"Churches really can work togetherA joint service of seven churches attracted 2,000 people to the South Whidbey High School gymnasium June 18. The event was the first of what local pastors hope will be more such combined efforts.The demonstration of faith was impressive. The churches don't look so formidable when they're divided each Sunday into separate services. And even the June 18 service did not represent all our churches. There were others still doing their own thing, with many hundreds more fine people attending.South Whidbey probably doesn't need a massive church service more than once a year. What it does need is the energy and values represented by those people taking a more active role in the community. Sunday School and church youth groups are fine, but a lot of our youth are being missed. The churches have an essential message that is not being received: faith in something good that is much larger than humanity, something that cares about how each individual conducts himself or herself. Love and responsibility -- these are not the common themes of popular music, movies and Websites.The June 18 service showed our churches can work together. Let's hope they keep it up by joining forces to give our youth plenty of good things to do, along with the strong message of hope that they so desperately need.Have a safe, sane 4th of July weekFireworks go on sale locally on Thursday, an act which officially kicks off the 4th of July season on South Whidbey.Traditionally, it's one of the best times of the year on Whidbey. We have colorful fireworks shooting off from beachfront homes around the island, the official Celebrate American fireworks show fills the Holmes Harbor skies with beauty on July 3, and the folksy Maxwelton 4th of July Parade takes place next Tuesday. As a sort of capper, the Choochokam Festival of the Arts takes over Langley the following weekend.As always, with opportunity for a good time comes danger, especially with fireworks. The weather started out this week hot and dry, and even if the traditional 4th of July rain occurs it likely won't do much to moisten the ground. As we have learned several times in the past, one spark from a misdirected or ill-placed firework can set a house ablaze, and the chances of that happening increase with the temperature.Parents should supervise kids with fireworks every second. Besides fires, there's danger from possible serious burns or, if illegal fireworks are used, explosions that can cause the loss of digits or worse.Let's let our Fire District 3 firefighters and EMTs enjoy the holiday themselves, rather than responding to fires and injuries. The best way to celebrate the 4th is the old fashioned way: safe and sane."

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