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FAITH MATTERS: Norwegian church service . . . Warren Aglow . . . Redding family concert, etc.

GF church to hold Norwegian service GRAND FORKS -- The 44th annual Norwegian-English Festival Service will be held at 2:30 p.m. Sunday in Trinity Free Lutheran Church, 3426 Chestnut St. Christmas hymns and Scripture readings will be in Norwegian,...

GF church to hold Norwegian service

GRAND FORKS -- The 44th annual Norwegian-English Festival Service will be held at 2:30 p.m. Sunday in Trinity Free Lutheran Church, 3426 Chestnut St. Christmas hymns and Scripture readings will be in Norwegian, and the sermon by the Rev. Terry Olson will be in English. Several vocal and instrumental musical numbers will be performed. A coffee hour with Scandinavian delights will follow.

Everyone is welcome.

Info: (701) 772-1218.

Israeli to speak at Warren Aglow

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WARREN, Minn. -- Karen Michalski and Sandy Ebertowski will talk about their recent trip to Israel, and Israeli Asher Intrater will share how he came to faith in Jesus through supernatural experiences in Central America after being raised in a conservative Jewish home at Warren Aglow at 9 a.m. Jan. 16 in the community center.

Michalski is a retired home economics teacher from Argyle, Minn., and Ebertowski is a retired financial officer from Grand Forks.

Asher lives in Israel and with Michalski and Ebertowski works toward the evangelization of all people and the restoration of the nation of Israel.

Everyone is welcome.

Info: Judy Schuster at (218) 791-3106 or e-mail judy_schuster@ gra.midco.net.

Redding family to sing in Mekinock church

MEKINOCK, N.D. -- Paul and Amy Redding will present a concert at 3 p.m. Jan. 17 in Middle Grove Lutheran Church, rural Mekinock, N.D. A spaghetti supper will follow. The Reddings and their six children from rural Northwood, N.D., have a music ministry. Paul Redding teaches music in Larimore, N.D., schools. Everyone is welcome.

From Grand Forks, go west on U.S. Highway 2 one mile past the airport to County Road 5, then go north five miles, west on Country Road 11 two miles, north one mile on 19th Street Northeast and west one-half mile on 24th Avenue Northeast.

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Info: the Rev. Kirk Thorson, (701) 343-6292; e-mail him at kthor21@juno.com .

R.I. lawmakers back gay funeral rights

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Rhode Island lawmakers have voted to allow same-sex and unmarried couples the right to plan the funerals of their late partners, overriding a veto by the governor, who warned it eroded traditional marriage.

The bill passed 67-3 in the House and 31-3 in the Senate and enjoyed support from several Republican lawmakers, who are in the same party as Gov. Don Carcieri, an adamant opponent of same-sex marriage in a state that does not recognize gay unions.

The new funeral planning rights also apply to unmarried heterosexual couples.

Mark Goldberg, 49, pushed for the legislation after struggling for five weeks to claim the body of his partner of 17 years, Ron Hanby, who committed suicide in October 2008. The state medical examiner would not release Hanby's body to Goldberg because they were not married or relatives, even though the couple had wills and other legal documents attesting to their relationship.

Rhode Island does not recognize gay marriage, partly owing to opposition from Roman Catholic Church leaders in the most heavily Catholic state in the country. Maine is the only other New England state that doesn't recognize gay marriage. Bills legalizing gay unions have died in Rhode Island's Legislature every year since they were first introduced in 1997.

Palestinians jeer Greek Orthodox leader

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BETHLEHEM, West Bank -- Dozens of Palestinian Christians have booed their religious leader during a procession in the biblical town of Bethlehem marking Greek Orthodox Christmas.

The protesters accuse Patriarch Theofilos of selling church lands to Israelis.

Tuesday's protest was peaceful. But about two dozen Palestinian policemen surrounded the protesters, who held signs reading, "the Holy Land is not for sale."

It was the first time police have been called in for Christmas celebrations, although relations have been tense for decades between the church and its Palestinian followers. They accuse their religious leadership of shady land deals with Israeli developers.

Eastern churches celebrate Christmas on Jan. 7.

If you have stories or announcements for Faith & Religion, contact Stephen J. Lee at (701) 780-1237; (800) 477-6572, ext. 237; or e-mail slee@gfherald.com ; fax, (701) 780-1123.

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