Page 1 B r a n d o n • Va l r i c o • L i t h i a • S e f f n e r • R i v e r v i e w • P l a n t C i t y • A p o l l o B e a c h Volume 21, Issue 5

Remembering And Honoring All Mothers

A Free Publication from Osprey Observer Inc.

May 2017

St. Stephen Catholic Church To Unveil New Building With The Cross And The Light

By Amanda Boston


Brazil Mission Trip Page 2

The revered evanThe multi-sensory producgelist Billy Graham said, tion is the brainchild of former “God proved His love on Miss America runner-up, Kelly the Cross. When Christ Garver Nieto. Before its conhung, and bled, and ception, Nieto appeared to died, it was God saying enjoy a full and prosperous life to the world, 'I love you.'” with an ideal career and supSt. Stephen Catholic portive family. However, deep Church invites you to within, she discover more about sensed someGod’s love with The thing was Cross and the Light, a amiss and Broadway-caliber proyearned for With a cast of only seven, a few of performers play multiple roles. duction playing from peace and sq. ft. and proThursday, May 18 until Sunday, May 21. real purpose. vides 1,100 seats The musical’s message holds firm to Then she biblical truths while incorporating a modern with the ability to encountered Jesus expand to 1,500 twist of pageantry to delight the senses. It Christ, and from her seats. It is a conportrays Jesus’ life from The Passion to Christian walk, The siderable upgrade Pentecost with actors, singers, and a Cross and the Light state-of-the-art projected video imagery on from the church’s came into existence. humble beginthe walls, measuring a whopping 150-ft. Since the musistorenings—a wide by 30-ft. tall. cal’s debut in 2011, it front building on Father Robert Schneider of St. has captivated audiBell Shoals Rd. Stephen stated, “We are delighted to open ences around the The official buildthe doors of our new church to the comworld, often selling ing dedication will take place on Thursday, munity with The Cross and the Light—it’s out its shows. St. Stephen Church will host June 29 by the church’s new Bishop. a show that allows people to experience eight performances. Visit www.TCTLGretchen Robens is the communicaChrist’s passion in a completely new way., to see a listing of tions coordinator for St. Stephen Church It will showcase the beauty of our new show times and dates or to purchase tickand is thrilled to be hosting the distinworship space and give the community a ets. The church is located at 10128 St. chance to see what our exciting parish has guished musical. “We hope our low-price Stephen Cir. in Riverview. Visit tickets will make opportunities for people to or call for tickto offer.” The new church is spacious at 30,726 invite friends and co-workers," said ets 681-2990. Robens.

Feeding America National Day Of Prayer To Be Held At SteinbrennerByStadium Amanda Boston Page 4

Special Section Pages 9-15

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For Your Great Name’s Sake! Hear us...Forgive us...Heal us... is the theme for the 2017 National Day of Prayer and is derived from Daniel 9:19, “Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name." Daniel was an Old Testament prophet who lived during the Babylonian captivity of Judah. In chapter nine of Daniel, the prophet acknowledges God’s sovereignty as he pleads for God to hear, forgive, and heal the exiled nation.

Just like Daniel, who interceded with his prayer for the nation of Judah, you can intercede for America with an evening devoted to prayer. On

About 4,000 to 5,000 people attended last year’s National Day of Prayer.

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Thursday, May 4, join hundreds of churches, community leaders, and families as they gather at Steinbrenner Stadium to pray for the nation as the body of Christ. The free family event takes place at 7 p.m., with the gates opening at 6 p.m. The National Day of Prayer is observed annually on the first Thursday of May. It has roots tracing back to the Continental Congress when the colonists set aside time to pray for wisdom as they formed the new nation. In 1952, through a joint resolution in Congress, President Harry Truman formally signed the National Day of Prayer into law. Later, in 1988, President Ronald Reagan amended the law to designate the first Thursday of May as the National Day of Prayer. Joy Green, the Tampa Chairperson for the National Day of Prayer, expressed, “It

is a crucial time in history to pray for our nation. I want to encourage every pastor, and every individual to help us to mobilize the Church of Tampa Bay and transform Steinbrenner Stadium into an altar of worship and prayer.” The world-renowned Eddie James and Ultimate Call will shake the stadium with the sounds of contemporary Christian worship music. Eddie James Ministries is well known for connecting with the younger generation through its heart-stirring musical drama presentations. Green continued, "This year, we are reaching out to the youth. We have a special section for them. We are asking the churches to bring out its youth groups to this gathering.” Steinbrenner Stadium is located at 1 Steinbrenner Dr. Tampa. Visit or call 758-1286. For the youth coordinator, call 404-557-4975.

Page 2 • • May 2017

Bell Shoals’ Youth Travel To Brazil For A Mission Trip

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By Amanda Boston

Many Floridian served the needy teens devote their there,” said long-awaited spring Hutchison. break to amusement The Bell parks and beaches— Shoals teens also but not the missionjoined forces with minded teens from Project Vida, a Bell Shoals Baptist group of traveling Church. The group of missionaries. “The 42 dedicated their great thing about week of spring break Brazil is that we to sharing the gospel get to go into the with a mission trip to schools and Along with spreading the gospel, the youth Curitiba, Brazil. preach the gospel. showed Jesus’ love by attending to the needs of homeless. After six months The students line of preparation, the tentative teens boardup to see us, and the teachers are so ed an airplane where they temporarily happy for us to be there. We share culturstepped out of their tidy suburban lives al things, but also share why we are and into the favelas (slums) of Brazil. The there, which is to glorify God and make population of Curitiba is approximately His name known throughout the world,” 1.8 million with about 10 percent of its said Hutchison. inhabitants living in corrugated tin and Acts of violence, substance abuse, and sexual offenses permeate Brazil with wood shanties. the reverberations felt by its adolescent Mark Hutchinson from Bell Shoals population. In response, the Bell Shoals prepared and led the youth mission trip. group performed dramas in the schools With 22 mission trips completed, to address these topics and offer better Hutchinson’s expertise and heart for alternatives. Following the dramas, the Christ guided and supported the novice teens shared the gospel with Bible tracts group. and relayed personal testimonies The teens journeyed into the favelas “For 15 years, we have enjoyed the where they encountered the poorest of life-transforming opportunities of ministerthe poor. “The people were kind and ing in Brazil. The harvest is plentiful and thankful for us coming and sharing God's the doors open to share "the Way, the love and truth...We did face painting on Truth and the Life in Jesus Christ," said children. We cut hair, provided blood Hutchison. More than 4,000 souls heard pressure checks and personal counselthe gospel while 200 homeless were fed ing. Many were saved and encouraged. Many responded as we spent time caring and encouraged. Project Vida and local churches will follow up on the youth’s for them. It was truly humbling. Our stumission. For info, visit dents were bold and fearless as they

