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Gigi Tinsley

Stories by Gigi

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2015 historic Junior Orange Bowl Court

First Black little sister and Miss Congeniality join this year’s royal court

On Sunday, Sept. 13 at the Rebeca Sosa Theater, located at 1401 Westward Dr., in Miami Springs, the Junior Orange Bowl Committee held its 66th Annual Royal Court Pageant — and history was made. Takiyah Belfort, 10, competed in the Little Sister category and won the prize. She is the first Black Junior Orange Bowl Little Sister crowned by the organization in its 66 years of existence. Takiyah is a fifth grade student at Citrus Grove Elementary and the daughter of LaQuoya and Tony Belfort.

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Pastor of the Week

Rev. Gregory D. Thompson Jr.: A servant according to the Lord’s description

Gregory D. Thompson Jr., born in Miami, is a graduate of Miami Jackson Senior High School. At an early age, Gregory said he “felt the call of God on his life, urging him to serve him,” but like most young people, he tried to evade God and “the pull” he had on his life. “I did not realize as a youngster, you could be young, serve the Lord, and be happy. I am happy that I gave the Lord charge of my life as a young man,” said Thompson. Being raised in the church, as was Thompson, made it very hard for him to escape the long arms of God. In fact, being taught who God was early in life, made it, said Thompson, “Very difficult to be disobedient to God’s word.” The promise made in Proverb 22:6 is very true. “Train up a child when he is young and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Rise Up 4 Change program works with homeless, disadvantaged kids

Marlins’ Coach Lenny Harris hosted 35 children and staff at a recent game

On Sept. 12, Miami Marlins’ third base coach Lenny Harris hosted the Rise Up 4 Change Youth Program at the Marlins’ Stadium. The Rise Up 4 Change (RU4C) program is an organization that does workshops for disadvantaged and homeless children throughout South Florida.

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Pastor R. Joaquin Willis grows human and community gardens in Liberty City

Rev. Dr. R. Joaquin Willis is a native of Mobile, Alabama and the senior pastor of the Open Door Unification Community Church at 6001 NW Eighth Ave., Miami. The church has a membership of more than 300, a Family Life Center; a 501(c) 3 and Miami Youth Garden Inc., (MyG), created to assist in human and community development. There is literally a live garden growing on the grounds for the members and the community for true growth.

Master servant of God retires after 56 years of stellar service

Rev. Dr. George E. McRae is the first inner-city pastor to form a refuge center for HIV/AIDS clients

Reverend Dr. George E. McRae is described by hundreds as being a unique human-being who cares about others and never seems to get tired of serving them. Evangelist Ladi G. Jenkins, a former entrepreneur, social worker and member of Northside Church of God in Miami-Dade County had the opportunity to consult with him on many occasions, when the two of them worked with HIV/AIDS clients.

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The miracle on 119th Street remembered

Pastor credits prayer for saving property from being repossessed

Pastor credits prayer for saving property from being repossessed. The Taylors believe in miracles.

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Moses Hillman: “A devoted family man”

He celebrates his 100th birthday Sept. 12

A celebration to honor Moses Hillman’s 100th birthday will be held on Saturday, Sept. 12, at the Miami Shores Country Club, 10000 Biscayne Blvd. Moses Hillman was born Sept.15, 1915 in Springvale, Georgia. He was the fourth of 13 children born to Arthur and Vilene Lee Hillman. He moved to Miami and was drafted into the military in the late 1930s. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II and was honorably discharged in 1945 after which he returned to Miami. It was at this time he met and married the late Lucille Henderson.

Christian Girls Brunch Club hosts 2nd annual Prayer Brunch and Auction

The Christian Girls Brunch Club (CGBC), a young woman’s ministry, will host its second annual “Power Up” Prayer Brunch and Silent Auction 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 26, at First Presbyterian Church of Miami located at 609 Brickell Ave., in downtown Miami. This event will benefit the Miami Rescue Mission’s Center for homeless women and children.

