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Religion briefs for April 20

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Earth Day vigil set

The Oklahoma Conference of Churches Environmental Committee will host an Earth Day public vigil from 12:15 to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Organizers said the event is the third of three public vigils held across from Penn Square Mall, on the west side of Pennsylvania Avenue.

"Ignoring the scientific consensus that emissions of gases from human sources are warming the atmosphere is already bringing extreme weather events, wildfires and serious droughts," said The Rev. Jim Gragg, who will be keynote speaker at the vigil.

Participants will sing, read statements and pray at the event. The first vigil on April 1 included interfaith statements organized by the conference of churches' Environmental Committee. Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist speakers all spoke about their faith traditions’ agreement that humanity should live in harmony with the natural world and be good stewards of nature.

Church to host festival

Avery Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church will host a Community Festival and Block Party from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 27 at the church, 1425 Kelham Ave.

The free event will include face painting, live music, arts and crafts, basketball, games and free services such as haircuts, health screenings, dental and legal wisdom. A Battle of the Bands between the Millwood and Douglass high school marching bands also will be featured.

For more information, call 424-3331 or go to https://www.averyokc.com.

Spring luncheon planned

Oklahoma Israel Exchange will host its Spring Luncheon at 11:30 a.m. May 13 at at The Jones Assembly, 901 W Sheridan.

Oklahoma City University President Martha Burger will receive the organization's Light Leadership Legacy Award. Miss Israel Linor Abargil will be keynote speaker.

Abargil has a compelling story to tell. Between the Miss Israel and Miss World competition, she was abducted in Milan, Italy. She shares her story in the Emmy-award winning film “Brave Miss World.” Organizers said the courageous woman found her voice through her spiritual journey and today is a proud wife and mother, as well as notable actress, accomplished attorney and fearless activist.

This program provides the Oklahoma Israel Exchange, known as OKIE, an opportunity to fulfill its mission to promote goodwill between the State of Oklahoma and the State of Israel as well as highlight Israel’s positive contributions to quality of life around the globe.

For more information or to reserve a seat, go to https://www.okisraelexchange.com/upcoming-events.

Women's center changes name

A major announcement topped off the "Life of the Party" gala fundraising event hosted March 23 by Birth Choice of Oklahoma.

Birth Choice, a faith-based women’s resource center dedicated to serving Oklahoma women for more than 46 years, announced a name change at the event.

The agency is now known as Willow Pregnancy Support, setting the stage for future growth and rebranding. The organization's leaders said the new name is an opportunity to reach new heights and serve an increasing number of women who experience an unexpected pregnancy. They said willow trees are known for grace, flexibility and resilience — a perfect symbol of the staff, volunteers, supporters, and most of all, clients, of this long-standing organization.

Although the name is changing, the heart and mission remain the same. The agency provides services including pregnancy testing, limited ultrasound, a full prenatal clinic staffed by resident physicians of St. Anthony Hospital Family Medicine, material goods resources, community referrals and temporary housing through Rose Home, a maternity shelter.

In 2018, Birth Choice served 5,771 women. Willow Pregnancy Support anticipates serving more than 6,000 clients in 2019.

For more information about Willow Pregnancy Support’s services, go to willowpregnancy.org.

Staff reports

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