We can all learn from each other and from the traditions that hold us in our particular household of faith. Our personal faith should grow not diminish because of our exposure to others.”

The series will meet first at the Jewish Congregation of Marco Island. Maline will discuss the four major movements of Judiasm: Orthodoxy, Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist. He will share areas of agreement and how their beliefs differ.

McCulley will give the second lecture in the series on Jan. 25 at New Life. He will offer an introduction and explanation of what it means to be Pentecostal or “charismatic.”

“We believe the Holy Spirit acts today just as He did two thousand years ago,” said McCulley.

As many as one in four Christians worldwide, regardless of denomination, consider themselves part of this group and it is the fastest growing part of Christianity.

The third lecture will be at the United Church of Marco Island where Adair will discuss Congregational Christianity.

The fourth lecture on Feb. 8 will bring us back to JCMI where the Rev. Rita Partin will discuss: “What is an Interdenominational Church?”

On Feb. 16, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church’s Rector the Rev. Kyle Bennett will discuss the Episcopal faith.

Wesley United Methodist Church’s Pastor the Rev. Kirk Dreiser will discuss Methodist Christianity on Feb. 29.

The Family Church’s Lead Pastor the Rev. Timothy Neptune will discuss the Baptist faith and message on March 7. He will also briefly explain the different styles of worship found throughout the Baptist denomination.

Fr. Tim Navin, San Marco Catholic Church’s Pastor, will discuss Catholic beliefs and practices on March 14.

Marco Presbyterian Church’s Lead Pastor will discuss Presbyterianism and the Christian faith on March 20.

The series will conclude on March 22 at Marco Lutheran Church where the church’s Senior Pastor the Rev. Kevin Koenig will discuss Lutheran beliefs and practices.

All talks begin at 7 p.m.

Kathleen Tuttle, a Marco Island resident since 1987, has written articles for various non-profits for more than 25 years. She is a community volunteer, former science teacher and microbiologist. Kathleen can be contacted at worship@rstuttle.com.

Marco Presbyterian Church

Women’s weekly continues Friday, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., Bible study, Beth Moore’s “The Patriarchs: Encountering the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Area women and their preschool children will delve into the concepts of blessing, covenant, and promise, and how they shaped the lives of Abraham, his descendants and today’s Christians. Study guides are available for $17 at the Bible study or the church office. Preschoolers will learn the same Biblical concepts through song and fun activities. There is no charge for children but pre-registration is required.

Small group Bible studies based on the movie “Courageous” meet 7 to 8 p.m. every Monday, Tuesday or Thursday. The groups will focus on impacting future generations and standing for Christ. Individual study guides are $7. Call the church for locations. The church will show the movie 7 p.m. Feb. 10 at 7 p.m. Free.

Grief Share with Seasonal Pastor, the Rev. Rod Whited, continues 10 a.m. every Monday.

Men’s Bible studies 7:30 a.m., Acts, Tuesdays and “Finishing Strong” Wednesdays.

“Praying Life” with the Rev. Rod Whited meets 10:30 a.m., Wednesdays.

The first concert for the “Music for the Soul” series will be 6 p.m., Jan. 22 and will feature Marv Hollenbeck at the piano. He will play a potpourri of gospel, sacred and patriotic selections. The concert will be followed by a reception in the courtyard. Free, a love offering will be received.

The book club lead by Peggy Whited will discuss Francine Rivers’ book “Redeeming Love,” 9:30 a.m., Jan. 26 in the choir room. Books are available at Amazon.com. Next month they will discuss Catherine Marshall’s “Beyond Our Selves.” Information call Whited at (904) 608-9469.

Call the church office for information.

Marco Lutheran Church

Senior Symposium, 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. today, topic “Aging with Humor.” Keynote speaker, Dr. Richard Bimler, will offer insights into the aging process as well as several exhibits from agencies offering services to seniors. Free, light lunch included, RSVP to Gail Cacciola at the church or mlcparishnurse@comcast.net.

Tickets are available for the Artist’s Series. Season tickets are $85 and individual tickets are $20. All shows begin at 7:30 p.m. as follows: Jan. 17 – The Boxcars, a Bluegrass group that has been nominated for nine Bluegrass Association awards; Jan. 31– Let’s Hang On, will perform music from the ‘60s:, Feb. 21 – Dave Bennett, clarinet; March 5– Three Redneck Tenors music and comedy; and March 15 – Purduettes, 60 voice choir singing everything from classical to pop. Information call 394-5579.

Boyz Only Splash! event for infants to 5 years olds and their dad or another male adult will feature games, prizes, snacks, stories and the VeggieTales movie “Josh and the Big Wall” 5 to 7 p.m. Jan. 20. Boys need intentional time with the men in their life and God wants us to know the benefit of obedience. Five dollars per family cover to offset cost of supplies (waived upon request).

St. Mark’s

Episcopal Church

Fr. John Ineson’s Friday morning class begins 10 a.m., today in the Willis Ministry Center’s Community Room and will continue for six sessions. They will study Marcus Borg’s “Embracing an Adult Faith, What it Means to be Christian.” Workbooks will be provided for the class. Please RSVP the church.

The Rev. Sue Price will celebrate Morning Prayer at 9 a.m. every morning in the Chapel through Lent. Information call Rev. Sue, 331-4626.