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Page 3 • • May 2017

Flow Fitness Encourages Strong Hearts And MindsBy Amy Schechter

There are many and Brandon. All classes reasons why we, as make participants feel as if women, can put off our they receive individual trainown health. It’s so easy ing, but within the benefit of a to find something else positive, virtuous community. to do around the house Try a Barre Above class that or with the family. For melds Pilates, stretching, aerobics, and strength trainsome, starting a new ing that dancers use to stay routine can be scary lithe and fit. Not found anyand uncomfortable. where else in the area, Kara Birkey, the visionwomen can take Trapeze ary behind Flow Flow, where a hammock-like Fitness, saw a need for apparatus is used for a total a place where women body workout. Other classes can come together in Kara Birkey, founder of Flow involved Muay Thai, Boot fellowship and enjoy Fitness. Camps, Tabata, and P90x getting in shape: “Years just to name a few. Most importantly, ago, God gave me a vision of opening a free childcare is offered for every class women’s fitness boutique, offering the no matter what type of membership you most trending classes in a wholesome and fun environment.” Flow Fitness prom- purchase. When you are finishing working hard, you can relax in the one-of-aises this welcoming environment where women can make meaningful changes in kind “Revive Room.” In here, women can listen to soft music, sip tea and their lives and honest connections to one relax. Individual classes, multi-class bunanother. dles and memberships can accommoBirkey began working in the fitness date all budgets. industry ten years ago, and although she The first class is always free and loved health and wellness, as a Christian women are welcome to stop by for a woman, she struggled with some of the tour. Hours are Monday through Friday; music and body shaming that seemed to accompany typical gyms. She imagined a mornings from 7:45 a.m.-1 p.m., afternoons from 3:45 p.m.-7:45 p.m. and place where women would have a judgSaturdays 7:45 a.m.-1p.m.. Flow Fitness ment free zone and the only competition is located just north of Symmes Rd. at they would feel would be with them11331 US Hwy 301 South, Suite 101, selves. Birkey shared her idea for a women’s fitness haven with her husband, Riverview, 33578. For information, call 374-3019 or visit them either at flowfitJesse Birkey, and with his support she or on Facebook at took a step of faith. Now, Flow Fitness is the first of its kind to serve the residents of Riverview

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Page 4 • • May 2017

Grace Christian To Honor Founder With $5 Million High School Expansion

By Amanda Boston

Since grades. By Grace adding a secChristian ond gymnasiSchool um, we will be opened its able to engage doors in 1974, the elementary it has susstudents in tained a solid exciting interreputation for scholastic academic leagues, provide excellence. Its a greater capacrigorous curity for all of our riculum is sports teams, taught from a and be the new biblical worldhome of the Grace Christian School is situated on 26 acres of land off of N. Valrico Rd. in Valrico. view while in a Grace Christian structured but School Patriots caring environment. In addition to varsity sports.” In honor of the school’s preparing its students scholastically, the founder, Dr. Robert R. Gustafson, the school has an intentional focus on charnew facility will bear his name. acter development with emphasis on Gustafson, the beloved founder, adminmoral living, patriotism and civic duty. istrator, pastor, and baseball coach The more than 40 years of educapassed away in January 2016. He was a tional success has multiplied its student visionary with a passion for Christian population—causing the original school education. His legacy lives on through building to swell at its seams. In the Grace Christian School as it continresponse to the growth, Grace Christian ues to provide students with a high-qualfinalized plans for a two-year construcity Christian education. tion project to expand the high school “Unfortunately, we had to turn away campus. The new facility includes a high students last year,” said McKeen. “But school building, which will house 12 with a new building, we will have the classrooms, two auditoriums, administra- capacity for 400 more students.” To tive offices and a gymnasium. With a donate to the building fund, please conprice tag of five million dollars, the tact the school at 689-8815. Donations school is actively campaigning for funds. are tax deductible. Administrator Barry McKeen of Grace Christian School is located at Grace Christian explained, “The facility 1425 N. Valrico Rd. in Valrico. will increase our student capacity and Registration is open for the 2017-2018 expand our ability to provide new proschool year. For information, visit grams in sports for students of all

Page 5 • • May 2017

Feeding Tampa Bay: Area Food Bank Helps Fill The Hunger Gap

By Amanda Boston

In the Tampa Bay we do a family night. region, more than 700,000 We will have mothers people are food insecure, come in to sort food which means they are with a baby strapped unable to obtain enough to them,” continued food due to limited finanPeters. cial resources. Food inseFurthermore, the curity not only afflicts the organization’s funding homeless—countless partners conduct food working families struggle drives and other speto make ends meet. Sadly, cial events. During a these food insecure backpack event, volhouseholds often choose unteers are needed between eating and payto fill backpacks with ing the bills. nutritious food for Feeding Tampa Bay is school-age children a local food bank and an who reside in houseaffiliate of Feeding holds identified as Feeding Tampa Bay distributes food-filled backpacks to children America, the largest food insecure. from families tagged with food insecurity. hunger-relief organization In addition to volin the nation. The organi- Feeding Tampa Bay offers a variety of volunteer opporunteering, monetary tunities from sorting food in its warehouse to distributing zation operates similarly to donations are apprefood with its mobile pantries. a distributor as it collects, ciated and accepted. The local food bank’s efforts are sorts, stores, and supplies food to Every one dollar predominantly behind-the-scenes. frontline organizations like local donated equates to However, Publix Super Market church pantries, soup kitchens, the ten meals. To make a Charities, a longstanding financial Boys & Girls Club, and Metropolitan monetary donation, supporter of Feeding Tampa Bay, Ministries. It is the backbone and visit feedingtamrecently, donated refrigerated trailers unsung hero of the entire food relief to serve as mobile pantries. The network in Tampa Bay. Feeding Tampa traveling pantries afford the workingAccording to Jayci Peters, Bay is located at poor greater accessibility to food as Feeding Tampa Bay’s Director of 4702 Transport Dr., they drive into neighborhoods conMarketing and Communications, Tampa. It is a 501 (c) sidered high-need. Additionally, the “Ninety-five percent of the people we (3) Tax Exempt refrigerated trailers offer healthier serve live in a home. They go to work organization. options, such as fresh produce and every day, but they just don’t make Donations and contrimeats. enough to meet all their needs and butions are taxFeeding Tampa Bay is also to sort food items as well as distribute pay bills. Many times, they will have a proud to offer a variety of volunteer deductible. For further details or to food with the mobile pantries. medical emergency, but anything can volunteer, please visit opportunities for all ages. For those “We have opened up volunteer cause someone to go into food or call 254who wish to volunteer on a regular opportunities for ages much younger curity,” she explained. 1190. basis, its warehouse needs individuals than most nonprofits. Once a month, Dr. Amir Boules

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Page 6 • • May 2017

Brandon Foundation’s Angel Program Serves Local Families

Staff Report

The program matches businesses and individuals in the community to meet practical needs such as plumbers, lawn or pool care services as well as delivering meals or connecting them with local charities for food or medical assistance. The Angel services also include helping them plan budgets or offering counseling to handle their grief and pain. Many times, families don’t know what they need as they are still in a state of shock, but trained volunteers can offer them reassurance and hope that they are not alone. Liz Brewer, Exec. Director, Dave Williams, forThere is also a Junior Angels mer Bucs Receiver, Michael Clayton, host of Program for middle and high school Studio 10 Live and an Angel family. students, which prepares youth to be “Angels come in all shapes and sizes future community leaders. Jill Lansky, and work in mysterious ways,” said Liz Angel chair, arranges activities Junior Brewer, Executive Director at the each month the students can volunteer Brandon Foundation. Since 2006, the for. “We’ve partnered with the Brandon Foundation Angel Program has Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office to served families in the Greater Brandon Care Backpacks for the homemake community affected by a life threatening less and distributed at their homeless disease or catastrophic event. The “Angels” she refers to are volunteers who initiative event in January, volunteered to help families at the Gift of Hope in serve as Angel Teams who meet with and made blankets for December, families and help them in their greatest patients in the intensive care at time of need. Brandon Hospital. It’s a great way for When a family is approved to be in our young people to learn about volunthe program, an Angel Team is sent to teerism at an early age,” said Lansky. their home to assess what their greatest Students receive community service needs are. Sometimes it is financial to help them meet requirements hours assistance, such as paying an electric or house payment. The Team Leaders give for scholarships. “The Foundation is ‘connecting’ gift cards at the initial visit to help them people in need to people who want to with gas or food expenses, which can help and it’s a beautiful thing” said Jodi have a big impact on a family’s finances Chadwell, Foundation President. Visit when having to miss work for treatments or call 689-6889. or to care for a loved one.

