‘Sex, Gender and Variations’ focus of free church workshop – Flo Johnston

Flo Johnston
Flo Johnston

The Champion Fund, a nonprofit that supports basic research and promotes public awareness of reproductive science, will hold a free workshop “Conversations on Sex, Gender and Variations” from 9:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Saturday, April 29, in Johnson Hall, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 1737 Hillandale Road, Durham.

The event is open to all people interested in understanding the science of sex, gender and sexuality variations. Experts from the biological, social sciences and humanities will lead conversations drawing from the latest research in these areas.

Topics to be presented are sexual development of the fetus, sexual differences of the brain, social and religious responses to sexuality variations and ways the public can follow scientific advances.

Presenters include Brianna Howard, nurse in the Triangle; John Yarborough, musician and parishioner at St. Luke’s; Kathryn McClelland, researcher at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Laboratory in RTP; Sarah Berga, reproductive endocrinologist and chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Wake Forest University; Michelle Wolff, PhD candidate in Department of Religious Studies at Duke University; the Rev. Phillip Cato, Episcopal priest, retired member of the Diocese of Washington and Ethics consultant to the National Institutes of Health; Vincent Kopp, pediatrician, anesthesiologist and former UNC faculty member; Phyllis Leppert, professor emerita, Duke University School of Medicine and president of the Champion Fund.

Lunch will be provided. The workshop is free, but a donation of $12 is suggested.

Theology fellows

Duke University sophomores Edom Tilahun and Justin Baez have been selected as recipients of Duke Chapel’s new C. Eric Lincoln Theology and Arts Fellowships.

The two will create original works of visual art that explore theological concepts, their personal faiths and/or engage at the intersections of gender, race and religion. Their work will be on display in Duke Chapel beginning today, April 26, with an opening reception at 5 p.m. Thursday, April 27.

‘The Four Elements’

Sonan, Singers of New and Ancient Music, will perfom as part of the Chapel in the Pines’ Strobilus Arts Performance Series at 3 p.m. Saturday, April 29.

Their hour-long program, “The Four Elements: Earth, Air, Water and Fire,” features works by composers Palestrina, Howells, Raminsh and Hogan, with secular and sacred pieces from different countries.

Sonan seeks to share their music with listeners of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds through benefit concerts, informal singing and occasional tours. In all their concerts, a portion of the proceeds support local charities. The Triangle Land Conservancy will be the beneficiary of this concert.

All Strobilus events are open to the public and free, with a suggested donation of $10.

Located on the south side of Chapel Hill in Chatham County at 312 Great Ridge Parkway, Chapel in the Pines Presbyterian Church has a stunning timber-frame hardwood interior with expansive views of the surrounding pine forests.

‘Out of the Shadows’

“Coming Out of the Shadows: Connections and Spirituality Among LGBTQ Communities,” an interfaith festival for people of all genders, will be held Saturday, April 29, at Lyon Park Community Center, 1309 Halley St., Durham.

Sponsored by the Resource Center for Women and Ministry in the South, the event from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. will address how for generations LGBTQ people have been pushed out of religious and spiritual communities and their stories erased from religious texts and rituals.

Some traditions have been inclusive from the beginning and some have come along in recent decades, but many still have inner healing and community-wide work to do.

The morning workshops will help LGBTQ people reclaim their hidden histories and support their spiritual journeys. The afternoon will include talking circles with skilled facilitators for healing and celebrating together.

Chaplains, social workers and alternative healers will be on site for individual support. The day will begin and end with music and ritual from different traditions.

Lunch will be provided free, with a suggested donation of $10.


A Great Enlightenment Celebration of the founding of Won Buddhism is planned Sunday, April 30, at Won Buddhist Temple, 8021 Old NC 86, Chapel Hill.

The program begins at 10 a.m. with meditation dharma sharing, music and community lunch. Participants are invited to bring a dish for lunch. Children are welcome.

The open house is from 1 to 5 p.m. Workshops about meditation, chanting, Qi-gong, mini-lectures on Won Buddhism and the tea ceremony are planned.

Holocaust service

A 3 p.m. Yom Hashoah Holocaust Memorial Service of the Durham-Chapel Hill Jewish Federation will take place Sunday, April 30, at Kehillah Synagogue, 1200 Mason Farm Road, Chapel Hill.

Dr. Sheva Zucker will lead the program titled “Seven Years in Shanghai: Life as a Refugee” in which she will tell the story of Meyer Zucker, her father, who was born in Poland in 1910. He fled the country in 1919 after the Nazi invasion and found temporary refuge in Lithuania.

When Lithuania became unsafe, Zucker had to flee again. Help came in the unlikely form of a transit visa issued by Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara in defiance of orders from Tokyo. Thanks to his heroic stance, Zucker, along with many other Jews, were able to leave Europe.

Zucker spent eight months in Japan, followed by seven years in Shanghai before emigrating to Canada.

Easter cantata

The Chancel Choir at Durham’s Aldersgate United Methodist Church will present its Easter cantata at sister church Aldersgate United Methodist, 632 Laurel Hill Road, Chapel Hill, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 3.

The cantata “This Changes Everything” was written by Marty Funderburk and Joseph Habedank. A reception will follow.

Contact Flo Johnston at or call 1-910-361-4135.