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Trained early to love God and serve people

Reverend Dr. Anthony Tate’s life revolved around the word of the Lord in early training

Reverent Dr. Anthony A. Tate, the founder and pastor of the New Resurrection Community Church located at 2167 NW 64 St., Miami. was trained at an early age to love God, his son, Jesus Christ, and obey the Holy Spirit. “Following the will of God has been easy for me ,” Tate said. “It is so true. If a child is trained when he is young, he might stray away for a while but once you get the love of God in your heart, you will return.”

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Churches unite as First Deliverance

Supportive pastor ‘reaching the unreachable’

Errol P. Cooper was born to the late Deacon Lenwood and Mother Annie Lee Cooper Sr. Nov. 27, 1963 in Miami. He was raised by God-fearing parents that took him to church regularly and lived holy, righteous, lives before him, his brother, Lenwood Jr., and their foster siblings: Vanessa Harper, Stephanie Wright, Judy and Edward Berry.

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Local pastor inspired by Sunday School convention more than two decades ago

Roberts has served more than 20 years

In 1988, Cleveland “Cleve” Roberts III accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of his life. “I was filled with the Holy Ghost and eagerly wanted to work in the ministry of Jesus Christ,” said Roberts. He began to serve faithfully under Elder Artie B. Smith and in 1990, Roberts was appointed to the Deacon Board.

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Pastor of the Week: Pastor Jeffrey L. Mack: Serving for the Lord

Second Canaan’s pastor serves as president of FECDC of Christian Education

Reverend Jeffrey L. Mack is president of the Florida East Coast District Congress of Christian Education and pastor of Second Canaan Missionary Baptist Church. The Congress convened on Sunday at the Baptist Church, located at 4343 NW 17th Ave., Miami, with an Oratorical Contest. The Congress will continue through Thursday at New Canaan and will conclude on Friday evening, with a youth pageantry. The pageantry will be at New Birth Baptist Church, at 13500 NW 22nd Ave., where Bishop Victor T. Curry, is pastor.

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Pastor of the Week:Ronald Rasool Malik: Imam Muslim who cares about his community

MAS follows true orthodox faith

“As a youngster I felt differently when it came to accepting the facts given to me when I went to church. I just didn’t believe all they said about Christianity. I Believe in God. But I believe in just one God, Allah,” said Ronald Rasool Malik.

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Pastor Marshall: There is no distance with God

From Miami to Naples, God is there

The Redeemed Community Church of Naples (RCCON), now at 512 11th St. N., in Naples, Fla. was founded and organized in Liberty City 19 years ago by Reverend Sterling Kevin Marshall. He was led to the Lord as a child by Pastor Katrina Forbes in central Miami at Now Faith Deliverance Tabernacle (NFDT). At the age 19, Marshall was ordained and licensed, by Pastor Forbes, a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and certified to perform all homiletical ceremonies “that pastors in the Christian religion were licensed to do,” Marshall said.

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Meet Deja Mashack, she's exceptional

Student graduates from high school and technical college in the same week

Deja Mashack at age 14 had to leave all of her friends in Austell, Ga., (a suburb of Atlanta) where she was born and reared, and moved to Fort Lauderdale, with her parents, Baron and Denise Mashack. Her father had just become the new pastor of the Fifteenth Avenue Church of God in Fort Lauderdale. Being away from the friends she grew up with and finding herself in unfamiliar surroundings, Deja threw herself into her studies. After one year at Renaissance Middle School in Miramar, she went on to spend the next four years at Everglades High School. Making friends wasn't easy for Deja. She was a homebody and a bookworm. However, in the diverse landscape at Everglades High, Deja found acceptance and new friends.

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Pastor of the Week: Local pastor reared in the way by grandmother

Benjamin H. Parrott’s heads the congregation at Christian Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church

Benjamin H. Parrott is the senior pastor of Christian Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church. The church, located at 8100 NW 17 Ave., will begin its 48th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, June 27 at 5 p.m. The opening group will be the Brothers Quartet who are described as being “a singing sensation, out of Broward County,” by the masses who have heard them in concert. Parrott was born to the parentage of Athalie Parrott and was nurtured and raised by his devoted, maternal, grandmother, Ruby E. Parrott, who decided at his birth, to not let the statistics on young Black boys or the standards set by too many be the ones she would allow her grandson to follow.