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Your Monthly Catch Local Happenings In Our Community A Christ Chix And Her King

A Christ Chix and Her King, the latest woman’s devotional by Nikki Brown is available for order at, or Amazon. This woman's devotional deals with building your relationship with God as well as with those whom you love. This book is power packed with information that will take your relationships to higher heights and deeper depths beyond what you could ever imagination. This is Brown’s second devotional book in her Christ Chix Series. In January 2014, Brown's life was altered after being diagnosed with fibromyalgia. She began blogging on Facebook (Healthy Living with Nikki Brown) as a way to cope with her new illness and as a way to inspire other woman dealing with chronic pain. The more Nikki blogged, the more she realized that she was destined to write Christian books. Brown, originally born as Olivia Harris, is originally from Eustis, FL. She moved to Tampa to attend the University of South Florida where she earned a bachelor's degree in English. She currently lives in Valrico, FL where she is a sixth grade Language Arts teacher, a wife, and a mother of two children. Currently, Brown is planning her first conference: The Christ Chix Movement and writing her third devotional book A Christ Chix and Her Son.

Annual Walk For Life

LifeCare Network's Annual Walk For Life is on Saturday, May 6 from 9 a.m. 11 a.m. Join in for family fun activities, music, walk for life and a kids fun run. This year's event will be held at a new location, Brandon High School, 1101 Victoria St. in Brandon.

through many trials and triumphs following her divorce. Both books are available through, the author,, and at the Hillsborough County Public Library.

The Annual Walk For Life is an easy, fun way to get involved and make a difference for life. You can help LifeCare advance its mission to protect and preserve the Sanctity of Human Life by signing up to participate. Everyone is welcome. Join in as a

Community And Families United Worship And Prayer Service

pledge-raising walker or register for the kids fun run. Walkers and runners are encouraged to get sponsors to help them reach their fundraising goal. The Walk For Life inspires a culture of life in our community. The event will also include refreshments, bounce houses, face painting, balloons, and music from a live band. For more information, visit or contact Jessica at 654-0491 or

Luncheon For Brandon Christian Women’s Connection Features Summer Fashions

The Brandon Christian Women’s Connection is finishing this season’s luncheons on Monday, May 8 with a fashion show, Summer Fun Fashions, by Bon Worth. The luncheon and enter-


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tainment is $15. First time guests pay $10. There is no membership required and it is interdenominational; all ladies are warmly welcomed. The luncheon will take place at Bell Shoals Baptist Church in the Special Event Center, located at 2102 Bell Shoals Rd. in Brandon from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. A reservation is requested by Monday, May 1. Please call Lillie at 740-0098. Lunches and bible studies will commence again in September.

Candace Edwards Has Second Book Published

In her second testimony book, His Grace is Sufficient: Seeing God’s Strength in Weakness, Edward expresses how God uses His divine strength in her own weaknesses to bring glory to Him. She incorporates Biblical characters and their redemptive stories to exemplify God’s grace despite their flaws. Edward understands that readers are often on the go, which does not give them a lot of time to read, so she transformed the first published book I Have a Story to Tell: Seeing God’s Faithfulness through My Life into a 2 disc audiobook. In the audiobook, Edward expresses how God’s faithfulness carried her

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Join in for a Community and Family United Worship and Prayer Service to be held on Sunday, May 7 from 6-8 p.m. at Brown Memorial Church of God in Christ, located at 2313 E. 27th Ave. in Tampa. Host Pastor is Bishop Matthew Williams. Call 744-6256 for details.

Visit Of International Centennial Pilgrim

Saint Anne Parish received a visit from the Alliance of the Holy Family International the end of March, during the Parish’s Lenten Observance. The International Centennial Pilgrim Image of Our Lady of Fatima was displayed during this visit. There are only six of these precious statues in the world, all of which were made in Fatima. This celebration was in honor of Our Heavenly Mother Mary who appeared 100 years ago in Fatima, Portugal on the 13th of every month from May through October to three peasant children. Fatima’s enduring message is for world peace through prayer. This year, the Parish will go on a Pilgrimage to Fatima from April 24 through May 5. Saint Anne Catholic Church is located at U.S. Hwy. 41 and 11th Ave., N.E. in Ruskin. For more information about the Parish, visit

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Page 8 • • May 2017

Traditional High Tea & Raffle Supports PEO, Women's Education Ladies, are you looking for an excuse to adorn yourself with pearls and don a fancy hat? If so, grab your gal pals for a traditional High Tea on Saturday, May 13 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., at Riverview United Methodist Church. The local Chapter AM-DV of P.E.O. (Philanthropic Educational Organization) International is hosting the High Tea as a fundraising event to support and celebrate the advancement of women in education. Since 1869, P.E.O. International has helped tens of thousands of women achieve their educational goals through scholarships, grants, and low-interest loans. The Sisterhood originated in Iowa with only seven members. Today, the organization consists of nearly a quarter of a million members in thousands of chapters hailing from all 50 states and Canada. Fran Carillo, the former president of the local Chapter AM-DV, expressed much gratitude for the organization as she shared her special connection. “I went to college at the age of 37. When I was doing my teaching internship in 1978, the chapter nominated me for a Program of Continuing Education grant. At the time, I wasn’t working because of my internship, so the money really helped. ... Then when I retired 20 years

By Amanda Boston

Live Like You Mean It We Are Children Of Promise!

By Derek Maul

P.E.O. International is a philanthropic organization assisting women in educational pursuits through grants, scholarships and loans.

later from teaching, I joined P.E.O. to help other women. I have been a member since 1999,” Carrillo said. The High Tea will feature varieties of teas accompanied by scones served with clotted cream and jam, chocolate-covered strawberries and other assorted desserts. For those with savory palates, the menu will include pinwheel sandwiches, chicken salad croissant sandwiches, and cucumber sandwiches. The elegant event will boast traditional fine China table settings, beautifully hand-made boxed candy favors and lovely photo opportunities. Additionally, guests can expect door prizes, a raffle for themed baskets, and a 50/50 raffle, adding to the fun and benefitting the noble cause. Tea ticket prices are $20 per person, with the proceeds going towards scholarships for young women. Tickets are sold as single seats, but you may reserve a table for a group of six or eight women. The church is located at 8002 US Hwy. 301 S. in Riverview. Contact Connie Mosley at 766-7104 or Fran Carrillo at 677-6836. Visit

