Jews will begin one of their most important observances of the year at sundown Friday, March 30, when the seven-day Passover observance starts at sundown.
Passover, also known as Pesach, starts on the 15th day of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar. It commemorates the deliverance of the Israelites about 3,300 years ago from Egypt, where they had been enslaved for 400 years. The biblical story is recounted in the book of Exodus.
Many Jews will have in-home observances centered around Seder dinners, with foods symbolizing the exodus. Readings from the Haggadah, a book that tells the Passover story, also will be used in many homes.
The Passover holiday for Reform Jews will end at sundown Friday, April 6. Meanwhile, Conservative and Orthodox Jews who live outside of Israel will observe Passover for another day, with their holiday concluding the night of Saturday, April 7.
Temple Beth Sholom, 4200 S.W. Munson, will have a special congregational Seder meal for Passover. For more information, call the synagogue at (785) 272-6040.
In other religion news:
• True Holiness Family Church, 1244 S.E. Republican Ave., will have a barbecue dinner fundraiser from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 24. Donations of $8, $9 and $11 are requested for the dinners.
• Victory City Church, 2622 S.E. 6th Ave., will present "The Road to Calvary," an Easter musical-drama, at 4 and 7 p.m. Saturday, March 24, and 7 p.m. Sunday, March 25.
• First Congregational United Church of Christ, 1701 S.W. Collins, will have a garage sale from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, March 24.
• Faith Temple Church, 1162 S.W. Lincoln, will have a barbecue fundraiser from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 24. The cost is $8.
• The Topeka City Mission Union will have services Saturday, March 24, and Sunday, March 25, at New Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church, 1018 S.E. 8th. The "Money for Training Musicians" annual fundraiser at 5 p.m. March 24 will showcase the current scholarship recipient. Other people will sing and demonstrate talents. At 3:30 p.m. March 25, the laymen of City Mission Union churches will be in charge of the service with an emphasis on "Camp Ascension."
• The Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ, 2420 S.E. Bellview, will sponsor a program titled "A Time to Dance" at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 24. Presenters will be from several churches and groups.
• Ethan Carlton, Michael Mills and Carol Christensen, members of the Sherwood Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will speak at 9 a.m. Sunday, March 25, at the Topeka LDS Stake Center, 2401 S.W. Kingsrow Road.
• The annual ecumenical Blessing of the Palms service will be held at 10 a.m. Sunday, March 25, in the courtyard of First Christian Church-Disciples of Christ, 1880 S.W. Gage. Seabrook-area churches will take part in the service.
• Interfaith of Topeka will have a film festival from 2 to 8 p.m. Sunday, March 25, at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, 1515 S.W. 10th. Films will include "Smoke Signals," a 1998 all-Native American production; "Little Buddha," a 1993 film related to Buddhism; and "The Last Keepers," a 2013 film on Pagan spiritual themes. The free event will include refreshments and displays of various faith groups that are part of Interfaith of Topeka. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Asbury-Mount Olive United Methodist Church, 1196 S.W. Buchanan, will have a Maundy Thursday service at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 29.
• Potwin Presbyterian Church, 400 S.W. Washburn, will have a Maundy Thursday service at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 29.
• Our Savior's Lutheran Church, 2021 S.W. 29th, will have a Maundy Thursday service with foot-washing and Holy Communion at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 29.
• Valley Falls United Methodist Church, 410 Frazier in Valley Falls, will have its 63rd annual living scene Maundy Thursday service at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 29. Before the service, the church's youth group will serve a spaghetti dinner from 5 to 6 p.m. A freewill offering will be received.
• Lane Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, 1200 S.W. Lane, will have a Good Friday service at 6 p.m. Friday, March 30.
• The Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ, 2420 S.E. Bellview, will have a Good Friday service at 7 p.m. Friday, March 30.
• Our Savior's Lutheran Church, 2021 S.W. 29th, will have a Good Friday-Tenebrae-Seven Last Words service at 7 p.m. Friday, March 30.
• West Side Christian Church-Disciples of Christ, 432 S.W. Lindenwood, will have a Good Friday service at 7 p.m. Friday, March 30.
• The 5th annual EasterFest will be held Saturday, March 31, in North Topeka. The event will begin at 10 a.m. with a parade starting at the Union Pacific railroad tracks in the 700 block of N. Kansas Avenue. The parade will go north on N. Kansas Avenue and will end at Garfield Park, 1601 N.E. Quincy, where additional festivities will be held, including an egg hunt at 11 a.m., live entertainment, games and bounce houses. Food trucks also will be at the event. For more information, visit www.topekaeasterparade.com.
• Our Savior's Lutheran Church, 2021 S.W. 29th, will have an Easter Vigil service at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 31.
• The 188th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be shown live via satellite at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, March 31 and April 1, at the LDS Topeka Stake Center, 2401 S.W. Kingsrow, and the LDS meetinghouse, 3611 S.W. Jewell.
