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in the eye of the storm BBrraannddoonn •• VaVallrriiccoo •• LLiitthhiiaa •• SSeeffffnneerr •• RRiivveerrvviieeww •• PPllaanntt CCiittyy •• AAppoolllloo BBeeaacchh Volume 21, Issue 9

A Inc. Observer Inc. Osprey Observer from Osprey Publication from Free Publication A Free

September 2017

LifeCare Network Annual Fundraising Gala Helps Keep Community Services Available By Amanda Boston


Fundraiser For Bikes & Bibles Page 3

“In Hillsborough County alone, approximately 7,000 babies are being aborted each year. And 43% of women have had at least one abortion. We stand firm on the truth from God’s Word that life is created in His image and every life matters,” said Kristen Mosley, the Executive Director of the LifeCare Network in Brandon. The LifeCare Network exists to lead those they From left to right, Kristen Mosley, curserve to know Christ, protect rent Executive Director, Karen Brooks, the sanctity of human life and former Executive Director and Jessica Rickenbach, Development Director promote biblically based sexwomen to choose life for uality according to God’s plan empower themselves and their babies. for marriage. The nonprofit down as the Executive ministry provides about 60 pregnancy Director, but she contintests per month and educates families ues to bless and assist facing an unplanned pregnancy. the organization as a Women are rendered services and Life Coach. As LifeCare support throughout their pregnancy turns 30, it likewise with continued assistance for a year rejoices in the thouafter the birth. LifeCare also assists sands of lives that have women who have had past abortions been transformed through its life-givand are trying to heal from emotional ing ministry. wounds. All services are free and On Thursday, October 19, confidential. LifeCare will celebrate its years of In 1987, the LifeCare Network ministry and express gratitude to its was born through the labors of generous donors and volunteers durCookie Gray. Gray remained the ing its annual Fundraising Dinner Executive Director until 2011 before Gala. The evening will also pay tribute abdicating her position to Karen to Gray and Brooks for their excepBrooks. Last year, Brooks stepped tional leadership and devotion. Other

festivities will include personal testimonies from women who have benefited from LifeCare’s services and special guest speaker Scott Klusendorf, the founder of the Life Training Institute and author of The Case for Life and Stand for Life. “The Lord has provided for His ministry for the past 30 years, and we are trusting him to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine at this year's Gala," said Jessica Rickenbach, the Development Director of LifeCare Network in Brandon. The event is by invitation only and is at no cost. However, at the end of the evening, there will be an appeal for a financial gift. Rickenbach said, “We hope you will consider praying about attending or hosting a table of friends who have the capacity to give to change lives in our community.” The Gala will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Hilton Tampa Downtown, which is located at 211 N. Tampa St. in Tampa. For more information or to host a table, visit or contact Jessica Rickenbach at or 6540491.

Nativity Catholic School Kicks Off Its New School Year By Introducing New Principal Mary Myers Disney On Ice Page 4

Homeschool Connection Pages 10-11

Columns: GraceNotes

Page 4

Hooked On Books

Page 12


Page 15

Faith & Footprints

Page 16

Nativity Catholic School in Brandon was established through the efforts of four Sisters from the Most Holy Trinity. With humble beginnings in 1961, the school’s first year consisted of 95 students in grades one through six and employed portable buildings for its classrooms. Today, the highly esteemed school has long outgrown its temporary structures as it serves about 650 students in grades pre-kindergarten through grade eight. This year, Nativity Catholic School welcomes Mary Myers as its new principal. Myers said, “As my dream was always to live in Florida, I found my dream job at Nativity Catholic School where I plan to be for the remainder of my career.” Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Myers began her teaching career in the Catholic school system. However, after four years, Myers had a calling to work with underprivileged students and families in the Cleveland Municipal School District. She remained in that school district as an elementary teacher and principal for more than 20 years before retiring her 30-year teaching career in a suburb of Cleveland. However, Myers was not settled in her retirement. "After I retired, I wanted to move to an area where there was sun-