“Now we too, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise.” – Galatians 4:2 A couple of weeks back, my mother spent a few days in the hospital. The week was long, grueling, and often frustrating, full with tests and examinations and consultations. The bottom line is that we now know a lot more about why my mother has not been feeling well, what to look for going forward, why going to the emergency room was exactly the right thing to do given her symptoms, and why we want to absolutely avoid being admitted to the hospital ever again if at all possible. I also learned more about how faith plays in. I believe that divine healing is something real; but we are mortal beings, and our identity as Children of Promise is more far-reaching, challenging, and complete than good check-ups and an easy life. In fact, I’d argue that living into my calling to be a disciple of Jesus is far more likely to set me up for a life of challenge than it is a life of ease. God does not steer us around the valley and the shadow, but God’s promise is, “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are

close beside me” (Psalm 23:4). These are words to live by; these are words to struggle by; these are words to struggle with; these are words to encourage us; these are words to give us courage. What we need is not so much physical healing (it’s only temporary, even Lazarus died again later) what we need is courage. And courage is part of our identity as Children of Promise. To live well is not to live pain free, or trouble free; to live well is to live into our identity as Children of Promise. We are a people called to follow Jesus, called to live as God’s own children, called to represent light, and love, and hope, and grace. We are called to not only be disciples, but to look like – to be recognizable as – Children of Promise! Derek Maul has written for many news outlets, including the Tampa Tribune, The United Methodist News Service, All Pro Dad, FOCUS Magazine, Newsweek, USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, Presbyterians Today, Guideposts, Chicken Soup for the Soul and many other publications. Read Derek Maul’s daily blog posts at

2017 Camps Offer Many Options To Keep Kids Engaged This Summer It’s only the start of spring, but before you know, the dog days of summer will be upon us. What can you do to keep the kids entertained? Where can they go to try new things, learn how to swim, meet new friends and have great adventures and even learn about places and cultures far away? There are many options to choose from locally that will fit the bill. The staff at the Osprey Observer has collected the top recommendations for local summer camps and created this special pull out section. Maybe your kids would like to spend the summer “horsing around.” R&R Ranch offers just that opportunity, and not just to learn to horseback ride, but also about the care of the horses. At Music Showcase, music and theatre take the stage and so can your child. Musicals such as The Lion King Jr. and Legally Blonde Jr. will be offered, and your child can hold starring roles in these and other popular musicals offered from the Florida Academy of Performing Arts for children ages 5 and up. The local YMCAs will offer many types of camps which mix fun along with great learning experiences. With choices of half or full day camps,

there is something for everyone. LEGOs and robotics take center stage at the camps offered by TechplayZone. Introduce your kids to hands-on fun that will both enrich and entertainment them. Camp Superkids at A Child’s Haven offers field trips twice a week. Do you want your kids to retain the math skills they learned during the school year? Mathnasium is the place to help give them a strong start in the fall. For dates, prices and registration information on these and more, turn the page and enjoy this special section and have a great summer. Your kids will use a lot of STEAM by enjoying the science and tech camps offered this summer by MOSI. Your kids can experiment with many different things that will be offered. For the artist in your family, sign them up for workshops to learn about painting, drawing, pottery, modeling and more at Center Place Fine Arts. With weekly themes utilizing age-specific activities and field trips that make BSAC unique, your kids will enjoy every moment of summer camp. Did we miss one? Let us know by e-mailing subject line “Summer Camp” to and we will be sure to add our full listing online.

P.O. Box 6099 • Brandon, FL 33508


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discover the innovator within. Instruction in the camps are by certified teachers and experienced science and technology educators in a positive envi-

Find Fun Activities For Your Budding Artists At Center Place Fine Arts

Who knew that art could be so much fun? This summer, you can sign up your budding artists, ages 7 to 16, for workshops at Center Place Fine Arts. Learn about painting, drawing, pottery, modeling and more. Workshops include Art Journaling, Art Mural, Build a Beach Party, Charm, Etiquette & Modeling, Collage, Creative 3-D Masks, Cruise around the World, Fantasy Sculptures, Paper Sculptures, Pet Sculptures, Print Making, Project Role-Model, Recycled Art, Space Art and Wet & Wild Canvases. Classes are offered from Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Register today by calling 685-8888 or visit

we are about creating the experiences that expand interests and make dreams a reality. Doing real science with the tools and technologies used by industry professionals is just one way MOSI Summer Science

MOSI Offers Lots Of Choice Science And Tech Camps

When school is out, MOSI is in. Get in-depth and hands-on with your favorite Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) subjects or try something totally new. Enjoy hands-on experience and building projects. From extracting DNA to launching rockets and building robots,

Camps inspire our campers with a can-do attitude that can last a lifetime. Real science coupled with exciting experiments, simulations, explorations, and inventions will help you

ronment. There will be opportunities to conduct experiments and use cutting-edge equipment and technology. Your kids will have access to current science and technology in one of the best science centers in the world. Summer Camp at MOSI will take place from Tuesday, May 29 through Wednesday, August 9. Upgrades available for extended care from 7–9 a.m. and 4–6 p.m. and daily hot lunches are available. Register online at or call 987-6000 for more information. MOSI is located at 4801 E. Fowler Ave. in Tampa.

Enjoy Music And More This Summer At The Florida Academy Of Performing Arts

Full and half day camps are available for kids ages 5 and up at The Florida Academy of Performing Arts

(FAOPA) at Music Showcase. Kids will enjoy drums, acting, guitar, field trips, singing and games and more. Musical Theatre productions of The Lion King Experience, Jr., Legally Blonde the Musical, Jr., Winnie the Pooh Kids and Doctor Dolittle Jr. will all take place this summer.

For more information, call 4902787 or visit

Your Kids Will Enjoy The Best Summer Ever At Y Camps

The local YMCA’s are offering a Passport to the Best Summer Ever from Tuesday, May 30 through Friday, August 4. Get ready for the total camp experience. Day Camp is separated by grade level and features a rotation of diverse activities including indoor games, outdoor recreation, team

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challenges, structured and free swim. The themes change weekly and range from Super Heroes to Around the World and everything in between. Specialty camps are for kids looking for something different. Choose from any number of skills and specialties. Sports camps are for the kid who is an athlete at heart. It is for those looking to try a new sport, or those simply curious about sports in general. The camps are full of fun with an emphasis on team work, sportsmanship and fundamentals. Aquatic camps include swim lessons and lots of fun water adventures guaranteed to keep kids active and engaged. Teen camps are for those looking to develop leadership skills. Gymnastic camps are for all skill levels from beginner to advance. Adaptive camps are available for campers with special needs ensuring fun and inclusion for all. For info on the North Brandon location, call 685-5402, Campo Family location, call 684-1371, Camp Cristina, call 677-8400 or please register online at

Ostingers Baseball Camp Will Hold Three Sessions This Summer Ostingers Baseball Camp will give your child ages 7-14 years old a better understanding of the game of baseball, through instruction, drills, and games. Having a good time while learning the fundamentals will be the main focus of the camp. The instructors have 30 years combined professional playing and coaching experience. Kids will receive daily fundamental drills and activities for: Throwing, Pitching, Hitting, Fielding, Base Running, and Mental Game. There will be games at the end of the week to evaluate progress. Session 1 will take place Monday-Friday June 5 to 9, Session 2 – Monday-Friday, July 10-14 and Session 3 from Monday-Friday, July 24-28. Camp will take place at FishHawk Sports Complex from 8:30 a.m.-12:30

pm. The cost is $175 per camper. Second child costs $125. Space is limited so register early to hold your spot. Call 737-3000 or visit

TechPlayzone Offers Hands-On Technology Enrichment In Fun & Safe Environment

TechPlayzone has led the charge for engaging young people in science, technology, engineering, and math since 2005. With an increased demand for hands-on technology enrichment,