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Members proud of Pastor Leonard Shaw

'Committed, dedicated, has integrity and sincere' are words used to describe this pastor

The leadership group at Miami Revival Tabernacle Assembly Church of God (RTAG) take seriously the responsibilities that have been given them by the members of the church. They work at keeping the respect and commitment those duties entail. RTAG’s leadership consist of: Elder Arnold Montgomery, Deacon Keith Coke, Elder Albert Cannon; Deaconesses Sabrina Wright Jones, Rosanna Johnson, Joy T. Talley and Jennifer Montgomery; they are very involved and dedicated individuals. Words used by the board to describe the senior pastor, Reverend Leonard Shaw, include: committed, dedicated, has integrity and sincere. “These are not just words to us,” said Montgomery, the chairman of the Board at RTAG and the

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Pastor John F. White: Prepared to lead people by example

Church gives thousands in tithes back to people in the Miami-Dade community

John F. White is a visionary who has allowed God to lead in his life, including his education, marriage and life’s work. He is married to Maria Mallory White, who is also a minister of the gospel of Jesus, a mother, and an entrepreneur. That union has produced two sons: John F. “Trey” III and Joseph Christian “Joey,” who they refer to as being “their gifts from God.” Pastor John and Reverend Maria have prepared themselves to lead God’s people as far as they are willing to follow.

Alicia Voltaire sells lemonade for cancer cure

Help raise $8,000 to help eradicate Neuroblastoma cancer in children

Seven-year-old Alicia Voltaire enjoys dancing, singing, skating, writing short stories and reading and wants to be a veterinarian. In the meantime, this child has joined the fight against childhood cancer.  About a month ago, Alicia's teacher, Jeannette D'Amour at North Dade Center for Modern Languages, introduced the story of a young girl named Alex and her fight against Neuroblastoma cancer. Since that day, Alicia hounded her mother about starting a lemonade stand, so that she could raise money to help kids with cancer.  

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Pastor Tuff teaches that holiness is right

Her mission is to restore and strengthen families

Pastor Dr. Gina Inga Tuff is a third generation Tuff (by marriage) to pastor the Church of Deliverance Through the Blood of Jesus (CDTBJ). Currently, the church has two locations, one in Opa-locka at 13700 NW 19th Ave., Suite 14, and the other in Jasper, Fla. at 7437 SW Country Rd. 143. CDTBJ was founded by Pastor Pearlie Tuff in 1982. Her son, Bishop Freddy L. Tuff Sr. became the pastor until his wife, Gina Inga was ordained to preach the gospel in 1993.

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‘God has given me a unique way to connect’

Pastor of the Week

Cedon Saintil Jr. was born Nov. 15, 1976 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. His family migrated to the U.S. in 1981. Saintil was enrolled for a short period of time at Miami Edison Senior High School, where his newly found friends gave him several nicknames, including Ced, CJ, and Don. He was then transferred to Miami Jackson Senior High, from which he graduated and went on to earn degrees in Medical Technology and Criminal Justice.

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‘Marriage, It’s Not Physical, It’s Spiritual (Holy)’

Alicia F. Rooks now believes and says she knows that when two people go into the God-ordained institution of marriage, both individuals will have first taken the time to develop a personal relationship with the Lord. Rooks’ first book, “Marriage, It’s Not Physical, It’s Spiritual (Holy)” says in detail: “When we are united by God, we will have done our homework and know without a shadow of doubt that the common denominator, in the relationship, is their love for first, the Lord, and then for each other.”

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Let not fear consume you

Fear no man, fear only the Lord

To be alive in 2015 could be a scary time for some. It is a time when too many individuals fear just getting out of bed each morning. For those of you who are not in this predicament, try to imagine how fear can hamper you from merely attempting: To walk from your home to your car without the fear of becoming the victim of a drive-by shooting; Blowing your horn at someone who cuts you off in traffic, without fearing that that person just might shoot you; Thinking that your young son, or teenage daughter, on their usual route to or from school, could be snatched up by a sex-offender and taken away from you;

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Temple Sinai hosts Interfaith Service and Shabbat repast

Pastor Richard Dunn, II Baptist speaker, uniting two different faiths

When we entered the large, beautiful, grounds of Temple Sinai in North Miami Beach last Friday evening, May 8, we quickly noticed the warm, comforting, atmosphere that prevailed. Alan Litwak, who just returned from spending four days in Israel on a unification mission, is the senior rabbi of the magnificent synagogue. About 25 members of Faith Community Baptist Church and I came to an Interfaith Service and Shabbat where Pastor Richard Dunn was the invited speaker. Pastor Dunn's wife Daphne Dunn also was present.