By Amanda Boston

dents benefit from a full education—one that enriches both the mind and the soul. This adds a layer of spiritual growth to our students in allowing them to pray and learn the gospel teachings while encouraging each student to accept the challenges God has set forth to be a better person in tomorrow’s world,” she explained. Along with her enthusiasm for warmer weather, Myers brings 36 years of experience as a teacher and principal to the Sunshine shine, warmth State. Myers is complimentary and beachof Nativity’s competent staff es. I felt comand the school’s well-known pelled to academic achievements. She return to my work in the also looks forward to forming a Catholic schools, which is partnership with the parents where I began my education and parish community. career 30 years previous,” said Myers said, “Our annual Myers. Novemberfest is just around From 2012 to 2017, Myers the corner, and plans are Mary Myers joins was the principal at St. Mark already in the works to make Nativity Catholic School Catholic School in Wilmington, this another hugely successful as its new principal. North Carolina. Without a hitch, event through the collaboraMyers has transitioned back into the tion of our entire school and parish comCatholic education system. “I love that in munity.” the Catholic schools you can reach out For information, visit nativitycatholicand relate to the students and families not or call 689-3395. The school is only on an academic and social level, but located at 705 E. Brandon Blvd. in also on a spiritual level as well. Our stuBrandon.

Page 2 • • September 2017

God Is On The Move At Bell Shoals Baptist Church

By Amanda Boston

templating missions or are just curious. Missionaries from the following locations will be on site: Toronto, Haiti, Cuba, Central America, East Asia, Southeast Asia, and Africa. Orphan’s Heart, Midwestern Baptist Theological The Bell Shoals mission team was recently in Viletta, Columbia Seminary and (90 minutes northwest of Bogota) supporting the efforts of International Orphan's Heart, an organization located in Lakeland. Missions Board will also be represented. A detailed schedule of the different activities will be available online at the Bell Shoals website. Barton, who is also a leader for Bell Shoals’ Ends Of The Earth Missions Committee, expressed his personal connection with the Global Outreach Celebration. During the 2003 GOC, he committed to go on a mission trip to Kenya. While on From a previous GOC, his mission trip to Samantha, a missionKenya, Barton met a ary from Southeast Asia displays a booth man named Naphtali providing information who told him, “I have concerning her mission had dreams and and location. Is the visions of someone who would come Great Commission a priority for from far away to interview me about Christians? Michael Barton, a lay eternal life…and I was the person he leader at Bell Shoals Baptist Church, is had seen and to please proceed.” asking that very question. In Acts 1:8 Barton said, “At that moment, I and Matthew 18:19-20, the directive is was overwhelmed by the greatness of clear—go and make disciples of all God that He would give me the privinations and to the ends of the earth. lege of having someone on this earth Bell Shoals Baptist Church has 8,000 miles away who would come to always had a heart for global missions. Christ through my obedience to go on However, in 1998, the church initiated mission for Him.” a Global Outreach Celebration (GOC) Barton invites you to attend Bell with the purpose to bring attention to Shoals Global Outreach Celebration to many available global missions. Barton discover how God is on the move said, “The GOC helped me to have a throughout the world and to see how greater awareness that God is moving God may use you to further His among the people groups of this Kingdom. Barton asks, “Could there be world.” a Naphtali somewhere in this world This year’s GOC will be held at that God wants you to meet?” Bell Shoals Brandon Campus from For more information, visit bellSunday, October 14 through or contact Debbie Barton, Wednesday, October 18. The four-day the Director of Missions at conference gathers missionaries from or 689-4229 around the world to educate and ext. 324. Bell Shoals Baptist Church is engage with church members and located at 2102 Bell Shoals Rd. in community members who may be con- Brandon.

