Community Voices

Neighbors in Religion: Longtime church elder, wife celebrated by sons and community

It was a day of a double celebration June 28 at The Church of God Tabernacle in Liberty City, when Elder Thomas P. Edwards celebrated his 63rd year of preaching the Gospel and 65 years of being married to Missionary Maxine Bullard Edwards. And there was hardly a dry eye in the sanctuary as their two oldest sons, Tommy and Phil, paid tribute to their parents.

Tommy recalled how his dad “got up early every morning, drove several miles to clean someone else’s home and cut their grass” to provide for his family. “And he did it without complaining.”

Phil also remembered the things his dad taught him as a boy. The most touching of his testimony was when he mentioned his mother and the gentle way she chastised them. “Mom, if I haven’t said it before, I want to say it now, ‘Thank, you.’” He then presented her with a bouquet of roses.

The Edwards’ haven’t only been Christian examples to their own children, they have been examples to several generations in the church they have served for nearly 70 years. They have been a model of married love. At 85, Edwards is ever the doting husband to his wife, now 82, still bringing her flowers and opening doors for her.

Now retired, Edwards held a series of domestic-type jobs before becoming one of the Miami-Dade County’s first black bus drivers. His wife was always a stay-at-home mom. They live in the Bunche Park area of Miami Gardens and are the parents of four, and the grandparents and great-grandparents of many.

‘Invisible Soldiers’ screenings

The documentary film The Invisible Soldiers: Unheard Voices, which tells true stories of African-American and other minorities who served in World War II, will be shown twice during July — noon July 11 at Southwest Regional Library, 16835 Sheridan St. in Pembroke Pines, and 12:30 p.m. July 15 at the South Regional Library at 7300 Pines Blvd. in Pembroke Pines.

The film by William Smith, a Baha’i, is winner of best documentary by the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame. It was partly funded by the Baha’i Faith and is being shown in the libraries as a part of America’s Heritage Month celebration. The program is being sponsored by the Baha’i Assembly of Pembroke Pines and is free and open to the public.

Alhambra Orchestra to perform for free

Summertime can be boring to youngsters who don’t seem to have anything to do. But parents, here is a solution: The Alhambra Orchestra, conducted by Timothy Shade, and in collaboration with Riuniti Opera, will present two free performances of scenes and selections from The Tales of Hoffmann by Jacques Offenbach.

At 10 a. m. July 10, there will be a 50-minute just-for-kids performance in collaboration with the Greater Miami Youth Symphony camp at West Miami Middle School, 7525 Coral Way.

Then, at 4 p.m. July 19, Temple Beth Am will co-sponsor a performance for adults and families at the synagogue, 5950 N. Kendall Dr.

The cast of singers will include Beverly Coulter, Eddie Valdes, Steven Bourdeau, Enrique Estrada, Jared Peroune, Danielle Sanda, Melissa Ruiz and Stephanie Newman.

The Alhambra Orchestra is a nonprofit community orchestra made up primarily of volunteer musicians. The Riuniti Opera is led by soprano/music educator Beverly Coulter and mentors young opera singers. Each year the two musical groups present a free opera to the community.

No reservations are needed to attend the performances, but large groups or those needing special accommodations should call in advance, 305-668-9260, 305-606-8759; or email, or

Students’ marching band camp

Here is something else to help chase away summertime blues: the second annual South Florida Marching Band Precision Camp takes place July 20-28 at the historic Lyric Theater in Overtown. Presented by the Black Archives History and Research Foundation of South Florida, the camp is designed to develop middle- and high-school students’ level of musicianship, marching band skills, dedication, creativity , pride, life-long friendships, teamwork and overall enjoyment.

Timothy A. Barber, executive director of the Black Archives said, “Last ear’s inaugural camp was a great success. We made an unforgettable impact on over 160 student musicians from the South Florida area and beyond.”

This year the top students from each band have been selected by their band directors to participate in a five-week Leadership Symposium prior to the camp to work on show planning. The program expects to have twice as many campers as last year, Barber said.

Student musicians from Miami-Dade and Broward counties will train under the leadership of some of the best and most respected names in music. Dr. Shelby R. Chipman, a graduate of Northwestern High School and former band director at Miami Central High will be the head camp clinician. Chipman currently serves as an associate professor and director of symphonic bands at Florida A & M University, according to a news release.

The program will culminate with two free public events — a symphonic and ensemble concert on July 26 at the Lyric theater, and a marching band performance on July 28 at Gibson Park in conjunction with the Black Archives.

Registration begins 4 p.m., followed by a parent orientation at 6 p.m. on July 19 at the theater. Regular registration begins 9 a.m. July 20. The cost is $60 per student and includes daily lunch and a band camp T-shirt and hat. To register online, visit: or call 786-708-4610.

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.