The Youth Group is sponsoring a Goat Inspired Coffeehouse evening, 6 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 20, to benefit the Episcopal Relief and Development fund. There will be live goats to pet from 6 to 7 p.m. (outside St. Mark’s Preschool), appetizers, baked goods, coffee and music. Donations accepted to purchase goats for third world communities.

New Life Community Church of God: Ladies Tea, 2 p.m., Saturday. The inspirational teas have real china teapots and teacups, a light lunch, door prizes, speakers, music and local businesswomen’s products. Free, donations appreciated. Reservation required, call 389-0815.

Women’s Tuesday evening weekly Bible Study, Beth Moore’s “Daniel, Lives of Integrity, Words of Prophecy” continues at 6:30 p.m. Session 2 begins 6:30 p.m. Feb. 21. Christians today face many of the same trials and temptations as the prophet Daniel — pressures to compromise one’s faith in a hostile culture. The study shows how individuals can live with integrity in today’s self-absorbed society. The two, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., six-week sessions may be studied independently. Cost: $20, scholarships are available. Call the church office for information.

The church will host a free concert featuring Grammy award-winning pianist Dino Kartsonakis, “American’s Piano Showman,” 6 p.m., Jan. 22. Dino is known for his emotional and spontaneous piano styling of sacred music and has recently appeared in Bronson, Mo.

Jewish Congregation

of Marco Island

The Jewish Film Festival will feature the Naples/Marco premier of “Yankles” 2 p.m., Sunday. The comedy is about a group of Yeshiva students who have a calling from God to start a baseball team. Hot potato pancakes and dessert will be served before the film at 1:15 p.m. Tickets are $25.

Open House 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Jan. 22. Meet with Rabbi Edward Maline, D.D., Cantorial Soloist Hari Jacobsen and other leaders at the temple. The open house is free; reservations are requested. Refreshments will be served. Information, please contact the JCMI office or Harvey Brenner at 304-0737.

The Saul I. Stern Cultural Series will host Dr. Bernd Wellschlaeger 7:30 p.m., Jan. 22. Wellschlaeger, the son of an SS officer, will discuss his conversion to the Jewish faith. His book, “A German Life” will be available for purchase and signing. Reception follows. Tickets are $25 for nonmembers.

The JCMI Sisterhood and Men’s Club will host a Gourmet Italian Dinner with wine pairings Jan. 29. The evening begins with hors d’oeuvres at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. Wine expert Ronald Kapon of New York City will explain the wine selections. The James Beard Foundation has honored Kapon for his educational contributions. Reservations required, please contact the synagogue by Jan. 15.

St. Finbarr Parish

Knights of Columbus annual concert for charity 7 p.m., Wednesday, will feature the Townsmen Orchestra performing hits from the big band era. Tickets are $15 and available at the door. Proceeds to benefit K of C charities.

The Family Church — Marco Island

Women’s 9 to 11 a.m., weekly Bible study, Beth Moore’s “David, Seeking a Heart Like His” begins on Thursday. The 11-week study is for anyone who has ever experienced doubts, temptations, losses, family problems, or personal inconsistencies. Study guides are $20 and are available upon registration. Contact Judy Boston at 393-3495 or Pat Hagedorn at 394-4567 to register. Bring a Bible and pencil to class.

San Marco

Catholic Church

The Respect Life Committee will hold its Marco Island Life Walk from noon to 1 p.m. on Jan. 23. Jan. 23 is the 39th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that made abortion legal through all nine months of pregnancy.

Community members are invited to join their silent, prayerful demonstration on both sides of Collier Blvd. from the Esplanade to Walgreens. Pro-life, nongraphic signs will be available at 11:30 a.m. in front of the church’s Blessed Sacrament Chapel. For more information, call Mary Ann Hansen 394-2864.

The Council of Catholic Women (CCW) will host their Annual Fashion Show and Luncheon on Jan. 25 in the Parish Center with fashions by Kay’s on the Beach, Chloe’s Boutique and Marco Island Clothing; lunch by Chef Bob Aylwin of Premier Chef Services; door prizes and raffle. Doors open at 11 a.m. Cost is $45 per person. Reservations are required. For tickets, please contact Lynne Minozzi at 642-3836.

20th Annual Marco Island Women’s Interfaith Gathering

The Family Church—Marco Island will host the 9:30 a.m. Gathering on Jan. 27. The event includes a continental breakfast; a theatrical presentation of “Shear Heaven,” a drama created and performed by Larraine Olnowich; and music by vocalist and guitarist, Pastor Ben Sprankle. Seating is limited; reservations required; $6 donation. Call Judy Boston at 393-3495 or Pat Hagedorn at 394-4567.

29th Annual Marco Annual Prayer Breakfast

The Annual Prayer Breakfast will be held 7:30 a.m., Feb. 14 at the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, 400 South Collier Blvd. The doors open at 7 a.m. and the breakfast will conclude at 9 a.m.

Guest speaker, retired Chaplain, Brigadier General Doug Lee will give the keynote address. Lee retired from the Army in 2008 after nearly 31 years of service. He now works with civilian and military chaplains across the United States. Among his military honors are the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit and the Meritorious Service Medal (oak leaf cluster).

Tickets are $20 per person and are available at the Marco Chamber of Commerce and most area churches. A table of 10 may be reserved for $200. Please purchase your tickets early.

Mega Ministries Mega Praise Team and pianist Marv Hollenbeck will provide music.

The group will pray for the city council, police, firemen and public works officials. They will also honor veterans and first responders.

Call Prayer Breakfast Chairman, Don Kolowsky for information, 642-3622.

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