For the Rev. Dr. Mike Campbell, becoming the new senior pastor at Old Cutler Presbyterian Church is kind of like coming home.
Old Cutler is where he and his college sweetheart, Keren, were married in 1987. And in 1992, after graduating with a master’s of divinity degree from Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, the Campbells moved back to Miami and Old Cutler is the place they decided to call their spiritual home.
On July 26, Campbell preached his first sermon as the new senior pastor at Old Cutler and it seems like he has come full circle.
“I’m thrilled to be back. This is the church that I was a member of before I went into the ministry,” Campbell said.
His plans for the church are a continuation of what it has done for years: “We want to continue to be a church that has a heart for the city and one that loves on our neighbors in the Palmetto Bay area. We already have a number of important ministries. One of them is our Little Disciples Preschool, which is ranked in the top five of such schools in the state. And we want to continue to have dynamic worship that has meaningful messages.
George Brown, who was on the search committee that brought Campbell back to Old Cutler as senior pastor said, “We are really happy he is here and we think he’s going to have a great ministry. I’ve known him since 1994. He is a great preacher and he will be a great pastor.”
Campbell who is originally from Bluefield, Virginia, earned his bachelor’s degree in Bible and Religion from King College in Bristol, Tennessee. It was there he met Keren Thompson. Her parents, Dr. Walford and Jenness, are former members of Old Cutler Presbyterian and her dad has served as an elder there.
After moving back to Miami in 1992, Campbell worked five years with Ministries in Action, a nondenominational mission agency focused on the Caribbean Islands and Latin America. There, his primary responsibility was as director of Project Ebenezer, which sent short-term mission teams to churches throughout the Caribbean. During that time, he also taught an adult Sunday school class and served for a time as a ruling elder.
In 1997, he became the pastor at Pinelands Presbyterian Church in Cutler Ridge. During the seven years he served there, the church went through a time of growth and revitalization, including the building of a new sanctuary. Then, in 2004, the Campbells, which now included their three children - Katherine, Matthew and Elisabeth, moved to Jackson, Mississippi, where he became the organizing pastor and later the senior pastor of Redeemer Church PCA. Under his leadership. the church grew into a strong and vibrant multiethnic congregation.
While at Redeemer Church, Campbell helped launch the church’s urban Christian elementary school, The Redeemer School, which provides Christian education to underprivileged children in Jackson. He still serves on the board of the school and is presently involved in helping Redeemer plan a new church in Midtown, an inner-city area of Jackson.
Gearing up for season
During the lazy summer months, many activities almost come to a standstill, as choirs cease to have rehearsals and take vacations, and other ministries shut down until after Labor Day.
At Riviera Presbyterian Church, 5275 Sunset Dr., a summer slowdown also happened. But like at many other churches, Pastor Martha Shiverick said “excitement and energy are in the air as choir return to their weekly practices and Sunday schools gear up.” She said plans are being made for all the new programs that will be put in place this fall to build fellowship within Riviera Church.
Building on the success of Riviera’s monthly Friday evening socials this summer, the church will continue in October with its “Third Friday” evening events which include movies and art classes, she said.
“God calls us to be stewards of what we have been given and that includes the health of our bodies,” Shiverick said. “So, a ‘Running/Walking Club will start in September to gear up for the Miami ZooRun 5K on Nov. 14. To kick off the running club, we are now collecting used running shoes to be donated to people who have none.”
Shiverick also said the church was the recipient of a grant that allowed them to hire Daniel Morales as a post graduate intern. He graduated last spring with a master’s of divinity from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago and is a ministry candidate at the Presbyterian church. He will be commissioned during the 11 a.m. worship service on Aug. 23. The service will be followed by a luncheon in Morales’ honor.
The Aug. 23 worship service will also include the blessing of backpacks and briefcases. “We will also be blessing 60 backpacks to be given to the three kindergarten classes at Frances Tucker Elementary School. Each backpack has been filled with the necessary school supplies for the students,” Shiverick said.
‘Tribal Lands’ discussion
The community is invited to hear Tamar Weissman, a lecturer and tour guide, as she discusses her new book, Tribal Lands — The Twelve Tribes of Israel at 7:15 p.m. on Aug. 20 at Young Israel of Kendall.
In her book, Weissman takes an original look at the relationship between the 12 tribes of Israel and their biblical allotted territories and provides a unique perspective by connecting tribal personalities with their ancestral lands and modern day Israel.
The lecture is free. Young Israel of Kendall is at 7880 SW 112th St. Weissman’s book will be available for sale. Following the program, light refreshments will be served.
For more information call Robin Denison at 305-510-8664.
Part Three of the Sistah-to-Sistah Connection series, “Transforming Your Mind: Experiencing Total Wholeness,” will be from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Aug. 8, in Suite 204 of the Parkway Professional Building, 6151 Miramar Pkwy.
The Sistah-to-Sistah Connection was organized when Evangelist Gigi Rolle-Holloway said she answered the call from God to reach out ad help hurting women.
“Many women are weighed down with emotional baggage. god wants them to know that the time has come for His daughters to rise up and overcome their past and live a more productive and prosperous life.” She said that through the “power of forgiveness,” women can become spiritually strong and release the pain of their past through acceptance.
For more information about the meetings call 754-888-9968 or go to the website: sistahtosistahconnection.com.
Arturo O’Farrill at Summer Concert Series
The final concert of the 2015 Summer Concert Series presented by the Community Arts Program at Coral Gables Congregational United Church of Christ, 3010 De Soto Blvd., will be 8 p.m. Aug. 13 featuring Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Octet.
O’Farrill, is the 2015 Grammy winner for Best Latin Jazz Album and is a pianist, composer, and educator. He is referred to as the leader of the “first family of Afro-Cuban Jazz” and is the son of the late composer Chico O’Farrill.
General admission tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door, and patron tickets are $50 in advance and $55 at the door. To order, call 305-448-7421, ext. 153.
Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Religion Notes, c/o Neighbors, 2000 NW 150th Ave., Suite 1105, Pembroke Pines, FL 33028, fax it to 954-538-7018 or email email@example.com. Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.