TechPlayzone has continued to provide families with excellent curriculum, and fun in a safe environment for all kids. Give your child a high-

tech advantage at TechPlayzone this summer. TechPlayzone Engineering Camp - TechPlayzone is pleased to partner with the Doolittle Institute to offer an engineering camp for young people in 2nd-12th grades. This will allow campers to build and program drone quad-copter robots, self-driving cars with sensors, and 3D print objects for use with Tetrix Robotics Systems. This camp has been developed for kids who enjoy problem-solving, designing, and building and will take place at 1528 Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico. Camps are weekly from Monday, June 5-Friday, August 4. The cost is $150 per week from 9 a.m.-12 Noon or 1-4 p.m. TechPlayzone STEM Camp TechPlayzone is pleased to partner with Families Instructing Students at Home (FISH) to offer an amazing STEM camp for all young people in 2nd-7th grade. TechPlayzone Camp at Bell Shoals

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Callaghan Baksetball Camp & Cougar Volleyball Camp @ Nativity Catholic School (gym)

Basketball Camp • $125 per sesson June 12th - June 16th 9am -12 Boys & Girls Grades 1-4 1pm - 4pm Boys & Girls Grades 5-8 Volleyball Camp • $50 per camper July 5th - 7th 9am - 12pm Boys & Girls Grads 4 - 10 Call Coach Callaghan for details: 813-719-0723


Award W inning STEM Camps Since 2005 Where Bright & Creative Kids Play to Learn

Baptist Church includes hands-on science experiments, LEGO Mindstorms Robotics, and Minecraft for Engineers. Campers rotate through hands-on activities. Each week is a different theme and campers enjoy different challenges every week. It will take place at Bell Shoals Baptist Church - The Annex, located at 2102 Bell Shoals Rd. in Brandon from 9 a.m.-12 Noon. This camp is for ages 7-11 and costs $125 per week. It will run Monday to Friday, July 10-14, July 24-28, and July 31-August 4. For information, visit, call 6847329 or email

5th Dimension Dance Center Focuses on Summer Intensives

If your child is interested in dance, 5th Dimension Dance Center strives to provide a stimulating environment, focused on providing stu-

dents of all ages with a unique, healthy and challenging dance experience. Intensives will be held this summer on: Monday to Friday, June 59 and also Monday to Friday, June 12-16 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. for ages 9 & up. Competition Team Auditions will be held at the end of each week of intensives and again on Saturday, July 15. A Mini Camp will be held Monday to Friday June 19-23 from 8 a.m. to 12 Noon for ages 8 and under. 5th Dimension Dance Center is located at 3239 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Valrico (just north of Bloomingdale Ave.). For more information or to register, please call 643-5332 or email m. Visit

Mathnasium Now Enrolling For Summer

You can keep your kids on track this summer by enrolling them at Mathnasium. The summer programs are designed to combat summer learning loss. Through their time spent during the summer at Mathnasium, your kids will retain all

they learned in math class this year giving them a strong start in the fall. Mathnasium offers help in math, enrichment, and test prep as well as homework help. There are two locations for you to choose from: 1048 E.

Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico - For information on the Valrico location, call 655-6284 or visit and 11446 US Hwy. 301 in Riverview. Call 6676284 or visit for more information.

classes. Whether your child is skilled in the arts or wants to participate for the very first time, it offers a fun-filled summer for students of all ages and skill levels at this state-of-the-art facility. There is a required $35 registration fee per student, or $60 per family. This fee is waived for Straz Center annual donors. To become a Straz Center donor, visit or call 2221040. Register online at or call 222-1040 or in person at the Patel Conservatory Admissions

Patel Conservatory Offers Dance, Theater And Music Camps, Classes

The Straz Center’s Patel summer classes and camps in Dance, Theater and Music will take place at Patel Conservatory, which is located at the STRAZ in downtown Tampa. Patel believes that every student, regardless of age or experience, deserves the opportunity to participate in the performing arts and discover their creative potential. The Conservatory offers nationally recognized intensives, camps and

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Office/Chairmen’s Library. You can also register by mail: Download the Registration Form from and mail with payment to: Patel Conservatory Admissions Office Attn: Admissions Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N. W.C. MacInnes Place, Tampa, FL 33602 For more information, visit

Spanish and Music. This summer camp is all about the journey to discover what suits each camper’s personality – the quest to discover what they like best. Kids will enjoy outdoor playgrounds with a water park. Trained professionals that are certified in CPR and first aid are on staff. There is security code access entry and free Internet viewing of your child’s day. It is now enrolling for summer camp. The cost is $160 per week and includes meals, trips and transportation. Kids R Kids Valrico is located

FishHawk Ranch Tennis Club Offers Tennis For All Levels Of Skill

FishHawk Ranch Tennis Club is offering its 5th Annual Tennis Camp for your child ages 6 and up. Full day camps include plenty of tennis games and fun. Kids cool down in an air conditioned event room, and during lunch times engage in other fun outdoor and indoor games. On Fridays, campers walk down to the Starling pool and game room for a nice finish to the week. All levels from Beginning to Advanced. Register online at or call the Pro Shop at 681-4000.

at 4321 Lynx Paw Trail in Valrico. Call 657-6200. Kids 'R' Kids Learning Academy of Circa/FishHawk is located at 5815 Kids Crossing Dr. in Lithia. Call 654-7000. Visit

BSAC Offers A Lot Of Fun Activities For Kids This Summer

What can you do to keep your kids active and happy this summer? Splash into summer with the best summer camp around. At Brandon Sports and Aquatic Center (BSAC) your child gets the old-fashioned

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Our instructors have 30 years combined professional playing and coaching experience.

Get Ready For Kids ‘R’ Kids Most Interactive Summer Adventure Ever

Discover and explore a unique camp each week. During Kids R Kids 10 week summer camp series, campers will explore their hidden talents, potential passions and intriguing interests. Each boy and girl will experience art and cooking, engineering and community service,

3239 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. | Valrico, FL (just north of Bloomingdale Ave.)

(813) 643-5332

5th Dimension Dance Center

June 5th - 9th Intensives 9:00 am - 4:00 pm - Ages 9 & up June 12th - 16th Intensives 9:00 am - 4:00 pm - Ages 9 & up June 19th - 23rd Mini Intensives 8:00 am - 12:00 pm - Ages 8 & under Competition Team Auditions will be held at the end of each week of intensives and again on July 15th. Please call or email for registration and pricing information today!!!

Session 1 June 5-9 (M-F)

Session 2 July 10-14 (M-F)

Session 3 July 24-28 (M-F)

Location: FishHawk Sports Complex Space is Limited Age Group: 7 - 14 yrs Register Early Time: 8:30 am to 12:30 pm to hold your spot! Cost: $175/camper **(Second Child $125) **Multi week discounts

Daily Instruction • Games • Pitching/Catching Fundamentals Addressed • Drills For More Information:

Call 813.737.3000 or visit our website at

camp experience you had as a child, with some modern technology, like Wii Challenge Competitions, thrown in. BSAC has the most comprehensive summer camp in the greater Brandon area for ages 3 to 14. With weekly themes come corresponding age-specific activities and field trips that make our summer camp unique. In addition, each child has the opportunity to experience all of the sports that you have come to expect at BSAC; swimming, tennis, diving and more. Lunches and snacks can be brought from home or purchased from the full concession bar. Camp runs from Tuesday, May 30 through Wednesday, August 9. Full day camps run from 7 a.m.-6:30 p.m. and half day camps from 7 a.m.-12:30 p.m. or from 1-6:30 p.m. BSAC is located at 405 Beverly Blvd. in Brandon. For more information, call 689-0908 or visit

Callaghan Sports Camps Offer Basketball and Volleyball

Callaghan Sports Camps has been running basketball and volleyball camps at Nativity Catholic School for the past 11 years. Callaghan Basketball Camp and Cougar Volleyball Camp will be held at Nativity Catholic School in the gym.