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Heifer communities International with milk, believes that eggs, honey “Together, we and wool and can change provide the world, income by supplying an one family, abundance one commuof goods to nity, at a sell. When time.” many famiOn lies gain this Sunday, July new sustain16, Kate able income, Herndon, the Community First Presbyterian Church of Brandon is presented with it brings new an Ark plaque in appreciation of a recent donation it opportunities Engagement made to Heifer International. for building Manager for schools, creating agricultural cooperaHeifer International presented the contives, forming community savings and gregation at First Presbyterian Church funding small businesses. of Brandon with a beautiful Ark plaque For more than two decades, First in appreciation of a recent donation of Presbyterian has donated $224,000 to more than three Arks. Heifer International through its Living Herndon said, “For over 70 years, Gift Market, which offers community Heifer International’s work has been patrons the opportunity to purchase the made possible by individuals and comlivestock. Herndon also added, “Their munities of supporters who have valHeifer Living Gift Market is the largest ued giving the poor the training and in the Southeast and one of the largest tools to become self-reliant.” Herndon nationwide. The time, passion and crecontinued, “First Presbyterian Church ativity they put into this market have gives their donations in the form of Gift made it a model for other Heifer gift Arks, which is symbolic because they include two of each animal Heifer offers markets.” For more information about Heifer and provides hope and opportunity to International, visit To get countless families all over the world.” involved at First Presbyterian Church, Each Gift Ark donation of $5,000 visit a Sunday service at 8:30 or 11 consists of two water buffalos, two a.m. or visit the website at fpcbrancows, two sheep and two goats, along The church is located at 121 with bees, chicks, rabbits and more. Carver Avenue in Brandon. The three Arks will help care for entire

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Page 3 • • September 2017

Bikes For Christ Ministry Provides Bikes And Bibles For The Less Fortunate, Upcoming Fundraiser Will Help With Repairs

By Amanda Boston

With its clever catchphrase, ‘Helps with Transportation on the Road to Salvation,’ the nonprofit organization Bikes For Christ puts bikes and Bibles into the hands of those less fortunate. In March 2016, local resident Patrick (Pat) Pat Simmons, founder of Bikes For Christ, recently Simmons couhanded out bikes and Bibles with the Tampa pled his love for Homeless Outreach. The event benefited homeless Christ with his veterans. passion for Promise, Women’s cycling to start up the organization. Resource Center and Simmons explained, "I saw a need more. for transportation within the homeless “The bicycles are communities, especially for the ones just a segue to our real who are trying to better themselves and purpose, which is getting get their lives back on track. They needthe Word of God into ed transportation to get to a job or a docthese people’s hands. tor." We plant the seed, and The organization not only provides hopefully, they continue bikes to the homeless but also to veterto grow in Christ,” ans and underprivileged children. It remarked Simmons. accepts donated bicycles from Last December, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Polk and Pasco Simmons teamed up Counties and then redistributes them with David Burtt, another through several different agencies. Bikes avid cyclist with a heart For Christ collaborates with Tampa to share the gospel. At A client of Northside Mental needed Homeless Outreach, Hillsborough the time, Burtt, who is a bike for transportation. She County Sheriff’s Office, Amazing Love received a bike and Bible and was the music minister at Ministries, ECHO, A Kid’s Place, Family happy to pose with it. First Baptist Dover,

bicycle repair shop has been an even greater dream come true," he said. Bikes For Christ is always accepting road worthy bikes, but it also relies on monetary donations to purchase bike parts and Bibles. On Friday, September 8 and Saturday, During a Metropolitan Ministries vendor fair, September 9, David Burtt met a family from Puerto Rico who Bikes For Christ had recently moved to Tampa and had no transportation. Burtt provided the entire family will hold a with bikes. fundraising event was at Keith’s Oaks Bar and Grill in also seeking to start a Brandon from 6 to 10 p.m. bicycle ministry. In The entertainment will include live fact, Burtt was in the music, raffles, prizes, items for aucprocess of converting tion and a vendor fair in the courta back room of the yard. Friday night’s entertainment will church into a bike feature the Eddie Wright Band and repair shop. other musical guests. Saturday With nearly 85% night’s entertainment will include of the donated bicymusical guests and Karaoke. All procles requiring mainte- ceeds from the event go to Bikes For nance, Simmons Christ. asserts that their For more information, visit partnership is more or call 533than happenstance. 9177. To donate a bike, you can drop "David joining with it off at University Bicycle Center, Bikes For Christ has located at 1220 E. Fletcher Ave. in been a blessing, and Tampa. To make a monetary donathe opening of the tion, visit its website and click donate.


