Community Voices

Neighbors in Religion: This is what faith is all about

Faith is an awesome thing.

Many of us who profess to be Christians often testify to others about the virtue of having an active faith in the Lord. We like to witness to others, when asked, that it is our faith in God that sees us through the dark and sad times in our life.

I know this to be true now more than ever before. Not only is this the season that my firstborn Pastor James F. Hines Jr. died — Monday was the second anniversary of his death — within the past two months, four of my close relatives (including a cousin who was only 30 and a goddaughter who was only 43) have also died.

So now, during this season of bereavement, some might question: “Do you still have faith in God? If He is so good to you; why would He suffer you to have such an abundance of sadness?”

And my answer is: “The Lord gives and He also takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

It is in tough times like these that a believer’s faith is tested. When we are going through hard times, that’s when we ought to hold on to our faith even tighter and know that God is going to bring us out of the “valley.” And while we are walking through the valley, we have the assurance that the Lord is walking right there beside us, holding our hand.

I believe that it is in the darkest of times that the faith of true believers will be tried. If we hold on to our faith, we will grow stronger. Being a believer doesn’t mean that we won’t ever have to go through trials of any kind. It does mean that we won’t have to go it alone.

Although I shed tears of sorrow when my son and other loved ones died, the one things that has kept me focused is that through it all, God is still good to me. I think of the good times and the joy and the laughter that my loved ones brought me. There is hardly a day that goes by that I don’t think about something one of them did to make me smile or feel good. That’s why I can say over and over that, God does all things well and that He doesn’t make mistakes. My son came to this earth for a certain amount of days. He had a work to do in those days. And although he got off to a slow start, God blessed him to accomplish the job he was sent to do.

So, today, as I meditate on God’s goodness to me and my purpose in life, I can thank Him for the life of each of my loved ones who have died recently. And though I will miss them greatly, I can say as I did when my beloved son died, “God does all things well. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

My friends, that is what faith is all about.

CHURCH OF THE OPEN DOOR

The annual homecoming and revival at the Church of the Open Door will be celebrated Sunday through Wednesday at the church, 6001 NW Eighth Ave., in Liberty City. The theme is “Raining Down of the Holy Spirit: Walking in God’s Obedience.”

The homecoming service will be at 10 a.m. Sunday, and the revival will begin at 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday. The Rev. Perry A. Smith III, retired pastor of First Baptist Church of North Brentwood, Maryland, will be the guest speaker for the event.

Smith was senior pastor of First Baptist for 53 years. He was a Freedom Rider in 1961 and worked with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was arrested 13 times while he was active in in the civil rights movement.

Mt. Tabor Baptist Church Choir will be the guest choir Monday, Florida Memorial Ambassador Chorale will sing Tuesday, and New Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church Choir will sing Wednesday.

The community is invited. Call Deacon Marc T. Henderson at 305-876-7907 for more information.

LUTHERAN CHURCHES LEND HELPING HAND

On Sunday when you see groups of people wearing bright yellow T-shirts and handing out “Hope Totes” to the homeless, assisting in a wildlife rescue shelter, providing activities in a nursing home and rehabilitation center, cleaning a park and beach area and doing landscaping or cleaning at Open House Ministries, you are simply seeing a demonstration of Christian love in action.

The yellow-shirted volunteers will be from several Lutheran churches who will lend a helping hand through the annual “God’s Work, Our Hands Sunday”.

The event is sponsored by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and the volunteers from Christ the King Lutheran and other Lutheran churches in Miami-Dade County “are passionate about making a difference,” said Callie Howland, ministry associate at Christ the King Lutheran, where the Rev. Kathryn H. Carroll is pastor. “Lutherans will be seen in neighborhoods from Homestead to Kendall, and from South Miami and beyond, serving the community,” Howland said.

If you would like your church to participate, go to, www.ctkmiami.org or call 305-665-5063 for more information.

CONTEMPORARY WORSHIP SERVICE AT ST. ANDREW’S EPISCOPAL

The community is welcome to attend a new contemporary worship service to start at noon Sunday at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church at 14260 Old Cutler Road in Palmetto Bay.

If you go, the church invites children and entire families to “come as you are.”

Nancy Tangredi, the church’s communications director, said, “We look forward to starting something new for our community.”

FAMILY AND FRIENDS DAY, DINNER AT GREATER BETHEL AME

You are invited to Greater Bethel AME Church at 245 NW Eighth St. for its annual “Family and Friends Day” and fellowship dinner.

The day will begin at 8:30 a.m. Sunday for church school, followed at 10 a.m. by morning worship.

At noon, there will be a sit-down dinner in the church’s fellowship hall.

All friends and former members of the historic church are invited to the event. The Rev. Willie Cook is pastor and Sister Patricia Wilcox is chairwoman of the Family and Friends Day celebration.