Basketball Camp will run from MondayFriday, June 1216 from 9 a.m.-12 Noon for boys and girls in grades 1-4. Boys and girls in grades 5-8 will

play from 1-4 p.m. Volleyball Camp will be held Wednesday-Friday, July 5-7 from 9 a.m. to 12 Noon for boys and girls in grades 410. Coach Patrick Callaghan has a B.S. from the University of South Florida in Physical Education and has coached basketball at the middle school, high school and AAU level. He has been the

recipient of the All-sports award for HCYSL for coach of the year three times in the last 10 years. Coach Callaghan has also been the head volleyball coach for one of the top volleyball programs in the catholic league. A camp T-shirt is included. For more information, call Coach Callaghan at 719-0723..

Page 15 • • May 2017

Our Residents Are Always On The Move!

PROtentional Sports Summer Camps Focus On Character Development The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends children and adolescents do 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day. For 14 years, PROtentional Sports has assisted children in Tampa Bay achieve this fitness goal with its afterschool and summer camp sports programs. Since its launch in Heritage Isles in 2003, the franchise has expanded into 14 different locations throughout the Tampa Bay area. Tony and Nyree Bland are the proprietary owners and operators of PROtentional Sports. A Florida native, Tony was a former football player for the Minnesota Vikings, and his wife, Nyree, a highly ranked junior tennis player who reached professional status. From their experience, the couple witnessed how lessons on the sports field often translated to real life situations. They developed a sports franchise centered on teaching life skills through sports. "We are teaching life skills and are not trying to crank out superstar athletes. The students get better at sports by being exposed to it every day through enthusiastic and talented coaches," stated Julie Garretson, the district manager for PROtentional Sports. With a background in physical education and passion for sports, Garretson

By Amanda Boston

manages and trains the coaches. The coaching staff retains a few high-caliber athletes PROtentional Sports from the summer camps teach NFL, MLB, children life skills through NBA and sports. MLS. However, Garretson explained, “Not all great athletes make great coaches. We have to make sure the coaches are a good fit for the kids. The coaches all try out and go through training. Tony and Nyree are very hands-on and are still coaching. They take pride in what they do and want to make sure their coaches are working just as hard as they did when they first started.” A typical day at summer camp begins at 9 a.m. with daily swimming, followed by sports skills and drills. At 12 Noon, the campers eat lunch and have a short relaxation period. Then from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., the camp resumes with exciting sports activities and scrimmages. Summer camp is available at the Riverview communities of Panther Trace and Rivercrest. The camps operate on a weekly basis from the first day of summer vacation through the last day of vacation. Camp hours are Monday - Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for ages 5 to 13 years with before and after care available at an extra cost. During the school year, after-school programs are available at the Riverview locations. For information, visit or call 843-9460.


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Page 16 • • May 2017

Twin Creeks Assisted Living And Memory Care Will Open Its First Community In Florida

By Tatiana Ortiz

Once they move in here it becomes their home,” Shane Potter, NHA, Twin Creeks executive director said. The Front view of Twin Creeks Assisted Living and Riverview Memory Care. location will Residents at Twin Creeks Assisted consist of a Living and Memory Care in Riverview can 96 bed, 80 feel right at home with the numerous apartment services and activities that will be providassisted lived to them. With plans to open in June ing facility with memory care. Out of the 2017, Twin Creeks Assisted Living and 96 beds, 32 beds will be licensed for Memory Care will be accepting a full memory care. Residents can discover refundable $500 deposit to reserve a numerous community amenities such as space. This will also be its first location in a game room, library, fitness room and Florida. more. Individuals can also participate in For more than 30 years, Retirement wellness classes, gardening and other Living Associates, Inc. earned the trust of activities. The restaurant at Twin Creeks communities and their families, which Assisted Living and Memory Care serves spans the entire southern east coast from nutritious meals for breakfast, lunch and North Carolina to Florida. Owner and dinner seven days a week. President David Ammons oversees all of What sets this place apart from all the Retirement Living Associates, Inc. other assisted living facilities is that it will communities to make sure it measures to implement a program called PAC his standards. The organization provides (Positive Approach to Care) Training senior living services to more than 2,000 through Teepa Snow’s organization. residents in a variety of communities. It Potter became certified in it and the prowill be licensed as an assisted living facili- gram will be used in the memory care ty with a standard license. In addition, it unit. will be licensed as an ECC (Extended For more information, visit www.twinCongregate Care License). The office is open “The Extended Congregate Care Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 License allows residents to age in place. p.m. Call 551-2333.

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Page 17 • • May 2017

Grace Notes

Asking The Hard Question

By Debora Coty

I had a transformation this week. Unexpected. Humbling. Glorious. For the last two months, I’ve been unable to hear out of my right ear; noises were completely muffled as if I were under water. Many sounds were lost to me altogether … birdsong, someone calling me from the next room, the telephone ringing. I had difficulty understanding someone talking to me unless I could see their lips. In a restaurant or public place with background noise, I was unable to discern specific voices. Nothing helped. We tried roto-rootering the ear canal, antibiotics, antihistamines, anti-everything we could think of. In the end, two different doctors admitted they had no idea why my ear decided to close up shop. It was as if an involuntary earlid (like an eyelid) had battened down the hatch and refused to be pried back open. I felt like an old woman with an ear trumpet repeatedly droning to everyone trying to speak to me, “Eh? Eh? Eh?” So I did what we do when all else fails: I prayed. Okay, so I had been praying about it all along, but my own little hearing problem was relegated toward the bottom of my priority list after petitioning healing for my friends battling for their lives with cancer. And then, my faith approach was admittedly weak, as in, “Lord, help me find the right doctor who can fix this.” But I finally reached the end of my

rope and hit my knees in earnest on my own behalf, pouring out my need to the Great Physician. I prayed specifically that Papa God would send a grace note (my term for everyday miracles) my way and open that sucker up in time for my 70s High School class reunion so I could hear my classmates’ voices over the background music. After eight long weeks of unwanted silence, the day before the reunion, I woke up to birds singing outside my window? Whoa! I could hardly believe it – I could actually hear those little fellas tweeting! Sweetest sound on earth. (Why are we always so surprised to get a miracle when we pray for one?) Sure enough, my hearing was fully restored. Wow. BIG wow. It was a grace note alright. Because that’s what Papa does: heaps grace on top of more grace. He loves to surprise His children with gifts wrapped in a ribbon of glorious grace. What grace-gifts has your Papa God surprised you with lately?

