Community Voices

Neighbors in Religion: Baptist church’s Mother Temple to celebrate her 100th birthday

Mother Clara Mae Temple turns 100 years old on Aug. 29, 2015.
Mother Clara Mae Temple turns 100 years old on Aug. 29, 2015.

It is a blessed day when we live to see another birthday. In the case of Mother Clara Mae Temple, on Aug. 29, God willing, she will have lived to see her 100th birthday. That’s 36,500 days she has been blessed to be on this earth. That’s a lot of sunrises and sunsets and all the time in between.

According to those who know her, Mother Temple (as she is affectionately called) has not lived her life in vain. To her, each day mattered and she lived so that others would want to be like her, said Valerie Person-Baker.

“She and my mother were great friends, so I have known her all my life and nothing can rise above the experience of knowing this woman of God,” Person-Baker said. “She has always been a woman of grace and style, a woman of class and a woman who was not afraid to give you sound advice. In short — she is a jewel; the kind of woman that other women should emulate.”

Mother Temple was born Aug. 29, 1915, on a farm in Mount Andrew, Alabama. She enjoyed farm life with her four other siblings. She still remembers the warm, loving moments with her mother in the kitchen of their home, where they would spend hours cooking, baking and sharing girl talk.

Church was her life from an early age, and church is where she met Lee Temple, who would become the love of her life. Mother Temple remembers the day she first saw him and says he had his eye on her from the beginning. She remembers him telling her that when he saw her he said to himself, “Gee, that is one beautiful young lady!’

They courted for a few months and on Dec. 27, 1936, they were married. Later, they became the parents of five — Robert, Clara, Ozzie, and Lee Jr. The couple were married for 55 years when he passed in 1992.

In the early 1950s, the Temples moved to Miami, where they joined New Hope Baptist Church in Northwest Miami-Dade, then led by the Rev. James Brown. Church life meant a lot to Mother Temple and she learned that she could best serve as a usher. She has also served as a deaconess, and has been church mother for more than 30 years.

Over the years, she and Lee were known for their loving gestures of reaching out to the community, especially to those who were sick or shut-in.

“They fed the homeless, and offered rides to and from church or the grocery store to those who didn’t have transportation,” said their daughter, Clara Edgecomb-Williams. “When Dad could no long drive, our mother would make phone calls, offering words of encouragement.”

Until recently, Mother Temple was a frequent walker at Moore Park. She called the park her “golf course.” And it was while she was walking that she met many people in the community, shared conversations a with politicians and those seeking office. Moore Park, she said, was a place where she could exercise her body and her voice.

“She loves children and said she doesn’t believe in sparing the rod nor spoiling the child,” said Edgecomb-Williams. “Her famous line was, ‘This will hurt me, more than it hurts you,’ as she put the switch to us. She always believed in discipline with love, not only to her children, but also to the many children who were entrusted in her care while their parents worked.”

Roy Owens can attest to Mother Temple’s loving discipline. He has known her since he was a child. “She was very good friends with my mother Elease Owens, who died in 1989. I remember the times she used to ride to church with us and she and my mother would huddle in the back seat and share stories about their children. They always had a lot to talk about. She would always ask me, ‘Did you clean your room?’ When she asked me that question, I knew my mom had been talking about me to her,” Owens said with a chuckle. “She is 100 years old and she still remembers that she used to ask me that question.”

Owens said Mother Temple was a person who always has something positive to say. “And she still loves to dress up. She always stood out. She was so proud to serve as an usher in the church. And she was proud to be a mother, believed in bringing them to church because she wanted her children to have a good understanding about who God is,” Owens said.

Today, she is still an “awesome baker,” said Edgecomb-Williams. “She makes her cakes and icing and filing from scratch. And she is well known and sought after for her chocolate, caramel and coconut cakes. And she also bakes a mean mango bread and pecan pie.”

A 100th birthday celebration for Mother Temple will be at 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 30, at Ensueno Banquet Hall, 4686 W. Fourth Ave. in Hialeah.

For more information on the celebration call Mother Temple’s daughter, Clara, at 305-633-5650.

Special Mass on Saturday

The community is invited to a special Mass for the consecration of Miami-Dade County to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29, at St. Mary Cathedral, 7525 NW Second Ave.

The Mass is organized by the Mission for the Love of God Worldwide and the invitation comes from Archbishop Thomas Wenski and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez.

According to a news release from the Archdiocese of Miami, “When we consecrate ourselves to God, a pact is established between the Father and His child/children. It is an act that will never be broken by god, but one that is our responsibility to uphold. It is a bond of love and protection and is a personal offering of ourselves and everything we have to Almighty God. It is a total surrender and entrustment of our lives.” The statement is from the words of the late John Rick Miller, founder of Mission for the Love of God Worldwide.

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Genealogical research

The third presentation of “Do You Know Who You Are” or “Tracing My Ancestry to King David” will be presented by El Saraiva Grangeiro from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 30, at Temple Beth Tov Ahaavat Shalom, 6438 SW Eighth St. in West Miami.

Grangeiro has done extensive genealogical research on his family and has been able to trace his family back to King David of the Bible. His presentation includes more than 30 illustrated panels that will be on display.

In addition, Genie Milgrom will speak on researching Crypto Jewish roots and Crypto Jewish genealogy, and Marcia Finkel will speak on using technology for genealogical research. Milgrom and Finkel are members of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Miami.

Refreshments of fresh fruit, pastries and hot/cold beverages will be served. Admission is $5 per family. Call 305-205-3846 for more information.

Women’s health issues

Women of all faiths are invited to the meeting of Church Women United, to be at 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 3 at Ebenezer United Methodist Church, 2001 NW 35th St.

The program will focus on women’s health issues. Lunch will be served following the program . The cost is $7 per person.

Democratic Black Caucus

You are invited to hear Benjamin L. Crump, who will be the keynote speaker for the South Dade Democratic Black Caucus at a program entitled, “Advancing the Cause for Equal Justice.”

The event is geared to helping improve community dialogue on criminal and social justice.

Crump is a civil rights attorney and is known for his vigorous representation of the families of Trayvon Martin of Miami Gardens, Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri, and Martin Lee Anderson of Panama City, Florida.

The event will be at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 28, at Embassy Suites, Miami International Airport Hotel, 3974 NW S. River Dr. Tickets are $60 each. For tickets and more information call Daisy Black at 305-754-6141.

School named for Ayers

The memory of the late Georgia Jones Ayers will be honored at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 29, at a renaming ceremony of the Allapattah Middle School to the Georgia Jones Ayers Middle School.

The school is at 1331 NW 46th St. in an area that was once known to blacks as Railroad Shop. It is also the area where Ayers once lived.

The ceremony will begin with a short parade starting from Charles Hadley Park, 1350 NW 50th St, to the school. The program will be in the school’s auditorium, followed by the unveiling of the school’s marquee bearing the new name.

The community is invited.

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.