You've heard of all those "thon" fund-raisers walkathons, marathons, even smile-athons.
Hilmar Covenant Church came up with a new one a hymnathon. Associate pastor Dan Johnson is heading the church's second participation in Feed My Starving Children, a nonprofit program to package and ship nonperishable meals to hungry children, often in orphanages in poor countries.
In January, the church collected $72,000 and used 1,500 volunteers from Merced to Escalon to pack more than 300,000 meals for the program. This year, the church is hoping to raise $110,000 and get 2,500 volunteers to pack 500,000 meals.
To get a jumpstart on fund-raising, Hilmar Covenant will hold a two-hour hymn sing from 5-7 p.m. today. Johnson said they hope to sing 50 hymns. That translates into a $5 donation for one 10-cent-per-hymn sponsorship, the equivalent of 23 meals, or $50 for a single $1-per-hymn sponsorship, enough for 227 meals.
"If just 200 singers each sign up $150 from sponsors, $30,000 will be raised, just by singing songs to God!" Johnson said. "Our miracle goal is 600 singers, each signing up $150 in sponsors. That would bring in $90,000 in one night."
The event, open to anyone, will be held at Turlock Covenant Church, 316 S. Laurel St. Refreshments will follow the hymn sing. The sponsor form is on the Hilmar church's Web site: www.hilmarcovenant.org.
The church also will hold a fund-raising golf tournament on Nov. 19. For more information, call (209) 668-0400.
Other upcoming faith-based activities include:
ARTS AND MUSIC
BELLS OF BLESSING 4 p.m. today, Modesto Church of the Brethren, 2301 Woodland Ave. Ten bell choirs featuring about 100 bells in concert to benefit The Salvation Army. Directed by Rich Colla. Offering. (209) 523-1906.
GOSPEL JUBILEE 6 p.m. Saturday, Christian Life Center, 650 E. Olive Ave., Merced. Six groups Herb Henry Family, the Wintons, Reliance, The Lighthouse Boys, The Regents Quartet and Brian Besser Family plus Jubilee Band in concert of southern, bluegrass and gospel music. $8 in advance, $10 at door; free for ages 18 and under. www.californiagospeljubilee.com or (209) 201-6824.
ROBIN HELZNER TRIO 3 p.m. Nov. 11, Congregation Beth Shalom, 1705 Sherwood Ave., Modesto. Award-winning Jewish music group showcases new and traditional songs in this concert, part of Sunday Afternoons at CBS series. $20 adults, $15 seniors and students, $7 children. (209) 571-6060.
BETTER TOGETHER 7:30 p.m.Nov. 17, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 4300 N. Dale Road, Modesto. Choirs from Christian Love Baptist Church, Church of the Brethren, St. Paul's Episcopal Church and the host church, as well as Expressions Vocissima Choir, Golden Valley Chorus and Modesto Suzuki Association Cello Choir in concert. Benefits local food pantries; bring a bag of nonperishable groceries. Free. RSVP to (209) 545-2983.
MESSIAH SINGALONG 4 p.m.Nov. 18, Trinity United Presbyterian Church, 1600 Carver Road, Modesto. Fifth annual event allows singers of all levels to perform Handel's "Messiah." In addition to the choruses, participants will sing traditionally solo numbers, including "Comfort Ye," "He Shall Feed His Flock" and "Come Unto Him." Ginger Covert Colla will conduct; Grace Brummel will accompany on the organ; soloists include Linda Carter and Dawn Peterson, sopranos, Jennifer Champeaux, alto, Bruce Merchant, tenor, and Richard Colla, bass. Free. (209) 765-6388.
RABBI LERNER 7 p.m. Thursday, Modesto Junior College East Campus (College Avenue), Forum Building 110. Rabbi Michael Lerner, a leader in the American Jewish Renewal movement and founder of the Network of Spiritual Progressives, will speak on "Embracing Israel/Palestine: A Strategy to Heal and Transform the Middle East." The talk is part of MJC's Civic Engagement Project. Discussion follows talk. Free. (209) 526-5436.
CLERGY SYMPOSIUM Noon to 1:30 p.m., Thursday, Community Hospice Patient Services Center, 4368 Spyres Way, Modesto. Annual symposium includes lunch with keynote speaker Nancee Sobonya, the filmmaker of "The Gifts of Grief," an educational documentary. Workshop offers practical information to faith leaders on how to care for congregations and identify the physical, emotional and spiritual effects of grief. Free. Register at (209) 578-6300.
CHRISTMAS STUDY 6:30-7:30 p.m., Wednesdays through Dec. 12, beginning Wednesday, Centenary United Methodist Church, McHenry at Norwegian avenues, Modesto. Based on the book, "Christmas is Not Your Birthday," the video-based study focuses on overcoming holiday hype and hassle by making Jesus the center of the Christmas celebration. Children's study and nursery provided. Free. Reserve a spot at (209) 527-5441.
CHURCH BAZAAR 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Friday-Saturday, Central General Baptist Church, 944 N. Central Ave., Ceres. Baked goods, candy, crafts, jewelry, Avon, Tupperware and food available for purchase. (209) 538-7545.
GARAGE SALE 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Cornerstone Community Church, 2000 Sunrise Ave., Modesto. Flea market/garage sale benefits children's ministry. Handcrafted items, bathroom fixtures, etc. (209) 526-8574.
CRAFT FAIR, SALE 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Valley Bible Fellowship, 1483 Mable Ave., Modesto. Handmade crafts, holiday and gift items, baked goods, plus "almost new" household items, jewelry, books, handbags, etc. Sale benefits women's ministry projects. (209) 549-2908.
CRAFTERS BOUTIQUE 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, St. Patrick's Catholic Church, 19399 E. Highway 120, Ripon. Crafters for Charity Boutique benefits Knights of Columbus adopt-a-family fund.
CRAFT FAIR 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday and 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 11, St. Mary's Catholic Church, 59 Oak Ave., Oakdale. Homemade items, home décor, jewelry, commercial vendors, baked goods, food booth. Proceeds benefit scholarship programs. (209) 985-1486.
Send events by noon Tuesday to email@example.com or fax to (209) 578-2207.