‘OM-SHALOM YOGA’ AT TEMPLE ISRAEL OF GREATER MIAMI

Starting Saturday, Temple Israel of Greater Miami will have “Om-Shalom Yoga” from 10 to 11:15 a.m. in the synagogue’s Wolfson Auditorium, 137 NE 19th St.

The class will be taught by Barbara Jordan, a certified yoga instructor. She began practicing yoga when she was in her early 20s while a university student in Buenos Aires. Jordan also studied body language techniques such as mime and physical theater. She studied dance in a variety of formal and experimental modalities.

Jordan combined her skills, experience and her love of teaching and started her own company that specialized in working with children. She has since relocated to Florida and started her own family but continued to develop techniques to integrate art and movement. In her classes, Jordan practices vinyasa yoga, which is characterized by a gentle flow and rhythm.

The class is free for Temple Israel members and $10 per person for community participants. If you go, bring your own mat or towel. You may make reservations by calling the temple office at 305-573-5900.

MASS FOR TRINIDAD AND TOBACO ANNIVERSARY OF INDEPENDENCE

The annual “Mass of Thanksgiving” for Trinidad and Tobago’s 53rd anniversary of independence will be at 10 a.m. Sunday at Christ the King Catholic Church, 16000 SW 112th Ave. The Rev. Carlyle Fortune of Our Lady of Lourdes, in Maraval, Trinidad, will officiate.

The service will include a second collection for Fortune’s parish in Trinidad. Also participating in the service will be Kay Pierre, musical director from Trinidad, and Kevin Millien, a musician also from Trinidad.

The guest speaker will be Deborah de Rosia, director and founder of Eternal Life Community. A healing service will be at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the church. For more information call or text 305-898-7682 or email, ttcommunity@hotmail.com.

RECHARGE AT UNITY ON THE BAY ‘POWER UP DAY’

If you are feeling sluggish and drained and are drinking more than two cups of coffee in the morning to get going, Unity on the Bay invites you to its “Recharge and Power Up Day” to begin at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at Unity, 411 NE 21st St.

The event is a full day of activities to help recharge and power up spiritual tools for an abundant life, including will, understanding, imagination, enthusiasm, power, love, wisdom, order, strength, life and release.

The cost is $25 per person but free for children. The program will include live music, drumming, shamanic experience, Reikisessions, yoga, art, massage sessions, treasure-mapping, health talks, life coaching, financial wisdom, children’s activities, guided meditations and prayer. At 4 p.m., a special closing concert will be presented by Daniela de Mari and Breath of Life.

Tickets can be purchased at The Source Bookstore and Gifts at Unity or at the door on the day of the event.

FIRESIDE DISCUSSION AT BAHA’I OF MIAMI-DADE

The Baha’is of Miami-Dade will host a Fireside discussion on “The Evolution of Faith” at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Miami Baha’i Center, 9300 S. Dixie, Suite 209.

Thomas Carsey, a scientist, will be the presenter. He said, “Evolution is considered the cornerstone of modern biology. Should change and modification also be a part of mankind’s religious aspirations? Can we study the religions of the world through time as we study the plants, birds or fish? And do the common themes found in the world’s faiths indicate an evolution of faith?”

These questions and themes will be discussed at the event, which will be interactive, and there will be time for open discussion. “Our goal is for everyone to benefit from an investigation of these ideas,” Carsey said. Light refreshments will be served, and there is no admission charge or solicitation of funds. Call 786-472-2240 for more information.

PASTOR’S CARE MINISTRY AT SECOND CAANAN MISSIONARY BAPTIST

The Pastor’s Care Ministry at Second Canaan Missionary Baptist Church at 4343 NW 17th Ave. invites the community to the “100 Women in White” celebration at 3:30 p.m. Sunday at the church.

Sister Virginia Mack is president of the ministry, and Sister Nettie Nixon is program sponsor. Everyone is invited as the organization explores the scripture: “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” ( 1 Corinthians 11:1).

COMMUNAL KEVER AVOT AT MOUNT NEBO CEMETERY

The Greater Miami Jewish Federation invites the community to the first communal Kever Avot, a community memorial service, 9:30-11 a.m. Sunday at the historic Mount Nebo Cemetery, 5505 NW Third St. in Miami.

According to a press release, the sacred program is for people who have a loved one buried at Mount Nebo to come together in prayer and to light a yahrzeit candle “for those who brought life and light into our lives.” However, one does not have to have someone buried at the cemetery to participate.

The program will start at 9:30 a.m. with a reception and light refreshments outside the cemetery followed by the service at 10 a.m. and gravesite visits at 10:30 a.m.

Although walk-ins are welcome, for planning purposes, participants are asked to register by calling Rabbi Frederick L. Klein at 305-576-4000.

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 bea.hines@gmail.com. Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.

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