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Page 4 • • September 2017

Feld Entertainment, Inc., Brings Newest Disney On Ice Frozen to Tampa

Grace Notes

Collared By Choice

By Vanessa Evans

Feld Entertainment, Inc., the worldwide leader in producing live touring family entertainment, announced it will bring the Academy Award® winning and number one animated feature film of all time, Disney’s Frozen, to life. Tickets are on sale for Disney On Ice presents Frozen, which visits Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Dr. in Tampa from Friday, September 29 at 7 p.m., Saturday, September 30 at 11 a.m., 3 and 7 p.m., and Sunday, October 1 at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. The Academy Award® winning tale will be told live for the first time in this production, capturing the dynamic of two royal sisters, Anna and Elsa. Audiences will get to sing along with such musical masterpieces as Let it Go, Do You Want to Build a Snowman? and Fixer Upper. “In our more than 30 years of producing Disney On Ice shows, Feld Entertainment has been waiting for a film like this,” said producer Nicole Feld. “While it might seem obvious that Frozen is well suited for the ice, this Disney On Ice production will touch audiences emotionally through innova-

tive show elements and world-class skating.” Frozen directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee add, “Seeing audiences around the world embrace Frozen has been the experience of a lifetime. And to now have the chance to consult with the talented team at Feld Entertainment and watch their creation come to life on ice, is thrilling.” In Disney On Ice presents Frozen, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse take the audience through the magical story based in Arendelle, with special appearances by beloved Disney princesses and favorite characters from Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story and Finding Nemo and Disney’s The Lion King, who come together to prove that true love is the greatest power of all. To create a completely immersive experience for the audience, the set design will encompass the space from the ice surface up through the air, drawing everyone into the story and closer to the characters. Elsa’s magic will be enhanced by state-of-the art special effects while her emotions will be conveyed through powerful skating. All seats are reserved and tickets are available by calling 800-745-3000, or at the Amalie Arena office. Group ticket sales and information, call 866248-8740. Visit

What you will find at Journey: • • • • • •

By Debora Coty

My pooch Fenway wears a – wait for it – Boston Red Sox collar. Bet you didn’t see that one coming, huh? He didn’t choose this particular collar, in fact, he much prefers a nekked neck, But because his human daddy is a diehard Sox fan, Fenway received, for his first Christmas in our fam, an official handy dandy Red Sox logo collar. The catch: it didn’t fit. Fenway has an “S” neck and the store only had “M.” But because Fenway’s human mama is a theme fanatic (and more to the point, the pricey collar was unreturnable), onto his skinny little neck it went. Our first foray into the neighborhood with the new collar revealed a problem. With a duck of his head just so, Fenway could easily shuck the collar to pursue a taunting squirrel or passing bicycle or whatever captured his fancy at any given moment. After the tenth screaming-meanie pursuit of said escaping dog by Alpha Mama (me), Fenway finally caught on that although he could buck the system at will, he shouldn’t if he wanted his yummylicious peanut butter flavored doggie treat when we got home. For him the reward was pure heaven. So Fenway made a choice. He

stopped ducking his head just so and opted to remain within the parameters imposed by his collar and leash. He wanted to run free, sure, but he wanted something else more. You know, at some point in time we’ll all be treading in Fenway’s boots (or should I say paws?): we want to run free, but we want something else more. We crave Papa God’s smiling approval. Not His love, mind you, for we’ll have that anyway no matter how many squirrels we chase. Yet we – as a child of God – yearn to feel our Papa’s pleasure when we make good choices. Choices resulting from our decision to delve into, hear and obey His Word. So the next time a temptingly fuzzy squirrel whizzes by, I need to remind my trembling self of the thing I want even more: a proud pat on the head from Papa God.For me the reward is pure heaven. How about you?

