It was truly a happy birthday for the beloved Bishop Walter H. Richardson of The Church of God Tabernacle in Liberty City, who was honored Sunday with a special worship service, followed by a luncheon in honor of his 93rd birthday at the Don Shula Hotel and Spa in Miami Lakes.
Although Richardson’s birthday is actually Tuesday, Jan. 5, the birthday committee and church trustees decided to have the celebration on Jan. 3 so members of out-of-town churches could attend. The bishop was especially pleased when he saw M.L. Carstarphen, a member who lives in Alabama, who drove down just for the occasion.
At 93, Richardson could pass for a man years younger. And Sunday, he looked handsome in a dark suit, red vest and tie. His older son, the Rev. Dr. Walter T. Richardson, served as the master of ceremonies, and special music was performed by M. Chenise Pompey, Geronnia Figgs and Ashley Barnes.
The younger Richardson told of how all his father’s brothers died on or before their 79th birthdays. “When Daddy woke up on his 80th birthday, he was a happy man. He always thought he would die before he was 80, just as his brothers had,” he said. The bishop is one of two siblings left of a family of 10 children. His younger sister, Mildred Richardson, 88, lives in North Carolina.
Although the audience sang the birthday song to him, at the end of the celebration, Bishop Richardson — who still has a wonderful tenor voice — decided to sing the birthday song to himself, ending it on a high note to the delight of the audience. When you are 93, you can do as you please.
In his remarks, the bishop thanked everyone for coming and especially his wife, Betty, for being so loving and patient with him.
My wish for you, dear bishop, is for God to keep on blessing you to be the spiritual light that you are in the community, and that you will see many more healthy and happy birthdays.
UNIVERSAL TRUTH CENTER PRAYER VIGIL
The Universal Truth Center for Better Living, 21310 NW 37th Ave., Miami Gardens, will have its first prayer vigil of 2016 with six, one-hour sessions starting 6 a.m. Jan. 16. The theme for the vigil is peace.
According to a press release, the center hosts four prayer vigils throughout the year and sees them as an opportunity for individuals to pray in a comfortable group setting and with collective consciousness to align themselves with the power and presence of the Lord.
A leader will conduct a short prayer at the beginning of each session, and individuals may then pray quietly using the spiritual material provided, or with any material they may bring. If you go, you’re asked to arrive a few minutes before the beginning of each session in order to get settled before the prayer session starts.
The prayer vigil starts as 6 a.m. and the last session will start at 11 a.m. and end at noon.
It’s free, but offerings are accepted. Call 305-624-4991 or visit uthurthcenter.org for more information.
If you want to become a member of The Universal Truth Center, there will be a new member orientation at 9 a.m. Jan. 16.
At 10 a.m. Jan. 17, the center will have Spiritual Baptism and Christening for babies and children. If you have a baby or a child to be christened, call the center.
CLASS TO DISCUSS SPECIAL PLACE TORAH HOLDS
An adult education class, “Did God Reveal the Torah at Mount Sinai? A Dialogue,” will be presented at 7 p.m. Feb. 1 at Temple Judea, 5500 Granada Blvd., Coral Gables.
The dialogue will be led by Rabbis Peter Knobel and Sam Kenner, and will focus on the special place that the Torah has in religious consciousness, looking at both classical and modern interpretations.
Knobel is a familiar figure at Temple Judea, having served as the interim rabbi 2013-14. He also served as the spiritual leader of Beth Emet The Free Synagogue in Evanston, Illinois, starting in 1980, and is still an active teacher and worshiper in that community. Knobel is also a past president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, as well as president of the Chicago Board of Rabbis. He is the author of a number of articles on a wide range of topics, including Jewish bioethics, liturgy and Zionist thought. He also was the chairman of the editorial committee for Mishkan T’Filah prayer book.
Kenner is a native of Nova Scotia, Canada, and moved to the Boston area 32 years ago, before retiring and moving to Miami in 1998. He is a graduate of the Boston University School of Theology, where he has a doctoral degree in pastoral counseling and psychology. In Miami, he teaches and lectures in the fields of history and religion and is the past president of the Institute of Retired Professionals at the University of Miami. He and his wife, Sylvia, are members of Temple Judea.
The class is free but reservations are required; call 305-667-5667.
CHURCH MARDI GRAS DANCE ON FEB. 5
The Church of the Incarnation will present its 58th annual Mardi Gras Dance from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Feb. 5.
The event will be at the Grace United Community Church in the 901 Event and Conference Center, 901 NW 183rd St., Miami Gardens. Music will be performed by DJ John Hodge and the Bahamas Junkanoo Shakers.
Tickets cost $25 for the bring-your-own-food, bring-your-own-bottle event, and can be purchased by calling 305-691-0178 or 305-688-7072.
This is an adult-only event and no one under 21 will be admitted.
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