I don’t know if I said “thank you’ to my many friends who read my columns religiously each week, often sending me feedback.
While some of you disagree with my views (that’s OK), I appreciate that you take the time to “read me” for the more-than-30 years I have written for the Neighbors section. I started writing for Neighbors in 1980. Before then, I was a general assignment reporter (1970) on the City Desk. Later, I covered the school beat and, along with Adon Taft, religion. Afterward, I moved to the Living Today section (now called Tropical Life), where I was a feature writer..
You read my issues column that ran on the front page of the Local section for more than four years (1980-85), while I also wrote two columns for the Neighbors section. And you responded. Boy, did you respond. Even before that, you read my Personal Reports in the features section of the paper, while watching my sons grow up.
I have shared so many things with you, dear readers. And in return, you have called or written to me in response. For as long as the good editors here at the Miami Herald will have me, I will keep on sharing with you and, hopefully, you will keep on sharing your thoughts and such with me.
Never miss a local story.
I am so blessed to have you in my life.
GIFT IT FORWARD PROGRAM
The Rev. Martha Shiverick, pastor at Riviera Presbyterian Church wrote me during the Christmas season to let me know of the #RPCGIFTITFORWARD program, in which members of her church gave anonymous gifts to people in the community.
Recently, she wrote to let me know the program was a success, that some people gave gifts in various ways, including gift cards to cashiers at a supermarket to give to shoppers they felt could benefit from them. Some of the members also paid off Christmas lay-aways for shoppers at a department store, while others simply gave away cookies and visited people in nursing homes.
“The member all reported how much they gained from giving others these anonymous gifts,” Shiverick said. The church plans to do a repeat performance next Christmas.
Meanwhile, Shiverick said the church has a new program, which started Sunday, Jan. 10, and will continue at 5 p.m. on the second Sunday of each month at Titanic Brewery. “We are calling it ‘Theology Uncorked’ ... and will join the historical lineage of all aspiring theologians and philosophers by sipping a few suds and solving the worlds problems.”
Also, Riviera will have an outdoor worship service Jan. 31 on the lawn. During the service, there will be a “Blessing of the Animals,” in which every animal blessed will receive a certificate of its blessing. It’s free and open to the public.
Riviera Presbyterian Church is at 5275 Sunset Dr. in Coral Gables.
THE GIFT OF RETREAT
Unity on the Bay invites you to “give yourself the gift of retreat” this weekend from 4 to 10 p.m. on Friday, and from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at the church, 411 NE 21st St.
The retreat facilitators will be the Rev. Elizabeth Longo, the Rev. Chris Jackson, the Rev. Juan del Hierro and Jason Weeks. The focus of the retreat will be on the “wisdom contained in Byron Katie’s book, A Friendly Universe.
According to Weeks, director of Marketing and Technology Ministries at the center, participants will enjoy live music, find peace with Yoga, learn to use affirmative prayer, meditate and journal, work with partners and groups, and experience self-realization and receive Reiki treatment.
Tickets for the retreat are $175 per person and will include breakfast, lunch and dinner and can be purchased online at www.unityonthebay.org/loving-you-retreat or at the Source Bookstore and gifts at Unity on the Bay.
MUSICAL TRIBUTE TO DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.
Temple Beth Sholom will present a “MLK Shabbat — A Musical Tribute to the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” at 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 15, at the temple, 4144 Chase Ave. in Miami Beach.
The program will feature the Chai Notes Adult Choir directed by Alan Caves; Cantor Lisa Segal and Rachael Cain. The Everglades High School Vocal Ensemble directed by Elvin Negron will also appear. Marva Williams will be the guest soloist.
The program is open to the public. For more information call Cantor Segal at 305-538-7231, ext. 136.
DISCUSSION ABOUT WORLD’S RELIGIONS
The Baha’i’s of Miami Dade will have a fireside discussion 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 16, at 9300 S. Dixie Hwy., Suite 209. The topic: “A Symphony of Agreement: The World’s Religions.”
According to Thomas Carsey, a member of the faith, “The event brings together two commemorations: Sunday is World Religion Day, established in the 1950s and is now celebrated worldwide.... And on Monday, we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who visited India in 1959 and learned firsthand of the power of the Hindu ethic of nonviolence,which became the defining feature of his monumental civil rights work.”
At the fireside discussion, “We will consider teachings of the major religions of the wold with respect to peace and the future of civilization, what they have in common and what divided them,” Carsey said.
The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served after the discussion. For more information call 305-915-7247 or visit MiamiBahai.org.
On Jan. 31, the Baha’is will host a Community Devotional at 10:30 a.m. at the center.
39TH ANNUAL LEBANESE FESTIVAL
The community is invited to the 39th annual Lebanese Festival at Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. Jan. 29, 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Jan. 30, and noon to 11 p.m. Jan. 31. The three-day celebration will be at the Abraham Banquet Hall at 2055 Coral Way.
According to information from Our Lady of Lebanon, “South Florida and Lebanon share a special bond. In fact, Miami and Beirut are sister cities and the festival is the cornerstone of that relationship.”
The festival will feature live music, Lebanese cuisine, Lebanese folkloric dances, artisanal market, Lebanese homemade sweets market, Middle Eastern market, hookah bar and a gift shop.
Everyone is welcome. For more information, call Aleen Sirgany at 305-972-0257.
STATUE OF OUR LADY OF FATIMA PILGRIM RECEPTION
A solemn reception of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima Pilgrim begins 5:45 p.m. Friday, Jan. 15. At 6:20 p.m. there will be rosary with meditations, followed at 7 p.m. with a Mass and sermon followed by prayers of Fatima.
At 9 a.m. on Saturday, there will be benediction and 15 decade rosary with meditations (confessions). At 10 a.m., there will be a Diaconal High Mass (of the Immaculate Heart of Mary ) and sermon, followed by lunch at 11:45 a.m.
At 12:45 p.m., a conference will be held, followed by Devotion to Seven Sorrows and Prayers of Fatima. A candlelight procession will be 6 p.m. The closing ceremony will begin 9 a.m. Sunday, with benediction and rosary (15 decades) and Diaconal High Mass at 10 a.m. All are welcome.
The events will be held at the Shrine of Saint Philomena, 1621 SW Sixth St., Miami.
BETH TORAH SISTERHOOD BINGO BRUNCH
The Beth Torah Sisterhood will have its annual Bingo Brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Jan. 24 in Beth Torah’s Nacron Chapel, 20350 NE 26th Ave. in North Miami Beach. The cost is $15 in advance if received by Jan. 21 at Beth Torah, and $20 at the door.
One free card to everyone. Additional cards will be available for purchase.
YVES CONGAR AWARD AT BARRY UNIVERSITY
Walter Brueggemann will be awarded the 2016 Yves Congar Award for Theological Excellence, and will also speak on “The Gospel in an Economy of Extraction” at 7 p.m. Jan. 20 at Barry University, Andreas Building, Room 112. The address is 11300 NE Second Ave.
Brueggemann will consider the biblical testimony to an alternative economy in the midst of a predatory political economy that recurs in Scripture and in the contemporary world. The lecture will resonate with the powerful witness of Pope Francis concerning wealth, power, and those left behind, according to a press release.
Brueggemann is the William Marcellus McPheeters Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary and is a past president of the Society of Biblical Literature. He is an author and an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ and his books include, Psalms:New Cambridge Bible Commentary, Sabbath as Resistance and Reality, Grief, Hope. He recently was awarded the Niebuhr Medal from Elmhurst College, his alma mater.
The community is invited to this event.
Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Religion Notes, c/o Neighbors, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Doral, FL 33172 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.