Community Voices

Neighbors in Religion: Worshipers keep alive memories of churches from the past

Bea L. Hines
Bea L. Hines

One of the things I love about churches and other houses of worship is that the congregations strive to preserve their history. Often many of these worship places have had to be move to other sites to make way for more modern, secular buildings. And today, many are just a memory in the hearts and minds of those who love them, and remember the wonderful times of fellowship these sacred buildings provided.

Those of us who have been fortunate enough to grow up attending worship services in such buildings try to keep their memories alive by passing on the stories to our children.

When I was in my early teens, I used to attend worship services at Mount Tabor Missionary Baptist Church in Liberty City. (I loved going to church and often left my home church to visit the churches of my friends.)

I can still hear the great sermons of the Rev. James Byrd, who was pastor of the church from the early 1940s to 1959. In later years, I enjoyed the melodious sounds of the church’s great choir, directed by Roscoe Speed, featuring the superb contralto voice of Doreatha Payne, who was Miami’s own version of the great contralto, Marian Anderson. Now all are gone.

I say all this to let you know that although Mount Tabor is located at a different site — 10500 NW Seventh Ave. — the church will celebrate its 115th anniversary with special services 10 a.m. Feb. 14. The Rev. Johnny L. Barber II, moderator of the Florida East Coast Baptist Association, will be the speaker.

It was in 1901 when a small group of blacks who had settled in Lemon City came together to form the church. From its inception, Mount Tabor has always been at the forefront of service to the community. Most noted was its caring outreach to HIV/AIDS patients and drug addicts, under the direction of the Rev. Dr. George E. McRae, who retired in September 2015.

Since McRae’s retirement, the church has been without a spiritual leader, according to Juanita Lane, a longtime church member. “We are currently doing a pastor search, but we have not been without a preacher in the pulpit on Sundays,” she said.

Barber, a product of Miami-Dade County Schools, received a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology from American Intercontinental University and a master’s degree from Barry University.

In addition to being the moderator of the Florida East Coast Baptist Association, Barber serves as the spiritual leader of Mount Sinai Missionary Baptist Church.

The pubic is invited to celebrate this milestone with Mount Tabor and the congregation. For more information, call the church at 305-756-2584.


The annual Winter Indoor Yard Sale at Palm Springs United Methodist Church will be from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Feb. 5 and 6, and again on Feb. 12 and 13 at the church, 5700 W. 12th Ave. in Hialeah.

A variety of items will be available for sale including clothing, (buy one, get one free on all four days), linens, records, videos, toys and children vehicles.

Also available: baby furniture and other baby items, luggage, lamps, pictures, collectables, small furniture, books and holiday decorations.

Lunch and snack foods will also be for sale. The money raised at this event will be used for church work and missions. For more information, call the church at 305-821-3232 or send an email to


A free adult education class entitled “Did God Reveal the Torah at Mount Sinai? A Dialogue” will be at 7 p.m. on Feb. 1 at Temple Judea, 5500 Granada Blvd. in Coral Gables. The dialogue will be presented by Rabbi Peter S. Knobel and Rabbi Sam Kenner and will focus on the special place the Torah has in the religious consciousness of individuals, and will look at both classical and modern interpretations.

Knobel served as the interim rabbi of Temple Judea in 2013-14, and has served as the spiritual leader of Beth Emet the Free Synagogue in Evanston, Illinois, since 1980. He is still an active teacher and worshiper in that community. He is a past president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and of the Chicago Board of Rabbis. An author, he has written articles on a wide range of topics such as Jewish Bioethics, Liturgy and Zionist Thought and has chaired the editorial committee for Mishkan T’Filah.

Kenner, a native of Nova Scotia, Canada, lived for 32 years in the Boston area, before retiring and moving to Miami in 1998. He completed the doctoral training program in Pastoral Counseling and Psychology at Boston University School of Theology. He currently teaches and lectures on history and religion in Miami and is the past president of the Institute of Retired Professionals at the University of Miami. He and his wife, Sylvia, are members of Temple Judea.

The class is free, but advance reservations are required by calling 305-667-5657.


The community is invited to hear Alex Patchin McNeil, executive director of More Light Presbyterians, at 5 p.m. Feb. 6 at Riviera Presbyterian Church, 5275 Sunset Dr. in Coral Gables.

The mission of More Light is to work for the full life, ministry, and witness of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and society, according to the Rev. Martha Shiverick, pastor of Riviera Presbyterian.

McNeil, who is the first openly transgender person to head a mainline Protestant organization, will lead a discussion on “How the Inclusive Church Ministers to the LGBTQ Community.” He will also be the guest preacher at Riviera at the 11 a.m. worship service Feb. 7 at the church. The community is invited.

In addition, instead of the traditional pancake Shrove Tuesday dinner, the church will have a “community French Toast Dinner” at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 9 .

The traditional Ash Wednesday service with the imposition of ashes will be at 7 p.m. on Feb. 10. The community is invited to all services and events.


Those who live in the Pinecrest area will be happy to know that for the third year, Christ the King Lutheran Church will offer a “drive-through” opportunity from 7 to 9 a.m. on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 10. Commuters can turn into the circular drive of the church on their way to work and school, to receive ashes and a a blessing, said the Rev. Kathryn H. Carroll, AKA Pastor Kate.

Those taking advantage of the service will also receive complimentary coffee and a devotional book for the season of Lent.

“This is the third year the congregation is providing a moment of prayer to commuters on Ash Wednesday morning,” Carroll said. “There is no need to get out of the car. It is a meaningful way to commence Lent, a season of introspection and contemplation.”

For more information call the church at 305-665-5063, or visit


The women of Temple Beth Tov Ahavat Shalom will conduct Kabbalah Shabbat services starting 8:15 p.m. Friday. The women will conduct the service in Hebrew, English and Spanish. Light Kosher refreshments will be served following the service.

Also, the temple at 6438 SW Eighth St. in West Miami will begin its series of guest speakers: “The Vibrancy of Judaism” with Rabbi Yochanan Salazar-Loewe, who is a master sofer✔ (scribe), educator and lecturer. His bilingual lecture is entitled, “How Relevant is Kabbalah for our times.” The event will be at noon Sunday and include a Kosher lunch.

Salazar-Loewe was born in Ecuador and moved to the United States as a teenager. After years of training, he received his ordination as a sofer and now heads the Torah Restoration Department of Sofer on Site in North Miami. He and his wife, Hanna, are the parents of six.

There is no charge for the event, but donations will be appreciated. For more information call 305-205-3846.


A program entitled “Suicide: The Silent Epidemic” will be from 12:30 to 4 p.m. Sunday in the social hall at Temple Beth Am, 5950 SW 88th St.

The program will feature speakers including psychiatrist Dr. Charles B. Nemeroff, chair of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences; Jill Harrington, area director of American Foundation for Suicide Prevention; and Frank J. Zenere, department head of District Crisis Management, Miami Dade Public Schools.

The event is open to everyone in the community, especially parents, teachers, teenagers, young adults, therapists, medical practitioners, the elderly and educators.

It’s free and no registration is required.

Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Religion Notes, c/o Neighbors, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Doral, FL 33172 or email Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.