Galveston’s 36th annual Island Oktoberfest will run from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Oct. 27 and again from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Oct. 28 on the grounds of and streets adjacent to First Lutheran Church, 24th and Winnie. Admission is free with attendees welcome to dress German. The festival will feature continuous live entertainment on two stages, authentic German food and libations, fine arts, crafts and gifts, an exciting auction, fun family and expanded children’s activities and much more.

“There is excitement in the air as members of our church prepare,” organizer Marilyn Haupt said. “Friends, new and old, will gather in the shadow of the church for this joyous event. The atmosphere will be filled with the sights, smells, and sounds of Germany. The tents will be filled with laughter as folks enjoy beer, wine, warm strudel, sausage with sauerkraut and a plethora of fried treats. The children’s area has been extended to bring delight for all ages. Omm-pah music will fill the air throughout the day and will continue into the night turning the streets into our dance floor. Come join us.”

For details, call 409-762-8477.

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Chaplain Karen Parsons, who has long led Galveston’s Seafarers Center, has just come back from attending an international congress which was focused on slavery and human trafficking in the fishing industry. She shared some of what she learned with Faith Focus.

“For well over a century Galveston County has been home to local fishers, shrimpers, and oystermen,” Parsons said. “Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico have not only been a source of income for hundreds of families in our communities, but also a source of food for thousands more. The commercial fishing industry continues to be one of the most dangerous industries on earth. Commercial fishing has a fatality rate of 29 times higher than the national average. Slave labor is sometimes used to keep prices down and profits high.”

She also offered one helpful action item for our good readers along these lines.

“Consumers who consistently buy from local fishers help to alleviate the global epidemic of slavery on the high seas involving fishing vessels and seafood-processing factory ships,” Parsons said.”

For details, call 409-762-0026.

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Galveston’s Chosen Ones Outreach Ministries is collecting turkeys for the needy now until Nov. 1.

“We would like to help the victims of hurricane Harvey have a happy Thanksgiving season,” said the Rev. Edward Lawson, its executive director. “Your donation of turkeys will help make that happen. If you would like to bring some sort of normalization to these hurting, struggling families, it will not only bless them, you too, will be blessed.”

For details or donations, call 409-497-2138.

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Update: For well over a century pundits have declaimed college professors as the bane of any faith. Movies like “God is not dead” have portrayed a wily philosophy professor gleefully bent on destroying the faith of incoming freshmen. But it turns out such efforts may be too late to produce the perceived impact.

Though stereotypical angry atheist professor surely has some foundation in reality, recent headlines, based on a number of new surveys, reveal that disengagement from organized religion is instead occurring among the young before they reach college age.

Details can be found online by searching for the story, “College professors aren’t killing religion, but college degrees certainly aren’t helping,” by Daniel Cox, published in the online magazine FiveThirtyEight.

Events for Faith Focus should be submitted at least two weeks in advance.

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