ROCHESTER -- Elim Baptist Church of Rochester will hold its Fifth Annual Community Appreciation Party from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 24.

The party is free of charge and open to the public. Featured will be a barbecue catered by Famous Dave's, popcorn and soda. Live music includes the original folk music of Jake Donze and the Coattail Riders and Sam Butler and The Real Deal's high-energy gospel music. Games include races, relays, crafts, contests and an inflatable "Moonwalk" fun house for children.

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ROCHESTER -- The final lecture in a series on contemporary theology and religious scholarship, "A Faith for Tomorrow," will be held Aug. 27 at Christ United Methodist Church, 400 Fifth Ave. S.W., Rochester. Featured speaker will be Dr. Val Webb.


The lecture is from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Her topic is "A Faith for the 21st Century." Webb is on the faculty of Augsburg College, Minneapolis, and is a visiting lecturer at Whitley College in Melbourne, Australia. The author of six books, she holds degrees in science and religion from the University of Queensland, Australia, and a doctorate in systematic theology from Luther Seminary in St. Paul.

Cost is $5. Registration is open throughout the series and will be taken at the door or by mail to the church.


ROLLINGSTONE -- The Rev. Michael Cronin will be installed as pastor of Holy Trinity Church in Rollingstone and St. Mary's Church in Minneiska during the 10:30 a.m. Mass Sept. 1 at Holy Trinity Church. He was ordained in 1995 by Archbishop John Vlazny of Portland, Ore., and has served in a number of churches across Minnesota, including Immaculate Conception Oratory in Oak Ridge. He is chancellor of the Diocese of Winona, director of cemeteries, director of the office of vocations and serves on the marriage tribunal. He will be installed by the Rev. Bernard Harrington of the Catholic Diocese of Winona.


NEW YORK -- The National Council of Churches announced that, due in part to cutbacks in staff and programs, it has recovered from its financial problems following a decade of deficit spending.

Bob Edgar, the council's general secretary, said the organization ended its fiscal year June 30 with a balanced budget. The Lilly Endowment of Indianapolis, Ind., also has given the group a $500,000 grant. Edgar said the foundation had previously expressed concern about giving money to the struggling religious organization.

The turnaround came after administrators reduced programs and the number of jobs at the council from 102 to 41 over the last couple of years, Edgar said. He said 32 of the 36 Protestant and Orthodox member denominations have now committed to paying their assessments, up from 23 out of 35 two years ago.


Royalties of $655,000 from Bible translation helped put the council back in the black, Edgar said. The organization's programs include Christian education, economic and environmental justice efforts and interfaith dialogues. The rebound comes as the council is working to reach out to Roman Catholics and evangelical Christians.

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