Community Voices

Neighbors in Religion: The Rev. Arnold Perry to retire from both South Miami and St. Mark’s Lutheran churches

The Rev. Arnold Perry, who retires from both South Miami Lutheran Church and St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Coral Gables.
The Rev. Arnold Perry, who retires from both South Miami Lutheran Church and St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Coral Gables.

After the Rev. Arnold Perry preaches his farewell sermon at 9 a.m. Sunday at South Miami Lutheran Church, 7190 SW 72nd St., he will have to do a repeat performance at 11 a.m. at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 3930 LeJeune Rd. in Coral Gables.

You guessed it: Perry will retire as pastor of the two churches.

“He made it seem very easy,” said Mary Pohl, church administrator at South Miami Lutheran. “He came over here in 2009, and made us feel like he was our full-time pastor. He’s a very loving and caring man and he has done a wonderful job.”

Perry was ordained in 1971 in Wisconsin and came to Miami as director of the Lutheran Parish of Miami-Dade County in 1980. He served in that capacity until 1985, when he accepted the call to be the pastor of St. Mark’s. Then, in 2008, he was asked to be the interim pastor at South Miami Lutheran.

Since then, Perry has served both churches as senior pastor. Now, it’s time to say farewell and just spend some time “doing nothing really well,” Perry said with a chuckle.

Since coming to Miami, Perry has been very active in community affairs. He served as dean of the Dade-Monroe Conference, Florida Bahamas Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America for three terms and as chaplain for the Coral Gables Police and Fire departments, as well as West Miami Police.

In addition, Perry is a past president of the Junior Orange Bowl Committee; Coral Gables Country Club; Rotary Club of Coral Gables; Coral Gables People to People; Christian Community Service Agency board of directors; and Coral Gables Citizens Crime Watch, to name a few.

His awards for community involvement are many and include Citizen of the Year in 1988, 1989 and 2013; Fraternal Order of Police (the award is now named in his honor), the Mildred McDonald Award in 1992. In 1992, the city of Coral Gables proclaimed Dec. 13, 2011, as “Rev. Arnold Perry Day.”

So, while he is getting ready for a well-deserved retirement, Perry said he has no plans to leave Miami.

Perry is 71. He and his wife, Eunice, who recently retired from the University of Miami, have been married 48 years and are the parents of four and the grandparents of nine.

“We are going to stay in Miami because it’s cold everywhere else,” he said. “We have a little place in the North Carolina mountains that we will spend a bit more time in. But we have lived here for 35 years and we like it here.”

When his retirement becomes official on May 31, Perry said he will have been a pastor for “44 years and one day.”

And while he isn’t looking for anything to do in retirement, he said he will continue his volunteer work as a chaplain. “When they call me I will go and do whatever I can. But I am not looking for a job.”

The community is invited to both services to wish Perry well in his retirement.

Immanuel Lutheran Church celebrates centennial

Congratulations to Immanuel Lutheran Church on the occasion of its 100th anniversary!

It was on May 6, 1915, that 23 founding members signed the charter for the organization of Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church at the Halcyon Hotel in downtown Miami. The following year, the congregation bought property at Northwest Fifth Avenue and Fourth street. In 1922, its first sanctuary was dedicated.

The congregation remained there until 1958, when the property was sold to Trinity C.M.E. Church, an all-black congregation that still occupies the sanctuary.

The Immanuel congregation built a new facility at its present location, 1770 Brickell Ave., in 1961.

According to church history, “Much has changed in Miami over these 100 years. Our congregation is no longer an ethnically Swedish congregation. Today, we represent the city of Miami. Still, we share the same passion as those first members — to be faithful to Christ and His mission.”

At 11 a.m. Sunday, the Rev. Joseph Combs, pastor of Immanuel, and the entire church family invites the community to “share our joy as we celebrate 100 wonderful years.” The Rt. Rev. Robert Schaefer, Lutheran bishop, will be there to share in the celebration.

Pastor installed at Riviera Presbyterian Church

Congratulations to the Rev. Martha M. Shiverick, who was installed as pastor of Riviera Presbyterian Church on April 19.

Shiverick described the installation service as “almost a wedding, where the congregation and the pastor pledge themselves and make vows to each other.”

The pastor arrived at the congregation in March. Before her formal installation, Shiverick told the congregation that until then she and the congregation had only been “engaged” to each other. Now they are fully committed.

Members of the local Presbytery and members from the Presbytery in Northeastern Ohio, where Shiverick last served, took part in the installation service. The Rev. Dr. Richard Clewell preached the charge to the congregation and the newly installed pastor.

Salvation Army luncheon on May 12

Make your reservations by May 4 if you plan on attending the Salvation Army’s 2015 Appreciation Luncheon, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. May 12 at the Coral Gables Country Club, 997 N. Greenway Dr.

The luncheon is for partners, donors and volunteers and those who would like to become more acquainted with the work that the Salvation Army does in the Miami area.

To RSVP, call 305-637-6714 by May 4.

‘Jews from Arab Lands’ discussion

In the 1940s, nearly a million Jews — those of North African, Middle Eastern and Iranian decent — were expelled or forced to leave their homes. Not only did they lose their citizenship when they were uprooted from their communities, within a half-century, the uprooted Jews had nearly all but disappeared from their ancestral homes.

As refugees, they managed to relocate and integrate in new societies around the world, including France.

Today, more than 80 percent of French Jewry is Sephardic. At 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Dr. Henry Green, a noted expert on Sephardic Jewry, will discuss issues Sephardi Jews face in France.

The program will also include a segment on “Jews from Arab Lands: Charlie Hebdo and the New Face of Anti-Semitism.” Coral Gables attorney and civil rights advocate Khurrum Wahid will also appear on the program. The event will be in Kaplan Hall on the campus of Temple Israel of Greater Miami, 137 NE 19th St.

2015 Right Connection Association convention

Jesus People Ministries Church International, 4055 NW 183rd St. in Miami Gardens, will host the 2015 Right Connection Association convention May 5, 6 and 7 at the church.

Morning sessions will be at 10 a.m. on May 6 and 7. Evening sessions will be at 7:30 p.m. on May 5, 6 and 7.

Speakers will include Dr. Gloria Williams, pastor of the church, and guest speakers Dr. Creflo Dollar, Dr. Samuel Chand and Dr. Mark Chironna. Special music will be performed by Vicki Yohe and Maurette Brown Clark.

The Right Connection convention is a leaders’ fellowship for pastors, ministers, church and business leaders and entrepreneurs.

Church Women United meeting

Church Women United invites women of all faiths to attend the meeting of May 7 at New Covenant Presbyterian Church, 4300 NW 12th Ave.

The forum starts at 10:30 a.m. The program for this meeting is “May Friendship Day.” The meeting will be followed by a tea party. Ladies, if you go, feel free to bring or wear a hat.

It’s free.

Lag B’Omer celebration in West Miami

Temple Beth Tov Ahavat Shalom, 6436 SW Eighth St. in West Miami, will celebrate Lag B’Omer from 1 to 3 p .m. Sunday. The event will include a barbecue, music, children’s activities and a raffle.

All are welcome.

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 Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.