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Published: Saturday, 2/14/2004

Celebration to mark legacy of black priest

FROM BLADE STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS

A celebration of the ministry of Absalom Jones, the first black Episcopal priest in the United States, will be held at 5:30 p.m. tomorrow at St. Andrew s Episcopal Church, 2770 West Central Ave.

The event will feature a prayer service, readings, music by the 50-member Arthur Williams Choir, and a reception.

A play about Jones also will presented at 10 a.m. tomorrow at All Saints Episcopal Church, 563 Pinewood Ave. The play, written by All Saints member Ruby Peoples, replaces the day s sermon.

Jones was born a slave in 1746 and taught himself to read by using the New Testament. He saved enough money to buy his and his wife s freedom, and was an active lay leader and evangelist to the black community.

He served as the first licensed lay reader at St. Thomas African Episcopal Church and was ordained as a deacon in 1795 and a priest in 1802.

The celebration is sponsored by the Northern Ohio Chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians and the Commission to End Racism of the Toledo Catholic Diocese.

The International Orthodox Christian Charities has joined with the U.S. Agency for International Development in a three-year, $6 million campaign to strengthen AIDS prevention, care, and hospice and help for AIDS orphans in Ethiopia.

The African nation has 2.2 million HIV-positive people, the third-largest number for any nation in the world, according to the IOCC, the humanitarian aid agency of Orthodox Christians. An estimated 1.2 million Ethiopian children have been orphaned by AIDS.

The Islamic and Christian communities of northwest Ohio are asking people interested in helping Iran earthquake relief efforts to write support checks and bring them to their places of worship on Feb. 22 or the day of worship closest to that date.

More than 45,000 people were killed by the recent quake and thousands more were injured or homeless.

Participating in the relief effort are the Toledo Area Council of Churches, the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo, the Lutheran Synod of Northwest Ohio, the Maumee Valley Presbytery of the Prebyterian Church USA, the Toledo Catholic Diocese, the United Methodist Church, Toledo Metropolitan Ministries, the Toledo Public Schools, and the American Red Cross.

Checks should be made payable to American Red Cross, Toledo Chapter, with a note on the memo line stating that it is for Iranian earthquake relief.

The 3rd Annual “Shockwave,” a day of prayer for persecuted Christians worldwide, will be held on March 5.

Millions of youth from different countries are expected to participate in the 24-hour global prayer initiative sponsored by Underground, the youth outreach of Open Doors International.

Shockwave 2004 will start in New Zealand and work its way across time zones, covering the world in prayer for an estimated 200 million members of the persecuted church, organizers said.

Women of Faith, an interdenominational conference, will hold a national convention March 18-20 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

Among those scheduled to speak or perform at the event are Sheila Walsh, Chonda Pierce, Sandi Patty, CeCe Winans, Kathy Troccoli, Babbie Mason, Natalie Grant, and Max Lucado.

The early-bird registration price of $99 for the weekend is available through Feb. 20 by calling 1-888-49-FAITH.

LONDON - Music by an all-female choir filled St. Paul s Cathedral as more than 100 female priests and 1,000 others marked a decade of female clergy in the Church of England.

A close 1992 General Synod vote opened the priesthood to women and the first ordinations occurred in 1994.

“Women priests have not unhinged the church,” said the sermon by the Rev. Angela Tilby, vice president of Westcott House, a theological college. “We have been part of a huge change, yet one which has clearly brought new life and confidence” to churches and communities.

The General Synod is considering whether to allow female bishops.



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