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Mt. Pilgrim to hold women's conference

Author Michelle McKinney Hammond and gospel artist Vickie Winans will headline a women's conference Friday-Aug. 11 at Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church, 1401 Hoag St.

Ms. Hammond, who speaks about the challenges of being single, is the author of Secrets of an Irresistible Woman, What to Do until Love Finds You: Preparing Yourself for Your Perfect Mate, and If Men Are Like Buses, Then How Do I Catch One? and co-host of the television talk show, Aspiring Women.

She is scheduled to speak each day of the conference, which begins at 5:30 p.m. Friday. Ms. Winans, a Detroit recording artist who has been nominated for Grammy and Dove awards, will perform at 6 p.m. Aug. 10.

The conference also will feature a presentation by Shirley Blackshear on the “Prayer of Jabez for Women” at 9:30 a.m. Aug. 11.

Deadline for registration is Wednesday. The $25 fee covers meals and conference materials.

CAREY, Ohio - Thousands of visitors are expected to converge on the Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation here Tuesday through Aug. 15 for the Novena and Feast of the Assumption of Mary.

The annual celebration is the largest each year for the shrine.

During the Novena, a nine-day prayer prelude to the Aug. 15 Feast of the Assumption, the Rev. Cyprian Uline will preach each weekday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

On Aug. 14, Toledo Diocese Auxiliary Bishop Robert Donnelly will celebrate Mass at 9 p.m. in the Shrine Park, where pilgrims will walk in a candlelight procession from the Basilica. In addition, English, Chaldean, Italian, and Byzantine Masses will be celebrated on Aug. 14 and 15 at the Shrine.

Each day of the Novena, there will be Masses at 7 and 11 a.m. daily, the Sacrament of Reconciliation at 7 nightly, except Sunday, and Novena devotions with a Rosary procession, homily, and Benediction at 8 nightly. Sunday Masses will be at 8 and 10 a.m. and noon. Additional information is available at

CHICAGO - The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America announced a decrease of 26,042 baptized members to 5,099,877 as of Dec. 31, partly due to “roll cleaning” and the disbanding of 37 congregations.

Since 1991, membership in the fifth-largest U.S. Protestant denomination has declined by 150,706.

The church said that, because expected income from bequests and investments is dropping, national program spending in the current fiscal year that began Feb. 1 will be reduced by $2.4 million.

Agencies will be asked to propose cuts for next year and consider leaving staff vacancies unfilled.

ORLANDO, Fla. - In his last official address as primate of the Orthodox Church in America, Metropolitan Theodosius called for the unification of all the Orthodox churches in North America into an autocephalous church.

“It is my conviction that the Orthodox Church in America, together with the other Orthodox `jurisdictions' in America, must strongly request the Orthodox Patriarchs and Holy Synods for their guidance and support in the movement towards one autocephalous Orthodox Church in North America before it is too late.”

Speaking at the OCA's All-American Council here last month, Metropolitan Theodosius, who is retiring after 25 years as head of the autocephalous OCA, said he believes the movement toward Orthodox unity in North America is urgently needed by the Orthodox churches throughout the world.

This, he said, “would bear witness to the catholicity of the Orthodox faith, showing that Orthodoxy is not limited to the East, and is fully alive in the West.”

He also applauded the recent decision of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Antioch to grant autonomy to the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America.

The OCA, formerly part of the Russian Orthodox Church, is the only canonical Orthodox body in the U.S. with autocephalous status, meaning it chooses its own head. Autonomy gives a church greater authority over its own affairs, including the nomination and election of bishops.

The Rev. John Graden, an Oblate of St. Francis de Sales who has worked in the Toledo Catholic Diocese for 27 years, has been named director of the DeSales Resource Center in Stella Niagara, N.Y.

Founded in 1980 by the Rev. Joseph Power, who died Jan. 23, the center offers parish missions, an annual conference, and seminars, and maintains a Web page and library. It also distributes books on the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane de Chantal.

When Father Graden leaves Toledo later this month, he will be moving WORD Consultants, the Catholic evangelization and recording ministry he founded and directs, to New York and operating it as a division of the resource center.

WORD Consultants trains liturgical ministers and preachers; conducts retreats, workshops, and parish missions, and records tapes and CDs of song, meditation, and spiritual direction.

Good Samaritan Parish, a congregation of the Metropolitan Community Churches, has sold its building at 720 West Delaware Ave., in the Old West End, and plans to relocate and change its name.

Spiritual Harvest Church recently purchased the former Good Samaritan building for $77,000. Good Samaritan's congregation will continue meeting in a small group at the home of the Rev. Edwin Yates, pastor, during the transition.

The Metropolitan Community Churches were founded in 1968 as a ministry to gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people and their friends and families. Good Samaritan has operated in Toledo for 20 years.

Wayne Anthony has been named associate for music and the arts at Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Toledo, effective next month.

A graduate of Cedarville, Ohio, College, Mr. Anthony has a master's degree in music from Bowling Green State University and served as choir master 10 years at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral.

For the last 10 years, he has been chairman of fine arts at Maumee Valley Country Day School. He also is conductor and artistic director of the Perrysburg Symphony Chorale.

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