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A place for growth

Bethany Seventh-Day Adventist is growing through intentional outreach

When one hears about Bethany Seventh-Day Adventist or any Christian church that fellowships on Saturdays, one of the first question that comes to mind is, “Why do they worship on Saturdays?” That question not only came to the mind of this reporter several years ago, it was refreshed on May 3 when my godmother, Estella C. Delaughter’s funeral was held at Bethany Seventh-Day Adventist Church.

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Boys and Girls Choir has something to sing about in South Dade

Thomas W. Demeritte has returned with ADMIT program for children to take up where he left off

Producer and Recorder Thomas W. Demerritte has returned to South Florida to take up where he left off three years ago --teaching young boys and girls that there is more to the music industry than rapping and writing songs that most of them would not want their mother to hear them perform. Last month a group of 26 enthusiastic, energetic young boys and girls entered the ADMIT (Alternative Directions Music Industry Training) Studio in South Miami at 19801 SW 106 Ave., Suite 230, to record their first CD. That group is the South Florida Boys and Girls Choir. In tow were three parents: Carl and Marissa Lindsey and Helena Sumpter; musician, Prince A. Day; Counselor

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The Lord is our protector, shelter and shepherd

Our God has promised, throughout his word, he will protect us. Psalm 91 reminds us that we who are faithfully committed to God are blessed to dwell, that is, to live, in a wonderful place of eternal security and protection. In that shelter we shall find peace in the shadow of the omnipotent God, the creator of the universe, as he works on our behalf. The real essence of this verse is found in the personal note from God in verses 14-16. What awesome promises for those who “dwell in the secret place of the most high!” You “shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”

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Pastor of the Week: Amarilis Rodriguez: Raised a family Christians

"By the grace of God I am here today"

Amarilis Rodriguez was raised in a family that practiced witchcraft. She says she was told that she “was born to be a psychic medium.” And that it “came to a standpoint in my life where I no longer wanted to live and I contemplated suicide.”  “In 1991, I walked into my bathroom determined to take my life. As I looked into the mirror, I no longer saw myself but a woman that told me to kill myself. That no one loved me. I proceeded to grab a blade with the intentions of cutting my veins. As I turned on the shower, instead of water

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The three Cs of life: Choices, chances, changes

You must make a choice to take a chance or your life will not change. Christians serve the God that gives them free choice. They are allowed to take a chance on individuals and opportunities as they see fit to do so. His desire is that men, women and children will eventually come to the realization that he is the only one worth spending eternity with. Therefore, make your choice now. Take a chance guided by the evidence presented in his word. If you choose him, it will change your life, all for the best, for eternity.

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Joanem F. Floreal is ‘Pastor Fanfan’ to all

Founder of Shalom Community Church

Joanem Frandy Floreal is known in the community as “Pastor Fanfan.” The church Floreal founded and serves as the senior pastor is called Shalom Community Church, a United Methodist denomination. It is said by many that “Shalom Community Church is one of the fastest-growing congregations in the Haitian community. Many people are attracted by the lively worship and the dynamic and relevant preaching of Pastor Fanfan.”

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Pastor Keith Moore: Lives what he preaches

Bread of Life Community Church founder wanted to be a detective

Keith Moore was in the prime of his life, playing college football in California, when God stepped in and began to change the course of his life. One night at Pac Jam, a teenage nightclub in Miami, Moore says, the Lord spoke to his heart and said to him, “Don’t forget me and what I’ve done for you.” It was at that time he decided to develop a personal relationship with the Lord. That week, he went to church and surrendered his life to the Lord, and was born again at 18 years of age.

