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Religion news: Pancakes with a side of magic

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Hope Presbyterian Church's family-friendly fundraising event features a few extraordinary menu items — comedy and magic — to sweeten its pancake breakfast from 8 to 10 a.m. Saturday at the church, 1698 S Belcher Road in Clearwater.

Professional magician Jim Greiner, who trains folks to use magic and humor for therapy, business and entertainment, will give free lessons in comedic magic to attendees.

The breakfast will include pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon and beverages. Tickets are $5 for adults and free for children age 6 and younger. Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the door. Call (727) 531-3200. Visit

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For Buddhists and those with an interest in the religion, two local churches will host Vesak, a religious holy day observed traditionally in Sri Lanka, Tibet, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and a host of countries in southeast Asia.

The day commemorates Buddha's birth, enlightenment and death and emphasizes a basic Buddhist code of ethics known as the Five Precepts.

The hoisting of the Buddhist flag and the singing of hymns in praise of the Buddha, the Dharma (his teachings), and the Sangha (his disciples) is customary. Devotees lay simple offerings of flowers, candles and incense at the feet of their teacher.

Vesak will be showcased during Festival Ruah at 7 p.m. Friday at the Unitarian Universalists of Clearwater, Octagon Arts Center, 2470 Nursery Road.

The event will feature Buddhist chants by Bhantes Dhammawansha, Taiko drummings by Ron Collings, Indian classical dance by Aishwarya Challa, Mongolian music by Sundui and jazz by Fred Johnson.

Offerings will be accepted. Call (727) 531-7704. Visit

The public also is invited to join monks and leaders from a variety of worldwide cultures and traditions for Vesak, beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday at Unity Church of Clearwater, 2645 Nursery Road. Buddhist Dhamma talks and inspirational thoughts from interfaith leaders will be presented.

The evening event also includes chanting for world peace, performances of Asian dance and song, and an opportunity for contemplation and renewal as attendees bathe baby Buddha.

A vegetarian buffet of international cuisine will follow. A $20 donation is requested. Call (727) 242-7239 or visit

Mail religion news to Nova Beall at 1130 Cleveland St., Suite 100 A, Clearwater, FL 33756; fax to (727) 445-4119; or email

Religion news: Pancakes with a side of magic 05/28/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 28, 2013 3:04pm]
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