• An Easter sunrise service will take place at 7 a.m. Sunday, April 1, at Old Prairie Town at Ward-Meade Historic Site, 124 N.W. Fillmore. The service is sponsored by West Side Baptist Church.
• St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church, 2222 S.E. Madison, will celebrate the 39th anniversary of the Rev. McCoy and Lucinda Caraway at the church in special services at 7 p.m. Friday, April 6, with guests the Rev. Jonathan Mitchell, pastor of St. John Missionary Baptist Church of Sherwood, Ark., and music by the Parker Singers, Heaven Bound, the choir from True Vine Missionary Baptist Church, and the Rev. James T. Jackson, of Kansas City, Mo.
• The community outreach ministry of New Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, in partnership with Highland Park High School, will have a prom boutique from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 7, at the church, 2801 S.E. Indiana Ave. Dresses of all sizes and colors, along with shoes, will be available.
• St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church, 2222 S.E. Madison, will celebrate the 39th anniversary of the Rev. McCoy and Lucinda Caraway at the church in special services at 11 a.m. Sunday, April 8, with the Rev. Jonathan Mitchell serving as guest speaker, and at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, April 8, with guest speaker the Rev. Tommie Parker, of Greater Deliverance Missionary Baptist Church.
• The annual State of Kansas Holocaust Commemoration Service will take place at 1 p.m. Monday, April 9, at the Ramada Hotel and Convention Center, 420 S.E. 6th Ave. The program theme will be "Generation to Generation." The speaker will be Rachel Black. A Holocaust proclamation will be presented by Gov. Jeff Colyer. Admission is free. A reception will follow. Call Temple Beth Sholom at (785) 272-6040 for more information.
• The Topeka Women's Connection will have its flower garden luncheon from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, April 12, at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, 1515 S.W. 10th. The speaker will be Layne Hundley. Music will be provided by Rachel Gardner. The luncheon costs $14, with reservations due by April 5 by calling (785) 554-3617. There is no charge to attend the program.
• Gov. Jeff Colyer will be the featured speaker at the Capital City Christian Chamber of Commerce meeting at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, April 12, at the Governor's Row House, 811 S.W. Buchanan. The organization is celebrating its 10th anniversary.
• The Pastor's Aide Board of True Holiness Family Church, 1244 S.E. Republican, will have a catfish fry fundraiser from noon to 4 p.m. Friday, April 13. A donation of $12 per meal is suggested.
• St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church, 2222 S.E. Madison, will celebrate the 39th anniversary of the Rev. McCoy and Lucinda Caraway with services at 7 p.m. Friday, April 13, 20 and 27, and at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, April 15, 22 and 29.
• The Saturday Women's Connection will have a "Vintage Fashion Days" luncheon from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Saturday, April 14, at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, 1515 S.W. 10th. The cost is $14 for the luncheon. There is no charge to attend the program. For reservations, call (785) 233-0701 or email email@example.com by April 9.
• Elmont United Methodist Church, 6635 N.W. Church Lane, will have its annual pork loin dinner from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, April 14. The cost is $9 per person.
• Grantville United Methodist Church, 3724 South St. in Grantville, will have its annual spring dinner and bazaar on Saturday, April 14. The bazaar will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. and will feature quilts, crafts, a bake sale and a cake walk. The dinner will be served from 4 to 7 p.m. and will include chicken casserole or ham, vegetables, salads, rolls, pies and drinks. A freewill offering will be received, with proceeds going to United Methodist Women missions.
• Wanamaker Woods Church of the Nazarene, 3501 S.W. Wanamaker, will show the film "Let There Be Light" at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, April 14. Tickets cost $8 in advance or $10 the day of the show. Advance tickets are available at the church or by calling (800) 965-9324 or www.iTickets.com/FFN. For more information, call (785) 273-2248.
• Christian music acts Skillet and For King & Country will perform in the "Joy Unleashed" tour at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 14, at the Kansas Expocentre, S.W. 19th and Topeka Boulevard. Tickets start at $15. For information, visit www.ksexpo.com.
• The 53rd annual Blintze Brunch and Jewish Cultural Fair will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, April 22, at Temple Beth Sholom, 4200 S.W. Munson.
• St. John's Lutheran Church, 901 S.W. Fillmore, will have its 60th annual smorgasbord for missions from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 24. The menu will include chicken breast, baked ham, barbecue meatballs, jello salad, potato salad, cole slaw, cottage cheese, pie, rolls and coffee. The cost is $10 for adults, $4 for children ages 6 to 12 and free for children under 6. Tickets may be purchased at the door. Proceeds go to Lutheran Hour Ministries, Children's Christian Concern Society, the Topeka Rescue Mission, Doorstep, the Lutheran Laymen's League Rose Bowl Parade and Topeka Lutheran School.
• The Elegant Clutter upscale sale will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 5, at Elmont United Methodist Church, 6635 N.W. Church Lane.