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Young men bring back quartet singing with a heavenly kick

Brothers group sings to God’s glory

One of the most talked about quartet groups in the Fort Lauderdale area today is the new, young and aspiring group called Brothers. Over the last two years, the well-dressed, soul-stirring gentlemen have brought quartet singing back to the forefront. The hit single, “What a Friend,” is the most requested song at their events.

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Albert Alex “Justice” Fulbright to be memorialized

Albert Alex Fulbright, 72, known by most as “Justice,” died Dec. 10th and was cremated on the 14th “without any of his family being notified,” according to Twondy G. Wilcox. “When we met for the Memorial Service for Georgia Jones-Ayers, who died Feb. 17th, and Justice wasn’t there, I then became a bit concerned. But when he did not come to her funeral, I knew something was wrong,” Wilcox said, who lives in Fort Lauderdale. “Justice loved her (Jones-Ayers)like a sister and nothing but death would keep him away from being at her funeral.”

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Community has Easter dinner with OPPM

Omega Power and Praise Ministry does giveaways for schools and residents

Omega Power and Praise Ministry (OPPM), Inc. has once again taken on the posture of a servant. While many were preparing for the Easter holiday, Dr. Harriette Wilson Greene and her committee were burning the midnight oil. “This year was like no other event we have ever done," Greene said. "Supplies were slow coming in, but we kept the faith, believing that because it was for the children God would meet our needs.”

Stop worrying and start trusting God

People spend too much time worrying about things pending and situations that might come. Much of the time spent worrying could be put to more productive use such as networking, discussing, formulating, and implementing a plan to solve that situation or problem.   When you have done all you can about a problem or situation, give it to the Lord. Proverbs 15:29 reminds us that God hears the cries of the righteous (the upright, in right standing with him).

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Baron C. Mashack: Positively impacts lives in this sinful world

Pastor of the week

The Reverend Baron C. Mashack is known for his passionate worship, no-nonsense approach to teaching and preaching the word of God and for his cutting-edge approach and strong desire to impact the culture for Christ. He is a native New Yorker, who grew up in the Congregational Church of God in Manhattan, N.Y. under the leadership of Dr. William Aaron and later, Dr. Levorne Aaron. He attended St. John’s University in Queens, N.Y., where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Arts and a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications.

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Dwayne Bennett: “It takes those from the streets to relate”

In 2008, two men, Dwayne Bennett Sr., 42 and Linord Albury, 44, whose daily activities dealing in illegal drugs and sports bookings earned them the titles of being real hardcore street thugs. But something happened to them that “changed our lives forever,” Bennett said. “We accepted the Lord as our Savior and wanted to tell others about our experience. We knew we could not have such a great revelation and just keep it to ourselves,” Bennett added. Albury and Bennett said they went to several churches, on several different occasions, but never felt the love they heard that one should feel when they are among other Christians.

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Single pastor inspires others with ministry

Sabrina Johnson James leads Tag Team 4 Jesus Christ Outreach Ministries Inc.

Rev. Sabrina Johnson James, born Nov. 27, 1966 in Shellman, Ga., is the second oldest of seven children born to the late Christeen Perry Bartlet Johnson and James Johnson. James is also the mother of seven and has been attending church since birth. She started working in the church at age 3, when her grandmother, Fannie Mae Johnson and her mother, gave permission for her to serve as an usher. “I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior at the age of 21, but I really came into an intimate relationship with him at age 29 when I had to have surgery on my left lung,” James said. “Through this experience, I drew closer to the father and that relationship has grown stronger ever day since.”

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Councilman Pastor Jimmie L. Williams III: Servant of God and the people

“I serve today, to make things better for tomorrow” for all the people

The Rev. Jimmie L. Williams III has made numerous accomplishments both in his community and as a servant of God. Williams is a Homestead councilman. He was first elected to the council in 2009 and was re-elected to a four-year term in November 2013 to serve Council Seat 4, which includes the southwest area of the city.

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What it really means and how to do it

In Matthew 6:12, Jesus Christ taught his disciples how to pray. He said, “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” In verse 14, He told them, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” Verse 15 says it emphatically: “But, if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Isn’t it ironic that we almost always think very narrow-minded. We have two or more sets of rules for the same thing and want folk to go along with that kind of silly thinking.

