YOUNGSTOWN -- The Mahoning Valley's Jewish community will have a ball and carnival to celebrate Purim, the victory of the Jewish people in Shushan, Persia, which is now Iran. The Book of Esther, or the Megillah read during Purim services, recounts how Queen Esther defeated Haman when he wanted to destroy the Jews. This year, Purim begins at sundown Feb. 24.
The first annual Purim Ball will be at Ohev Tzedek-Shaarei Torah Congregation at 8 p.m. Feb. 23. The event is at the temple because the Jewish Community Center will be set up for the Community Purim Carnival that will be from 10:30 a.m. to noon Feb. 24. The carnival historically has been at Ohev Tzedek, but it will now be annually at the JCC.
The ball will feature Barry Wagner's three-piece band. Everyone must be in costume. Tickets are $20 a person. Call (330) 746-3250 Ext. 139. Lunch will be available for purchase at the carnival.
HOWLAND -- "Voices From the Past Echoing Today" is the theme of the free Lenten studies at Howland Community Church. All sessions are at 7 p.m. and include:
U Sunday: "From Abraham to Solomon," on the earliest formation of Scriptures during the time of the monarchy and the civil war that divided Israel and Judah.
U Feb. 24: "Prophets and Exile," on the influence of the prophets and how the exile reshaped the Biblical writings.
U March 3: "Paul and Friends," on the Greek Scriptures, the work of Paul and other early letter writers.
U March 10: "The Big Four," on the circumstances that led to the writing of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
U March 17: "Loading the Canon" on how the church decided which writings would and would not be in the Bible.
BOARDMAN -- Westminster Presbyterian Church's 2002 free Lenten series is "Discipleship With an Emphasis on Mark's Gospel." On four Sundays starting Sunday, refreshments at 6 p.m. will be followed by a presentation at 6:30 p.m. and Bible study. An agape dinner is at 6 p.m. March 17. Register at the church or call (330) 758-4513.
YOUNGSTOWN -- The Midlothian Ministerium Association is offering Lenten services with the theme "Stations of the Cross." Services are at 7 p.m. The dates, locations and speakers are: Wednesday, St. Luke Catholic Church, the Rev. Joseph Fata, "Stations of the Cross"; Feb. 27, Brownlee Woods Presbyterian, the Rev. Jeannie Winters, "Jesus Is Condemned to Death"; March 6, Struthers Methodist Church, Pastor Paul Easton, "Jesus Receives the Cross"; March 13, Gibson Heights Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Peter Lawson, "Jesus Falls"; and March 20, Faith Community Church, Deacon Paul Lisko, "Jesus Laid in the Grave."
SHARON, Pa. -- "Discipleship for the Transformation of the World" is a satellite conference at Penn State Shenango from 11 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Feb. 23. The cost is $10. To register, call (814) 824-1210.
YOUNGSTOWN -- St. Columba Cathedral will present a seminar, "Loving God and Loving Neighbor," on individuals who have been designated by Pope John Paul II for possible sainthood. The topics are: Sister Faustina, Sunday; Padre Pio, March 17; Father Damien, April 21 and May 19. All programs are at 10:30 a.m. in the diocesan conference room. Call (330) 744-5233.
BOARDMAN -- St. Mary's Byzantine Catholic Church will have Orthodox Sunday Great Vespers at 5 p.m. Sunday. Call (330) 726-8573.
YOUNGSTOWN -- An ecumenical healing prayer service will be at 7 p.m. Sunday in Christ Church Presbyterian.
FARRELL, Pa. -- New and Living Way Evangelistic Ministry will have a service titled "What's in the Heart" at 7 p.m. Friday.
CANFIELD -- Christian Life Center will present "Body Builders," a free power team strength demonstration at 7:30 p.m. March 1. Call (330) 533-7769.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Bethel Lighthouse Ministries has canceled its last Black History Month program set for Feb. 24 because of the death of the speaker, Eugene Guyton of Cleveland.