When Deacon Miriam Dean Pratt disappeared on Sept. 20, 1999, her family and friends knew something bad had happened to her. It was unlike her to just up and leave, without letting anyone know where she was. Then, on Jan. 19, 2000, her body was found in her car in a South Dade canal.
On Sept. 1, Pratt’s church, the Church of the Ascension, dedicated the Miriam Dean Pratt Community Center in her honor. The Right Rev. Leo Frade, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida and the Right Rev. Calvin Schofield, retired Bishop, shared the honor of bestowing blessings and officially cutting the ribbon to the new center.
According to Yvonne Parchment, a member of the church and Prattt’s friend, the honor befit Pratt, a founding member of the church who was ordained as a deacon in 1986. Parchment said it was Pratt’s "passionate interest and dream" to establish a community center to cater to the needs of the residents in the Richmond Heights and South Dade areas.
"Deacon Pratt has secured for herself a special place in the annals of our church," Parchment said. "She led the parish in the areas of Christian Education, the Affirmative Aging Ministry, Community Outreach Services to the Elderly, the Prison Ministry and to COPE Center, South. ... Her labor on behalf of the poor, needy, desolate and underserved members of the South Miami-Dade community has been widely recognized and acclaimed."
The new center is at the Church of the Ascension, 11201 SW 160th St.
The 116th anniversary celebration continues at the Historic Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church, with the Rev. Dr. Ralph M. Ross preaching at the 10 a.m. worship service on Sunday. Ross has been the spiritual leader of the church for the past 22 years.
The order of service will include music by Mt. Zion Mass and Youth Choirs and will feature soloists Theodore Harrell Jr., Carla Demps and Rea Hughes.
On Sept. 30, the Hon. John Marks, mayor of Tallahassee, will preach at the 10 a.m. worship service, completing the month-long anniversary celebration. Marks is a native Miamian and a former member of Mt. Zion. The worship service will be conducted by Mt. Zion’s Men in Ministry. Everyone is invited to the closing of the anniversary celebration. For more information call 305-379-4147. The church is at 301 NW Ninth St. in Overtown.
Forum on ‘Stand Your Ground’ law
A community forum on the question, "Should ’Stand Your Ground’ be Repealed?" will be from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Friday at the Biscayne Gardens Civic Association Hall, 15000 N. Miami Ave.
Hosted by Miami First Church of the Brethren, the program will include community leaders such as state Rep. Joe Gibbons, D-Hallandale Beach, who will address the question.
The forum is in conjunction with Peace Day (formerly the International Day of Prayer for Peace) and will be observed by many churches and other groups throughout the United States. In addition to a panel of speakers, the program will include discussion from the audience.
At 10:30 a.m. Sunday, the Miami First Church of the Brethren will have its worship service at Oak Grove Park, at the corner of Northeast Sixth Avenue and 159th Street. Pastor Ray Hileman will speak on the topic, "God’s Answer to Violence". Visitors are welcome. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 305-962-0138.