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Dr. J. Curtis Eubanks is a pastor’s pastor

Military-man-turned-church-founder recommends a consistent prayer life

The Reverend Dr. James Curtis Eubanks of Fort Lauderdale is a pastor’s pastor. He has personally mentored and prepared four ministers to become pastors. Currently, he is the counseling pastor for the members of Northside Church of God at 2590 NW 103rd St. in Miami where Minister Paul Nicholson is the interim pastor. “Dr. Eubanks is a real example of what a true man of God and a pastor should be. He is truly a man of integrity,” Nicholson said.

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Christal Walker: ‘I am a biblical griot here to help win the lost to God’

Get started with what you are passionate about and your gift will find you

For the sixth year, Bible Out Loud Ministries brings to the community the production, “Love Equals An Empty Tomb.” On April 3rd at 6 p.m. — Good Friday for Christians and the beginning of Passover at sundown for Jews — the multi-sensory production will be staged at Ninety-third Street Community Baptist Church at 2330 NW 93rd St., Miami, where Reverend Carl Johnson is pastor.

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The Zeta Phi Beta sorority serves well

Beta Tau Zeta chapter celebrates its 69th year of serving

The President of Beta Tau Zeta chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., Cora L. Coleman Portee, the Zetas, along with the Bahamas Junkanoo Revue of Miami, Florida Inc. invite the public to join them at their 69th year celebration of community service . It is also the end of Portee’s presidential leadership, due to term restraints.

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Miami commissioners honor activist Harriette Wilson-Greene at event

Dr. Harriette Wilson-Greene on March 12 was recognized at a breakfast event honoring outstanding women in the community. The City of Miami Commission on the Status of Women hosted this event entitled, “Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives.” Wilson-Greene was honored for her community activism by Commissioner Keon Hardemon, of District 5.

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Leadership summit in the spring is aimed to unify religious leaders

Partner with the masses and impact the world, says Young of his ministry

Reverend Dr. Robert L. Young, senior pastor, and his wife of 44 years, J. Elaine, executive pastor, are the spiritual leaders of New Seventy-ninth Street Word Church International. The tall building is located at 2275 NW 79th St., Miami. The Youngs are affectionately called “Pastor Rob,” and “Pastor Elaine,” respectively by their parishioners, family members and friends.

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Pastor of the week

The scripture, taken from Isaiah 55:4 that says “Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people,” describes the character of Elder Clifford Sanders. Elder Clifford is the senior pastor at JHV Shiloh Ministries (JSM) at 11936 NW 19th Ave., a Not-for-Profit 501(C) 3, Faith-based, community organization. He wears many hats, both literally and figuratively. He says he is committed to leading himself and others in performances and in making changes.

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Rise Up 4 Change partners to help at-risk youth

Local non profit has support of a driving force in Cutler Bay area

Mercedes-Benz of Cutler Bay has partnered with the Rise Up 4 Change organization, in an effort to help at-risk youth, in the southwest area. “The combined effort is to help these youth become successful citizens in their communities,” said Nicole Waters, director of marketing for the auto company. “This is our way of giving back to a community that has been very supportive of our business.”

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Elder Samuel Eaves II: Knows the word and teaches it in ministry

Elder Samuel Joseph Eaves, II could be like many who have reached the highest pinnacle in education, but he chose to place his emphasis on serving others and teaching them.

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No Dancer Left Behind Inc. helps children get life skills

Youth get more than free dance training from NDLB scholarships

For the last three years, No Dancer Left Behind Inc. (NDLB) has provided free lessons to disadvantaged children and teenagers, ages 6 to 19. Since May 2012, the NDLB program has provided $10,000 in scholarships along with life skills to needy students at Diversity Dance Center, according to Cassie Maura-Rahming, assistant director. NDLB at 6823 Sunset Strip, in Sunrise is a not-for-profit agency founded by Artistic Director/Choreographer Terrica Maura and her mother, Maura-Rahming.

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Pastor Donald Henry’s passion is helping to save our youngsters

Pastor Donald Lee Henry is passionate about working with young people, particularly young men. In his work in the prison system, he has seen many young men incarcerated and knows if he can help just one of them stay out of prison, it will make a positive difference.