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FAITH FOCUS BENEFIT CONCERT

STEWARTVILLE -- The Watoto Children's Choir, which performed at the White House in July, will give a benefit concert at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Ironwood Springs Christian Ranch. Snacks and hot chocolate will be served. A free-will offering will be taken to support Watoto Child Care Ministries, a non-profit organization that assists parentless children in Uganda.

'MESSIAH' SELECTIONS

The Zumbro Lutheran Church choir will sing selected choruses and solos from Handel's "Messiah" during the church's 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. worship services Sunday. The 60-voice choir will be accompanied by a chamber orchestra.

CHRISTMAS SERVICE

LENORA -- A Christmas worship service will be held at 5 p.m. Tuesday at the Historic Lenora United Methodist Church, built in 1856 in Fillmore County. The church is located in Lenora, east of Canton off Fillmore County Road 23. Call the Rev. Mark Woodward at (507) 545-2641 for more information.

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NEW PASTOR

The Rev. Linda Reynolds began serving as associate pastor at Peace United Church of Christ last month. Her ministry will focus on facilitating Christian education, youth groups for grades four through 12, the confirmation program, adult education and family programming for the contemporary congregation. Additionally, Reynolds will preach in worship services, provide pastoral care and be involved within church committees and groups.

BISHOP DEFENDS STANCE

LA CROSSE, Wis. -- Bishop Raymond Burke said he does not regret sending letters to Roman Catholic lawmakers warning that they should vote more in line with church teaching on abortion and other issues.

Burke, who has been appointed archbishop of St. Louis, said the letters were supposed to be confidential, in the spirit of a pastor counseling parishioners, and were not meant as a public reprimand.

The letters were made public in a story last week by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which said it obtained a copy of one of the letters from state Sen. Julie Lassa under open records law.

"I have no regrets whatsoever," Burke said. "It was my duty as bishop to write those letters."

Lassa said she would not let religion determine how she served her constituents.

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"When I was elected, I swore an oath to uphold the constitution, and that means I have to represent all the people of all faiths in my district," she said.

But Burke said elected officials and all Catholics are obligated to follow Catholic teaching in their private and public lives, or risk their spiritual well-being if they do not.

News items for Faith Focus are due by Tuesday prior to the Saturday publication. You may e-mail information to lifestyle@postbulletin.com or mail to Faith Focus, Lifestyle section, 18 First Ave. S.E., Rochester MN 55904.

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