The national news just keeps getting worse - every day, there seems to be another shooting, too often with children as the victims.

If ever there was a time to embrace our faith, it is now. Throughout our history, we have had memorable preachers and musicians who focused on our need for faith to sustain us in hard times. Those folks back in the late 1800s and early 1900s wrote some of the most wonderful hymns, and each one has a story.

Here's another of one of my favorites, one that I can never sing enough, "His Eye is on the Sparrow."

The words were written by Civilla D. Martin, a Canadian music schoolteacher who married an evangelist. They were inspired by a visit to an older couple in upstate New York, in 1905.

The couple were both handicapped, but managed to present a happy outlook despite their situation. Civilla asked them how they were able to do so, and was told by the wife, "His eye is on the sparrow, and I know he watches me."

Those words became the seed for the song, and after completing the words, she sent them to famous Gospel composer Charles Gabriel, who set them to music. Not only are the words inspiring, but the melody is just beautiful. Take a look in your church hymnal - you just might find it - and then sing it!

andbull; This morning, the ladies of New Life Community Church will include a Secret Sister revealing party with their 9 a.m. monthly meeting. They will learn who their sisters have been for the past year, and draw the name of their new sister for the coming year. Small gifts and encouragement given anonymously,once a month, and attempts to guess the identity of the giver throughout the year make for fun and fellowship.

Next Sunday, Feb. 10, there will be a Valentine Potluck following the 10:30 a.m. service. Enjoy a good meal and good company. Bring a dish to share if you can.

andbull; Next Saturday, Feb. 9, is the Portuguese Community Valentine Dinner at the St. Joseph Parish Hall.

This one is a tradition, and one of those community favorites. The menu will consist of marinated beef or chicken, roasted potatoes, soup, vegetables, Portuguese Sweet Bread, and dessert. (The bread alone is enough to make the trip worth it!)

Tickets are limited for the two seating times, 6andndash;7:3pm, and 7:30andndash;9 p.m. Cost is $30 for adults, and $15 for kids under 12. They are available at Frank's Refrigeration and Heating.

andbull; Temple Beth Shalom's next Kabbalah class with Rabbi Les Scharnberg will take place next Saturday at 11 a.m. The new location is the office of the Curry Coastal Pilot's conference room in Brookings. There is a separate entrance at the rear of the building on the Art Walk Alley side.

Friday evening, there will be Shabbat services with Rabbi Scharnberg at 7 p.m., also at the Brookings location.

The Easter season is fast approaching, and I know several of our churches have a series of events leading up to Easter Sunday. Many times when I try to call, I get no answer, or get a recording. I want to be sure to mention you. If you can email me your information - at my email address, not the Triplicate's - it will arrive sooner. (I do this column on Thursday evenings for the following Saturday.)

To reach Martha Williams, call 460-3000, or email