Debora M. Coty is an inspirational speaker and award-winning author of over 100 articles and 13 books, including Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolate, More Beauty, Less Beast, and Too Blessed to Be Stressed. Debora also teaches writing workshops. Visit

Arise Assembly Of God At Brandon Will Soon Open

By Libby Hopkins

contemporary praise and worship, and relevant, practical and motivational messages. Lives are changed, renewed Pastor Brent Simpson (far right) and his staff Simpson plan to open the and building up to community for events. refreshed Ephesians 2:21-22 says, “In whom at every worship experience. “The church the whole structure, being joined togethis the group of faithful Jesus-followers,” er, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. Simpson said. “The building is just a In him you also are being built together place we assemble before heading back into a dwelling place for God by the out into the community to do ministry. Spirit.” Pastor Brent Simpson and his The building will be large, state of the art congregation at Arise Assembly of God at and a blessing to our community.” Brandon can relate to this verse because Simpson and his congregation plan their church is expanding. “The new to open the building up to community for church will seat close to 900 guests and events, Brandon community theater, is located on Pauls Dr. behind the post school graduations, and the like. “The office and near the Brandon Chamber of new campus is just a tool that the church Commerce building,” Simpson said. “It is will use to bless the community and just under 33,000 sq. ft. We should be share the gospel of Jesus Christ,” holding our first worship experiences at Simpson said. “Our mission as a church the end of this summer, around August.” is to help our community experience Arise Assembly of God at Brandon is God, not just in our new campus, but a rapidly growing and vibrant community also in Walmart, our company breakof followers of Jesus Christ. You can rooms and our homes. It is my strong expect to find a multicultural and multibelief that the revival that is coming to racial congregation of worshipers that are America will not simply take place in our warm, friendly and welcoming of all. “We sanctuaries, but will overflow into the have seen great growth over the last marketplace just as it did in Acts 2. Our seven years and are currently having church buildings simply become the ‘hudfour Sunday services to accommodate dles’ where we game plan for how we go this growth,” Simpson said. “We are back into our environments to do minbuilding our new campus out of necessity istry. and our church has grown.” Visit or call The Sunday worship experiences 689-2345. Located at 710 S. Kings Ave. are a dynamic blend of powerful prayer, in Brandon.

NOW OPEN South Brandon 2010 Bloomingdale Ave Hours: 6am-10pm

Page 18 • • May 2017

Area Church Directory

BAPTIST Bay Life Church 1017 Kingsway Ave, Brandon (813) 661-3696 Bell Shoals Baptist Church 2102 Bell Shoals Rd, Brandon (813) 689-4229 Bell Shoals - Apollo Beach Campus 6414 Golf and Sea Blvd, Apollo Beach (813) 641-2222 First Baptist Church of Brandon 216 N Parsons Ave, Brandon (813) 689-1204 First Baptist Church of Gibsonton 9912 Indiana St. Gibsonton 813-677-1301 First Baptist Church of Ruskin 820 W. College, Ruskin (813) 645-6439 FishHawk Fellowship 15326 Fishhawk Blvd, Lithia, (813) 655-7431 Grace Baptist Temple 2909 John Moore Rd. Brandon (813) 689-7190 Journey Church 1310 John Moore Road, Brandon (813) 699-8262 Shiloh Baptist Church 1104 Carson St. Plant City (813) 752-8345 South Bay Baptist Church 13498 US 301 So. Riverview 813-677-0721 CATHOLIC Nativity Catholic Church 705 E Brandon Blvd, Brandon (813) 681-4608 St. Anne Catholic Church 106 11th Ave. N.E Ruskin (813) 645-1714


St. Stephen Catholic Church 5049 Bell Shoals Rd, Valrico (813) 689-4900 CHURCH OF GOD Boyette Springs Church of God 12114 Boyette Rd, Riverview (813) 671-0086 EPISCOPAL Holy Innocents' Episcopal Church 604 N. Valrico Rd, Valrico (813) 689-3130 LUTHERAN Immanuel Lutheran Church 2913 John Moore Rd, Brandon (813) 689-1787 Living Savior Lutheran Church 2650 Lithia Pinecrest Rd, Valrico (813) 681-2375 METHODIST First United Methodist Church of Seffner 1310 South Kingsway Rd., Seffner (813) 689-3513 Grace Community United Methodist Church 5708 Lithia Pinecrest Rd., Lithia (813) 661-8858 New Hope United Methodist Church 120 N. Knights Ave., Brandon (813) 689-4161 Riverview First United Methodist Church 8002 US Hwy 301 South, Riverview Ruskin United Methodist Church 105 4th Ave. NW Ruskin (813) 645-1241 South Shore United Methodist Church 11525 Big Bend Road, Riverview (813) 649-9462 NON-DENOMINATIONAL Destiny Church 2322 11th Ave Se, Ruskin (813) 645-3337



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Hot Off The Christian News Wire By Kelly Wise Valdes week. Andrew already thought he was being censored, since he reached up to eight million people a month earlier with the gospel. To keep in more frequent contact with Andrew, he asks people to sign up for the One Million Americans on the LORD's Side email.

Christian International Film Festival Celebrates Five Years

Facebook Blocks 20 Million People From Pastor’s Posts

Steven Andrew has been called the Facebook pastor and was asked to run for president by social media fans. He reached as many as one million people on a post. However, he believes Facebook censored 20 million people from him since November. Andrew is pastor of USA Christian

Church and author of Jesus Makes America Great. He contacted Facebook, but the company brushed it off. Andrew's analysis showed he reached 4.6 million people per 28 days in October/November 2016. But now his posts are shown to about 600,000 people per 28 days. That is about one million less people per

The 2017 International Christian Film Festival, presented by 24 Flix, in Association with 4G Films is one of the fastest growing film festivals in the world. The annual event that started as a small festival in Orlando has become the largest Christian Film Festival in the world and is also the most respected. It has been called the Academy Awards for Christian Filmmakers. It is also the only Christian Film Festival that has a screening in France each year during the Cannes Film Festival. More than 503 films were submitted from 40 different countries and in addition, more than 2,500 people are expected to attend this year's festivi-

The Case For Christ Movie Opens Strong at Box Office

The film The Case for Christ debuted in April at the box office in the top 10 movies. According to, the film grossed close to $8,500,000 in the first two weeks of release. In addition, it’s the first film from Pure Flix studios to receive more positive than negative ratings from the critics. Although the studio’s previous films, such as God’s Not Dead were popular with Christian audiences, it didn’t receive favorable reviews from critics. The film tells the compelling true story of atheist journalist Lee Strobel who sets out to prove that Christianity isn’t true, but finds that such a task is more than he bargained for. Strobel ultimately must grapple with the evidence for the historical Jesus, as well as a Jesus who is alive and well today. The film also follows the conflict that emerges in Strobel’s marriage when his wife, Leslie, becomes a Christian. To watch the trailer, visit

ties. This year's red carpet will broadcast live on TATV. It has partnered with the festival this year to broadcast the award ceremony at a later date. Viewers can watch at via Apple TV. For more information, visit

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Page 20 • • May 2017

LOCAL CHRISTIAN NEWS Compiled by Michelle Colesanti 6 from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. – Praise & Worship with Speakers Jon Couch, This Day The theme for Ministries, and CMU 2017 is “ONE” Pastor Keith which is based on Babb, The Way Ephesians 4:1-6. With Church of Tampa this conference, the Bay followed by focus is on racial unity lunch and an and reconciliation withopen forum on in God’s collective race in the church. church. The attempt is The conferto bring as many ence will be held Tampa Bay area pasat Grace tors and the men of Community their congregations United Methodist together under one Church, located roof to be the example at 5708 Lithia of racial reconciliation Pinecrest Rd. in to the world. White, Derek Machin, age 7, hits Pastor Michael Lithia. Ticket Hagerman, Children’s Pastor at Destiny prices are $35 black, and Hispanic Church with a whipped cream pie. brothers just want to for adults, $25 worship and fellowship with others that for youth, college students, pastors look like them. This isn’t right and God and military. cannot be pleased with what He sees. For information or to register, visit John 17:20-23 says that all believers are or call supposed to be the epitome of unity and 220-5296. love so that the world will know that Jesus was sent by God. Children of Destiny Church Raise The schedule is as follows: Friday, Missions Funds May 5 from 7-10 p.m. - Praise & Worship Pastor Mike challenged the chilwith speaker Pastor HB Charles, Shiloh dren of Destiny Church’s Kidz Factory Church, from Jacksonville; Saturday May to raise over $1,000 for the Boys and

Men’s Conference; ‘ONE’ To Be Held At Grace Community UMC

Girls Missionary Crusade (BGMC) in the month of March. All the money raised is used to purchase literature for missionaries in the United States and in foreign countries. March Missions Madness challenges the children to bring change every week to Kidz Factory to achieve their goals. Adults help by donating loose change occasionally as well. Pastor Mike said that if the children raise $4,000 for the year for BGMC that he will dye his hair any color that the children choose.

