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Social action is the priority


An inner-city mission is sponsoring a seminar with a theologian whose work urges conservative evangelicals to understand their faith as compelling a radical stance on social justice issues.

Ron Sider, national president of Evangelicals for Social Action, will be speaking tomorrow night and Saturday at The Door, a youth ministry in poor neighborhoods around Johns Hopkins Hospital.

His talk is part of long-term effort by The Door and its network of about 30 sponsoring churches to unite Baltimore area evangelical Christians from city and suburban, white and black churches into a common social justice agenda that could include lobbying and demonstrating in Annapolis.

The move would signal a shift for many such churches to make social action a priority along with their traditional emphasis on spiritual conversion and charitable relief efforts.

The Door's founder, the Rev. Joe Ehrmann, a former defensive tackle for the Baltimore Colts, and others in the ministry say the evangelical belief in the absolute authority of the Bible requires believers to seek reform on behalf of the poor and the weak in society.

Dr. Sider, who has written "Rich Christians in the Age of Hunger" and other Christian social advocacy books, is a theology professor at Eastern Baptist Seminary in Philadelphia.

He will speak at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow on "Can God Really Save the Cities?" and at 9:30 a.m. Saturday on "The Relationship Between Evangelism and Biblical Justice."

Both seminars will be held at The Door, 219 N. Chester St. The public is invited. Admission is free.

Jewish films:

The fourth annual Jewish Film Festival, featuring films dealing with Jewish culture and history, starts tonight with the showing of "Korczak," a 1989 Polish film about a doctor who marched to a Nazi concentration camp with 200 orphans under his care.

The festival will run five films over the next two weeks, ending with "Man Without a World," a 1991 American film about life in an Eastern European shtetl.

After tonight, films are scheduled May 14, 17, 20 and 21 at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Most of them start at 7:30 p.m. in a program that includes a guest speaker.

The festival is co-sponsored by the Jewish Community Center and the Baltimore Film Forum.

For more information, call the film forum at 889-1993.

Medjugorje talk:

A local professor who has visited the site of reported apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Medjugorje, Yugoslavia, will be discussing the phenomenon at a luncheon at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church in Baltimore.

Sharon Cheston, associate chairwoman of the Pastoral Counseling Department at Loyola College, will be speaking at noon May 16 in the church hall of St. Patrick's, at 317 S. Broadway.

Ms. Cheston has traveled twice to Medjugorje, where six children have reported since 1981 that they have seen daily apparitions of the Virgin Mary. Religious pilgrims from all over the world have since visited the remote town and many have claimed other miraculous experiences.

Send religious news items -- about events, local personalities, etc. -- to Religion Notes, c/o Jay Merwin, The Evening Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.

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