City Hall lawn will not host Nativity scene
There will be no Nativity scene on the City Hall lawn this Christmas, but it's not because of a challenge on the issue of separation of church and state.
No Christian groups applied for a display in the space set aside for private organizations at the Honolulu City Lights exhibition on the grounds of Honolulu Hale.
Only five groups applied, so they won the five spots allotted annually, said Patty Teruya, special-events coordinator of the city Department of Customer Services. In past years a lottery was held to select the five from nonprofit organizations seeking to display their message to holiday crowds.
There's only one religious organization this year, the Spiritual Assembly of Bahais of Honolulu. In past years, members of the Bahai faith, which teaches the oneness of God and all religions, have used a lighted "tree of humanity" with images of people from around the world.
Other exhibitors will be:
» Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.
» Stand Up for America.
» Healthy Hawaii Coalition.
» Windward Ahupua'a Alliance.
A manger scene depicting the birth of Jesus has been exhibited on the municipal grounds every Christmas since 1992. A Pearl City church member convinced former Mayor Frank Fasi that the Christmas story ought to be represented amid the secular Honolulu City Lights displays. It was challenged by American Atheists in 1997. The group and the city resolved the issue by establishing the lottery for nonprofit organizations.
Island churches plan Advent observances
There's more to preparing for Christmas than shopping, baking and parties. Some island churches will observe the liturgical season of Advent, a time of spiritual preparation for the birth of Jesus.
» Friday: A three-day Advent Monastic Retreat will begin at 5 p.m. at St. Anthony Retreat Center in Kalihi Valley. The Rev. Nancy Conley will lead the retreat sponsored by Spiritual Life Center. The $120 cost includes vegetarian meals. Call 523-1170 to register.
» Nov. 27: The Lutheran Church of Honolulu, 1730 Punahou St., will be the scene of "Advent Procession," a service of readings, carols and hymns, at 7:30 p.m. Carl Crosier and Allen Bauchle will conduct the Compline Choir in works by Hallock, Lister, Maxwell Davies and other composers. Organist Katherine Crosier will perform. Monetary offerings will be accepted. Parking is available at 1817 Poki St.
» Dec. 3: The Rev. Liz Beasley will lead reflections during an "Advent Quiet Day" from 9 a.m. to noon at St. Christopher's Episcopal Church, 93 N. Kainalu St., Kailua. Call 262-8176 for information.
Pakistan slide show to aid disaster relief
A slide presentation of photographer Chick Alsop's memories of a recent two-month sojourn in northern Pakistan will be shown next weekend at a benefit for survivors of the Oct. 8 earthquake there.
The Nov. 27 program at First Unitarian Church will feature a talk by Aslam Syed, a visiting professor at the University of Hawaii and consultant with the Honolulu Academy of Arts, and guests from the Pakistani community in Hawaii. There will be a silent auction, and donations will be accepted for relief agencies working in the stricken area.
Parking is available at the church, 2500 Pali Highway, and at Temple Emanu-El, 2550 Pali Highway.