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


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Page 5 • • September 2017

Nothing But Laughs At The 5th Annual Clean Comedy Night






By Brittany Wallace

At times, entertained military troops standup comeand worked with celebridy can be ties such as Reba downright vulMcEntire, Oprah Winfrey gar and rude. and Ronnie Milsap, to While some name a few. A highlight of enjoy this type his performance is the hisof comedy, othtory of Rock Guitar Riffs ers do not, but where he impersonates all can agree it famous rock stars like is not familySting, U2, Springsteen, friendly. That is Sinatra, Elvis, Barry White why Michael and many others. Self and wife The dinner is Italian Stacy, the owncuisine from East Coast ers of S and S Pizza along with a variety Tacos in of desserts donated from Kier’s history of Rock Guitar Riffs LeAnne’s Old Fashioned Riverview, cre- Enjoy at the 5th Annual Clean Comedy Night ated Clean on Friday, September 29 at The Regent. Cookies. A cash bar is Comedy Night. His impressions of many rock artists will also on site. Other comentertain and make you laugh. The event is munity businesses such sponsored by Keller Williams-Ken as the Family Time Entertainment of Brownlee Real Estate Team and takes Florida, The Osprey Observer, and place on Friday, September 29 at The Summerfield Crossing Golf Club have Regent from 6 to 9 p.m. stepped forward to sponsor the event. When asked why they started the The evening will also include a silent Clean Comedy Night, Stacy said, "Years auction, raffle prizes, gift baskets, a 50-50 ago we decided to put God at the center raffle and a chance to win a Lottery of our life, and as a family, we struggled Scratch off Board. The proceeds will go with places to go that were appropriate. to the Summerfield Club, which plans to We wanted to bring something to the purchase a Paragolfer, a unit that allows community where families can go and those who are paralyzed to play golf have a good time.” again. Families can come out to enjoy an Ticket prices include the show, dinner evening of fun and laughs as the comedi- and a beverage. The cost is $30 for sinans take the stage. The local business gle ticket, $55 for a couple, and $275 for owner of Anytime Fitness, Brian a table of eight, which must be purchased Kleinschmidt brings his talent as an in advance. To purchase tickets for the emcee to the show with world-renewed 5th Annual Clean Comedy Night, visit comedian Kier as the headliner. Kier has


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Page 6 • • September 2017

LOCAL CHRISTIAN NEWS Compiled by Michelle Colesanti Bay Life Church Scrapbooking For Missions

Bay Life Church announces its annual Fall Crop benefiting youth activities and mission trips. Bring your own supplies to work on your paper crafting projects in a well-lit and fun atmosphere. Your registration fee is tax deductible and includes dinner and dessert on Friday, continental breakfast, home cooked lunch, drinks and snacks all day, plus scrapbook/crop space, swap table, goody bags and door prizes on Saturday. This year’s crop will be Friday, October 6 from 6:30–11 p.m. and/or Saturday, October 7 from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Receive a discount by registering early by October 1. The cost is $25 for Friday night, $30 for Saturday, or $45 for both. Late registrations, late payments and walk-ins are welcome with registration fee of $30 for Friday night, $35 for Saturday or $55 for both, if space is available. Registration is open. Sign up at Space is limited and not reserved until paid in full. Please email Patty Fuller at for more information.

Saint Anne Catholic Church Faith Formation Program

contact the Parish Office at 645-1714 for more information. Saint Anne Catholic Church is located at U.S. Hwy. 41 and 11th Avenue N.E. in Ruskin. For more information about the Parish, visit

MOPS (Mothers Of Preschoolers) 2017-2018 Season

dition in the northeast United States and has recently been extended throughout the rest of the country. St. Stephen is located at 10118 Saint Stephen Circle in Riverview.