Help For Quitting Tobacco

Quitting tobacco isn't easy. Finding help should be. Tobacco Free Florida offers free tools and services to help you get started. Free community worksite and clinic groups will be offered, with programs covering all forms of tobacco. Free Nicotine replacement patches, gum and lozenges will be available, while supplies last and if medically appropriate. Locally, classes will be available: Monday, May 15 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Oakfield Medical Plaza, 276 S. Moon Ave., Ste. 260 in Brandon; Tuesday, April 25 from 5:30-

7:30 p.m. at Bloomingdale Regional Library, 1906 Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico. Pre-registration is required by calling 9747889. For additional classes, visit

2017 Cowboy-Up National Day of Prayer Gathering

Skipper Calder and Cowboy-Up Church is announced its plans to host a local National Day of Prayer gathering to be held at the Hillsborough County Fairgrounds in Dover on Thursday, May 4, from 6:30-8 p.m. Friends and neighbors are invited to join CowboyUp Church as they pray for God’s blessing upon America. Inspirational videos will begin at 7 p.m., followed by a short teaching about prayer, corporate national repentance, and prayers for America. For information on the Cowboy-Up Ministry, visit or contact Roberta Pliscott at 458-3506 or

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Page 21 • • May 2017

John The Disciple Pens New Book While In Exile By Kelly Wise Valdes John Boanerges, one of the followers of Jesus, was recently released from being held hostage on the island of Patmos for an undisclosed amount of time. After his emancipation, he released a book called Revelation that is reported to be included as the last book of the Bible. John is son of Zebedee and Salome, brother of James, the Apostle. John, along with his brother James and the Apostles Peter and Andrew were all partners in a fishing business prior to their calls by Jesus to follow Him. Jesus often referred to him as the Beloved Disciple. The apostle John rose to a position of influence within Christianity and shortly before the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, he moved to Turkey. He became the pastor of the church in Turkey and had a special relationship with other churches in the area. While in Turkey, the Roman Emperor Domitian exiled John to Patmos, a small, rocky island in the Aegean Sea. Because of its rocky, barren and desolate nature, the Roman government used the island as a place of banishment. In what is known as the cave of the Apocalypse (located on this island), the sacred text of the Book of Revelation was given to the apostle John by Jesus. According to his neighbor, Jonas of Bethesda, “John was a man of action; he

was very ambitious; and a man with an explosive temper when he was passionate about something.” An excerpt from the Book of Revelation gives his readers an insight of his time in exile, “I am John, your brother, and as a follower of Jesus I am your partner in patiently enduring the suffering that comes to those who belong to His Kingdom. I was put on the island of Patmos because I had proclaimed God’s Word and the truth that Jesus revealed. On the Lord’s Day the Spirit took control of me, and I heard a loud voice that sounded like a trumpet, speaking behind me. It said, ‘Write down what you see, and send the book to the churches in these seven cities.’” In addition to his newest book, Revelation, John also authored the Gospel of John, I John, II John and III John. Jesus inspired 12 ordinary men to leave their old lives behind and become followers of Him. Among these new followers were fishermen, a tax collector and a revolutionary. The Gospels record the failings, struggles and doubts of these twelve men who followed Jesus. This series will document one of the disciples each month in a fun way in order to learn more about how God turned each man from ordinary to extraordinary.

Page 22 • • May 2017

Hooked On Christian Books

By Kelly Wise Valdes

Whether we’re new moms or have been a mom for a while, we all need some help navigating this lifelong journey of motherhood. As Mother’s Day approaches, many mothers find themselves struggling to find their purpose. 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom By: Arlene Pellicane Beginning with a Scripture passage and ending with an action step and prayer, these 31 daily readings offer moms some inspiring stories, encouragement and wisdom. Find the keys to being a happy mom even in the midst of your busy days.

No More Perfect Moms By: Jill Savage With refreshing honesty, this book speaks to mothers everywhere to shelve their desires for perfection along with their insecurities of not measuring up to other moms. This book challenges every mom to exchange her vision of being a "perfect mother" for God's beautiful grace in order to learn to love her real, but imperfect life.

Be the Best Mom You Can Be By: Marina Slayton, Gregory W. Slayton

The Power of a Positive Mom, Revised Edition By: Karol Ladd Through this book, discover the power of positive words, learn how to pray for your kids, encourage family gratitude and more. Whether you're a working mom or a stay-at-home grandmother, it offers practical strategies for eternally influencing your children's life.

This practical, Biblically based book serves as an inspiration to any mother to live out her sacred calling as the way to discover her greatest joy. Discover six life-changing principles that will bring joy to your household and transform you into the best mom you can be.


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Page 23 • • May 2017

By Kelly Wise Valdes The Sedlec Ossuary, also known as the Church of Bones, is considered one of the most unusual churches in the world. This small chapel is located in Sedlec, Czech Republic and appears outwardly as an average medieval Gothic church. However, upon entering the Sedlec Ossuary, it is immediately apparent what makes this sanctuary so unique. The Sedlec Ossuary is artistically decorated with more than 40,000 human skeletons, which is why it is also known as the Church of Bones. One of the most fascinating artistic works inside the Sedlec Ossuary is the big chandelier of bones in the center of the church. The enormous chandelier contains at least one of every human bone. Another impressive artwork is a coat of arms of the Schwarzenberg family that is also made entirely of human bones. The history of the unusual church is as fascinating as the church itself. In 1278, the King of Bohemia sent a monk from the Sedlec Cistercian Monastery to Jerusalem. The monk returned with a jar of soil from the hill where Jesus was cru-

cified. The dirt became known as the “Holy Soil” and soon people from everywhere wanted to be buried in Sedlec, and the cemetery eventually had to be expanded. Many people would bring their dead relatives to be buried in the Holy Soil of Sedlec. Soon after, a plague caused the death of many people across Europe, causing the sick to pilgrimage to Sedlec before their death. In the 15th century, a Gothic church was built near the cemetery and its basement was used as a temporary place to house the deceased. The bones stayed there for centuries until 1870 when a woodcarver named Frantisek Rint was appointed to place the bones in order. Now, the church is adorned with more than 40,000 human bones arranged artistically. In 1970, 100 years after Rindt’s craftsmanship, a Czech filmmaker, Jan Svankmayer filmed a 10-minute documentary about the church. Unfortunately, there is no English version, only Czech. The church is open for tours to the public year-round. For more information about Sedlec Ossuary, visit www.


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Osprey Observer 2017-5 Christian Voice