Community Voices

Neighbors in Religion: Memorial fund awards $500 scholarships to grads

A Neighbors in religion salute to Alexander Futernick, a recent graduate of Ransom Everglades High School, who won second place in the Miami Herald Business Plan challenge, for his insightful and inspiring speech on Sunday to the graduating seniors at The Church of God Tabernacle in Liberty City.

Futernick, or Zander as he is known to family and friends, started a nonprofit organization geared to teaching the homeless computer skills, thereby enabling them to get employment. the program started locally and now has spread to other states in the nation. He received a standing ovation for his presentation.

Zander was at the church with his grandmother, Taffy Gould, who, along with other family members, started a memorial scholarship fund named for her late grandmother Ethel Goldstein, and my mother the late Ida Belle Johnson. I was 8 when my mom went to work for Mrs. Goldstein, and a loving bond was formed that has lasted through three generations.

On Sunday, Gould presented 25 $500 scholarships to high school graduates who are going to college and to those who are returning to college or entering graduate school. All recipients are connected in some way to my late mom, me, or the church. It was a blessed day, for so many of us.

No vacation for the Lord

For those of you who might think that God “takes a vacation” during the summer months, the Rev. Martha M. Shiverick begs to differ.

Recently she wrote: “On May 17, we celebrated our graduating seniors. On Pentecost Sunday (May 24) our confirmation class joined the church and the Riviera choir sang for the last time until after Labor Day. An outside observer might think that God takes a vacation during these summer months, but that is certainly not the case! “

She said the change in pace allows for a different worship and community experience in the church. “I share with you what is happening at Riviera this summer, hoping that others might do the same. “The theme of worship will be the great Hebrew Bible stories, starting with the Garden of Eden, the story of Esther, through the stories of Ruth, Jonah, and Daniel. Both children and adults will learn the message in these stories and sing some of the great old Bible songs that tell the tale,” she said.

Presbyterians don’t normally sing camp songs like Rise and Shine, and Give God Your Glory, Shiverick said, “but we will when we hear the Noah story. And, on the Friday after we hear the story of Joseph, we will have a Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat sing-a-long with a potluck dinner.”

On Sunday mornings during the summer, there will be a “pick-up choir” comprised of people of any age and ability who want to make “a joyful noise to the Lord.”

“People who do not normally sing solos are encouraged to contact our Minister of Music and step outside of their comfort zone one Sunday! Heck, I might even sing!” Shiverick said.

Shiverick said that as a take-off on the Flat Stanley book character, some churches are giving their parishioners a “Flat Jesus” that they are to take on their summer adventures and travels, and can take pictures of themselves with their cut out. “They are then to email the photos back to the church to be posted on bulletin boards and church web pages.”

Interested churches can go online and look up “Flat Jesus,” and see how many churches around the country are participating. “It’s a great way for churches to stay connected with their parishioners as they travel and a great way to show children that God is with you wherever you are. I guess it is also a fun evangelism tool,” she said.

“So, God is not taking a holiday this summer. In fact, we are really excited about what is happening during the summer at Riviera Church. It’s going to be loads of fun.”

Riviera Church is at 5375 Sunset Dr. in South Miami. The phone number is 305-666-8586.

Calendar tea in West Park

Sure Foundation Ministries Church of God of Prophecy will have a calendar tea at 3 p.m. June 13 at the annex of the Spanish Church of God of Prophecy, 5433 SW 19th St. in West Park (West Hollywood) in Broward County.

For tickets, which are $20 each, and for more information call Maebell Wilson at 305-332-5398.

Summer Indoor Garage Sale

It’s time again for the annual Summer Indoor Garage Sale at Palm Springs United Methodist Church, 5700 W. 12th Ave. in Hialeah.

The garage sale will be held 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 6 and 7, and also June 13 and 14, in the church’s fellowship hall.

My friend Nancy Perez said the doors will open early so you can take advantage of all the bargains. Available for sale will be household goods, clothing, linens, records, videos, baby items, luggage, lamps, pictures, craft supplies, and collectables and antiques.

In the back building (the shed), there will be a large selection of new school and office supplies, old and new books, electrical equipment and items and decorations for all holidays. In Room 9, there will be a large variety of toys and other items for children to enjoy.

Lunch and snack foods will also be for sale. Money raised is used for church work and missions. Call 305-821-3232 or 305-821-2973 for more information. You may also send an email to

Gateway Baptist Vacation Bible School

Gateway Baptist Church at 6500 SW 97th Ave. invites you to its Vacation Bible School from 6:30 to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday, June 12. The VBS will end at 11 a.m. on June 14 with a worship rally to be followed by a free barbecue at noon for VBS families and church members. The barbecue will feature a bounce house, face painting and other games for children.

The theme for the VBS is “Journey off the Map — Unknown to Us, Known to Him” where children ages 4 through fifth grade will become Explorers as they set off on a journey of uncharted territory. Through the program the children will discover that Jesus is the Ultimate Guide in life’s journey that is unknown by them, but known to Him.

Grades 6 through 12 will also experience the “Journey off the Map” with Bible study and special activities just for them, said Faye Amat, VBS director at the church. Parents attending can participate in the adult bible study and can visit the Oasis Cafe while their children are in VBS.

It’s free and open to everyone. For more information call 305-271-1141 or visit the church’s website at:

‘Linking to Latin America’ program

Temple Beth Tov Ahavat Shalom, 6438 SW Eighth St. , will have a special presentation from its “Linking to Latin America” program from 12:15 to 2 p.m. Sunday.

Guest speaker Jaime Teplicki will speak on “Memories of Cuba: A Personal Story.” This is a Men’s Club event and a light lunch will be served. There is no charge but donations are accepted.

Following the event, there will be a short Men’s Club meeting. For more information call Dr. Abe Lavender at 786-261-6892.

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.