Community Voices

Easter, Passover holidays celebrate faith, heritage of families and friends

The Reverend Dr. Laurinda Hafner, senior pastor of the Coral Gables Congregational United Church of Christ, speaks to her congregation during the donkey parade in celebration of Easter Sunday Week.
The Reverend Dr. Laurinda Hafner, senior pastor of the Coral Gables Congregational United Church of Christ, speaks to her congregation during the donkey parade in celebration of Easter Sunday Week.

If you have been reading this column for a while, you probably already know that the Easter/Passover season is one of my favorite times of the year.

I love Easter because it speaks to my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and the reason that I am a born-again Christian. The Easter season is a time of renewal, of starting over, of forgiveness and newness of life.

I love Passover because it tells of deliverance from bondage; of freedom. And like Easter, it is a time of coming together — of friends and families celebrating their faith and heritage.

These two seasons of celebration didn’t just happen. For reasons we might not understand as mere humans, these two events were instituted by our Heavenly Father. They were a part of His divine plan for humanity.

Why did suffering have to play such a major part in these two events? I don’t know. I just trust God and believe that “all things work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His Purpose.”

Still, we can learn some significant lessons from the stories of Easter and Passover. It is comforting to know that both stories ended in victory, yet before the victories, there was suffering that had to be endured.

As we celebrate Passover, which signifies the victory of the Jewish people being freed from Egypt’s bondage, my prayer is that we will keep in mind that freedom comes with a price. And that none of us is free until all are free.

And as we enter into the darkest part of the Easter season — Good Friday — remember that after the cross comes the resurrection, and with that, comes forgiveness and new life; new beginnings.

‘Way of the Cross’

The community is invited to come to the Good Friday “Way of the Cross” procession starting 8:30 a.m. Friday at the Missionaries of Charity Shelter at 724 NW 17th St. in Miami.

The procession is an event in which Catholics and Christians of all denominations recall the last moments of Jesus Christ before his crucifixion, by reflecting upon the Stations of the Cross as the significance of each.

The procession, which will include Archbishop Thomas Wenski, will wind its way through the streets of Miami, making stops to pray at each Station of the Cross along the way.

For more information about the procession, call 305-762-1236.

Easter Sunday services in three languages

Coral Gables Congregational UCC Church at 3010 De Soto Blvd., will have Easter Sunday services in three languages: English, Spanish and German.

At 7 a.m., there will be an English Sunrise service in the courtyard, followed at 9 a.m. by a bilingual Spanish/English service in the main sanctuary.

At 11 a.m., there will be an English service in the main sanctuary and a 1 p.m. English children’s service in the main sanctuary.

A German worship service will be at 3 p.m. i n the main sanctuary. For more information call 305-448-7421.

‘Treasuring Human Differences’

The Miami Baha’i Center will welcome Professor Gerald Schwartz as its guest speaker at a public Fireside Discussion at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the center, 9300 S. Dixie Hwy, Suite 208, in Kendall. He will lecture on “Treasuring Human Differences while Respecting Equality”.

Said Schwartz: “In the long struggle for human rights, we have learned that we human beings tend to limit good treatment to people similar to ourselves. Accepting differences seems to be a constant challenge to our human nature. It is interesting, however, that over 150 years ago, the teachings of the Baha’i Faith were already counseling not only tolerance, but a celebration of human differences.”

The event is open to all and light refreshments will be served after the discussion. There is no admission charge or solicitation of funds at this event. Call 305-915-7247 or visit for more information.

Women in NAACP luncheon

The Miami-Dade WIN (Women in NAACP) will have its annual membership luncheon at 1 p.m. Saturday at Miami Shores Country Club, 10000 Biscayne Blvd. in Miami Shores.

The program will feature the talent of youth in the community. Tickets are $40 each and may be purchased by calling Robbie Hall, WIN chairwoman at 305-836-6682.

‘Stop the Violence’ basketball tournament

The “Stop the Violence and Bring the Peace” fourth annual basketball tournament will be from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Marva Y. Bannerman Park, 4330 NW 24th Ave. in Miami.

The event will feature free food and drinks, games and entertainment. For information, call Alfred L. Berry, CEO of the Inner City Youth Enrichment Camp, at 786-217-2963.

Enid Pinkney to be honored

My friend Enid C. Pinkney, Ph.D., is truly a community servant. I don’t know of too many worthwhile events that she is not a part of.

Now, Enid, says it’s time to cut back on some of her activities and so she is resigning from the Miami Dade County Historic Preservation Board.

At 9:30 a.m. on April 18, she will be honored by the Miami Dade County Commission in the Commission Chambers for her many years of service to the Historic Preservation Board.

Enid and her husband, Frank, are members of The Church of the Open Door in Liberty City.

Free health screening in Coconut Grove

The Rev. Kenton L. Williams and the congregation of St. James Baptist Church of Coconut Grove, will host a health screening from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 22 at the church, 3500 Charles Ave. in Coconut Grove.

The health screening is being held in conjunction with Baptist Health Systems/Doctors Hospital. There will be free testing for glucose, blood pressure, body circumference and other testing.

The community is invited to this free event.

Women honored at Doral awards luncheon

Congratulations to the women honored at the 71st annual Finer Womanhood Community Fellowship Awards Luncheon, held March 25 at the InterContinental in Doral.

The event was presented by the Beta Tau Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority. The theme: “Zetas Honoring Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business — Celebrating the Extraordinary Contributions of Women Who Provide Perpetual Service to Others in this New Millennium.”

Those honored: Suzan McDowell, president and CEO of Circle of One Marketing; Felecia Hatcher, founder and CEO of Feverish Ice Cream-Pops; Lovette McGill, president of the A. Phillip Randolph Institute’s Miami-Dade Chapter and also vice president-at-large of the South Florida chapter of the AFL-CIO; De’Venya Armstrong, president of Armstrong Creative Consulting Firm; Sandy Valerie Colebrook, radio show host and director of the a cappella group, “Majestic Juniors”; Adrian Foster, president & CEO of Foster Construction of South Florida; and Kat Tynes, editor of the AT&T African American History Calendar and chairwoman of the Miami Gardens Commission for Women.

Also, Arleace Carrion, a member of the sorority was honored as “2017 Zeta of the Year.” The award is presented to the soror who “embodies the highest ideals of the sorority through tireless hours of community service, sisterhood, scholarship and finer womanhood.”

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