This year will mark the first year of a 9/11 memorial focused on interfaith compassion and community building.

Interfaith communities will gather at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 23 Lake Road, Irvine, for an evening of sacred text, musical performances and prayers sponsored by the Newport-Mesa-Irvine Interfaith Council, according to Farrah Khan, event chair.

Participants include the Rev. Julie Elkins, president of the Newport-Mesa-Irvine Interfaith Council; Acharya Mahadevanji, Rameshwaram Chinmaya Mission; the Orange Coast Unitarian Universalist Church Choir; Rabbi Susan Conforti, Hoag Hospital; John Gremer, St. John Neumann Catholic Church; Sikh Women Now, Gurdwara; Jill Lutz, president of the Irvine Stake, Church of Latter-day Saints; the Rev. Dr. Paul Tellstrom, Irvine United Congregational Church; and Shaykh Jamaal Diwan, Islamic Center of Irvine.

Also featured will be Baha'i prayer and song and a performance by Denise Rosier and Laura Ava-Tesimale of the Hawaiian/Polynesian indigenous community.

A special ceremony will be conducted for the local veterans. The evening is family-oriented, and participation by all faiths is encouraged.

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Changing religious diversity and demographics

Keynote speaker for the Newport-Mesa-Irvine Interfaith Council's New Clergy Luncheon on Sept. 18 is Eric Spitz, president of Freedom Communications, publisher of the Orange County Register. The subject is "The Changing Religious Diversity/Demographics in Orange County." We will also hear about the Orange County Register's emphasis on faith and values.

The luncheon is being held at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church, 1441 W. Balboa Blvd., Newport Beach. Registration begins at 11:45 a.m., follow by lunch at 12:05 p.m., self-introductions at 12:35 p.m. and program from 12:50 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

All clergy and lay people, not only members of the council, are invited. With a reservation, clergy are free this day only. Admission for all others is $12 with a reservation and $15 without a reservation. RSVP by Sept. 16 to nmiinterfaith@aol.com.

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Back to school made easier by service clubs

The Kiwanis Club of Costa Mesa held its fourth annual Kelly's Closet "Clothe the Children" project in conjunction with the Boys & Girls Club of the Harbor Area.

The project is planned by a committee of students from the Circle K Club of Orange Coast College, the Key Clubs of Costa Mesa and Estancia high schools, the Builders Torch Club of the Lou Yantorn Branch of the Boys & Girls Club, and members of the Kiwanis Club and Young Professionals club, according to Kiwanian Jeff Dimsdale.

Each of the 28 student recipients (in grades 2 through 11) were given a bag of school supplies, from pencils to backpacks to graphing calculators. Then each youngster was assigned one or two student members of a Kiwanis-sponsored student leadership club.

These teams boarded a bus for a shopping trip at Sears in South Coast Plaza. With Kiwanians as chaperones providing assistance, each team purchased a full complement of school clothes.

After the ride back, Kiwanians provided a picnic and Kiwanis-family students sponsored a carnival.

After a joyful day for all, the student shoppers were ready for the Sept. 3 start of school. They have met new mentors, students who can show them the path of education through college, added Dimsdale

"The Kiwanis Club of Costa Mesa is grateful for the major support provided by Hoag Hospital, South Coast Plaza and the Costa Mesa Community Foundation, and for additional support by Office Depot, Sears, Pink House Imports, Starbucks, Stater Bros., Target and Trader Joe's," he said.

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