Independence Day celebrations scheduled

Mountain View's Shoreline Amphitheater is the location of a free

July 4 is a time much loved by most residents of the United
States. It marks the occasion of the signing of the Declaration of
Independence in 1776, part of the long, painful process of gaining
freedom from England.
July 4 is a time much loved by most residents of the United States. It marks the occasion of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, part of the long, painful process of gaining freedom from England.

I find it ironic that this date is enshrined as an official holy day for the Episcopal Church in the United States, complete with its own prayers and biblical readings in the lectionary of the Book of Common Prayer, perhaps the only American church giving it such prominence.

During the American Revolution, members of the Church of England, the precursor of the Episcopal Church, were considered traitors because their worship services included prayers for the king and some of them supported the royal cause. After the war ended, many of them fled to Canada due to their persecution by the victors.

People enjoy July 4 in many different ways. Traditional activities include viewing patriotic parades, enjoying backyard barbecues and watching exciting fireworks displays. For those who enjoy music, here are two great opportunities to take advantage of this weekend.

Celebrate America is a patriotic music concert to be held Saturday at Shoreline Amphitheatre, 1 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View. Gates open at 4 p.m. There is no admission charge, but a $5 parking fee is required.

There will be a 100-voice choir, orchestra, children’s choir, drama, dance and multimedia presentations.

The Creative Arts Department of San Jose’s Bethel Church has talented musicians and other performers that will honor the U.S. military and “pay tribute to those whose life stories have impacted the freedom we all enjoy.”

The performance begins at 8 p.m., but guests are invited to arrive early to enjoy military displays, a classic car show, video gaming, bungee jumping, a skate park, rock climbing, a petting zoo and an aerial fireworks finale.

For more information, call Bethel Church (1201 South Winchester Blvd.) at (408) 245-6790.

Spirit West Coast, a hugely-popular Christian music festival, is making its 14th annual appearance at the Laguna Seca Recreation Area near Monterey through Saturday. As many as 30,000 fans are expected to be in attendance. Besides music by top artists in the field of Christian music, it features comedy routines, illusionists, Bible-teaching by gifted speakers and activities for all ages.

Among the artists appearing are Newsboys, Third Day, Group 1 Crew and Kutless. Speakers include Matt Pitt, Nick Vujicic and Russell Evans. Comedians Bob Smiley and Ron McGehee will perform, and Strongman Jon Pritikin and Bibleman will entertain the kids.

There are also prayer tents with counselors, evangelism training, new believers’ classes and many worship opportunities. Exhibitors will show art, music, jewelry, clothing, Bibles and posters.

Children are an important focus of the weekend with age-appropriate shows incorporating singing, puppets and juggling.

A special play area called Veggie Land, based on the popular cartoon series, offers activities like games, a petting zoo, clowns, face-painting and crafts.

Spirit West Coast is sponsored by a nonprofit organization, Christian Music Today, dedicated to “presenting the Gospel of Christ.”

Single day admission prices are $62 for adults and $40 for children.

For more information, call (831)443-539 or go to monterey.spiritwestcoast.org.

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