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More than 700 delegates are expected to attend the annual midwinter meeting of the National Christian Youth Council, which will be held in Buffalo for the first time Dec. 26-30.

The conference, which will be headquartered at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo, will have St. Luke African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, 314 E. Ferry St., as host.

Several African Methodist Episcopal Zion churches in Buffalo will participate. "Building ministries that change lives" is the theme.

The meeting will consist of daily workshops and nightly worship services. Highlights will be a Communion service at 7 p.m. Dec. 27 at St. Luke's and Victory Night services at 7 p.m. Dec. 28 in the Hyatt. A closing service will be held at 11 a.m. Dec. 30 in St. Luke's.

The event will bring together delegates from the National Christian Youth Council, the Young Adults Christian Ministries and the Assembly of Christian Educators.

Officiating over the conference will be the presiding bishop of the Third Episcopal District, Bishop J. Clinton Hoggard, and the Rev. Joseph D. Kerr, the presiding elder of the Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse district.

Deadline for site funds nears

Religious institutions seeking funds to restore or preserve architecturally significant structures or sites have until Jan. 15 to apply for matching grants to the Sacred Sites and Properties Fund of the New York Landmarks Conservancy.

The private, non-profit organization offers grants of up to $15,000 for repair and restoration of churches, synagogues, meeting houses and related sites and for planning such projects. Since the fund was established in 1986, more than $775,000 has been awarded to 165 religious institutions across the state.

Applications are available by writing to the fund at 141 Fifth Ave., New York City, 10010, or calling 212-995-5260.

Course set on Sephardic Jews

A course on Sephardic Jews will be offered on six consecutive Wednesdays beginning Jan. 9 at the Jewish Center of Greater Buffalo, 2640 North Forest Road, Getzville.

The series of one-hour sessions, each beginning at 10:30 a.m., will be taught by Marc Gozlan, executive director of the center's Bureau of Jewish Education. The course is free and open to the community, but registration is required in advance by calling Marcia Frankel at the Jewish Center.

"Sephardic Jewry" refers to Spanish Jews and their descendants who are centered in the Mediterranean area.

Advent-Chrismas service set

An Advent-Christmas service known as the Festival of Lessons and Carols, combining Scripture readings with congregational and choral singing, has been announced by Buffalo area churches.

The schedule follows:

7:30 p.m. today, St. Mary's Catholic Church, 5 Saxton St., Lockport; 5 p.m. Sunday, St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral, Main Street at Cathedral Park; 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church, Buffalo Street and Thorn Avenue, Orchard Park; 5 p.m. Sunday, Kenmore Presbyterian Church, 2771 Delaware Ave., Kenmore; 5 p.m. Dec. 23, Episcopal Church of the Ascension, Linwood Avenue and North Street; 10 a.m. Dec. 30, Calvary Episcopal Church, 20 Milton St., Williamsville.

Other services that will include significant seasonal musical works are a performance of J.S. Bach's "Magnificat" at 11 a.m. Sunday in the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo, 695 Elmwood Ave., and a performance of H. Alexander Matthew's "A Christmas Story" at 11 a.m. Sunday in Central Park United Methodist Church, Morris and Beard avenues.

Stella Niagara to offer retreat

The Center of Renewal at Stella Niagara will offer its annual New Year's Eve Retreat, an opportunity to spend the end of 1990 in quiet reflection and prayerful celebration with a faith community.

Arrival time is any time day or evening, Dec. 31. The retreat concludes with a 9:30 a.m. brunch Jan. 1. Included are optional presentations during the day, supper, an 8 p.m. holy hour and a 10:30 p.m. liturgy followed by a party.

'Nativity' volunteers sought

TOWN OF NIAGARA -- Members of the Niagara Presbyterian Church, 3712 Military Road, are seeking volunteers to take part in their 33rd annual "Living Nativity Scene" beginning Monday from 7 to 10 p.m.

The program, ending Christmas night, was first performed in 1957 and features a flood-lit stable.

More than 4,000 members, area residents and members of other congregations have taken part in the program since then, a church spokesman said.

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