Saint Stephen Catholic Church Blue Mass will be held on Tuesday, September 12 at 6:30 p.m.

Ever feel exhausted in the midst of the joys and challenges that come with your little ones? MOPS (Mothers of PreSchoolers) is a community of women like you that can help. MOPS meets at FishHawk Fellowship Church, 15326 FishHawk Blvd. in Lithia on the first and third Tuesdays monthly from September through May. The first meeting for 2017-2018 is Tuesday, September 5, from 9:30-11:30 a.m. A typical meeting includes food and fellowship, a guest speaker with topics relevant to a mom of a preschooler, creative activities and/ or games, and small-group discussions to connect with other moms. At FishHawk Fellowship Church,

MOPS members. For more information and to sign up, go to and search "MOPS", or email

Golf Tournament Benefits Campo YMCA

You are invited to participate in this year’s Campo Family YMCA Annual Golf Tournament, which will be held on Saturday, September 30 at Riverhills Country Club in Valrico. All the proceeds from this golf tournament stay local and have a lasting impact on our neighbors in the community. The Tampa Metropolitan YMCA is a Four-Star Charity and is a 501(c)(3) organization. A portion of the sponsorship is tax-deductible and donors will receive a tax receipt for contributions. For information, contact Kavita Marballi at 684-1371 Ext. 1606 or

Saint Anne Catholic Church is currently enrolling students for the 2017/2018 Faith Blue Mass To Be Held At Saint Formation year. Stephen Catholic Church Registration forms are A “Blue Mass” is scheduled to available in the Parish be held on Tuesday, September 12 Office during normal busiat 6:30 p.m. This mass is celebratness hours. Additionally, ed for the spiritual intentions of members of the Faith police, firefighters, EMS, state Faith Formation Communication at Saint Anne Catholic Church Formation staff will be in troopers and all other first responMOPS seeks to encourage, equip and the church Narthex on Sundays ders. through September 3 after the 10 a.m. develop every mother of preschoolers The Blue Mass dates back to 1934 to realize her potential as a woman, and 12 Noon Masses. Classes begin in Washington, DC. It is a common tramother and leader in the name of Sunday, September 17. Jesus Christ. The church offers Faith Formation When you come to MOPS, your classes to aid and support parents in children are lovingly cared for in our the education of their children in the free on-site childcare. Catholic Faith. Children in grades preIn addition to the MOPS meetings, K through 12 are provided a loving and spiritual environment that will help we also schedule regular play dates and "Moms Night Out" events for them grow closer to Christ. Please





Second Annual Purple Passion Silent Auction/Wine/Cheese Tasting

Reach Out Speak Out (ROSO) will be holding its second annual Purple Passion silent auction event on Sunday, October 1 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at New Identities Hair Studio at 15307 Amberly Dr. in Tampa. This event is to help domestic violence victims and their families that are in a faith-based community. Food and drink stations, exhibitors that will be selling products and the profits will go to ROSO. Both non-alcoholic and traditional wines and beverages will be served. Silent Auction will end at 3 p.m. Join in for Silent Auction that will include: authentic sports items, restaurant gift cards, activities, entertainment, themed-based baskets, services, get-aways, 50/50 raffle and so much more. For more information contact Jan Porter, chair at 695-9495 or Reach Out Speak Out is a not for profit organization that has been helping families within faith-based communities in the Tampa Bay area for several years. Our goal is to help with everyday needs, emotional and mental counseling needs with trained and licensed professionals.

Family Promise Garage Sale Fundraiser

Family Promise will be holding a garage sale fundraiser hosted by Seffner Presbyterian Church raise money to help homeless families. The garage sale will be held Friday, September 15 and Saturday, September 16 from 7 a.m.- 3 p.m. Please donate garage dale items the week preceding the sale at 1906 East Lenna Ave. in Seffner. For information about Family Promise or garage sale donations, visit or email




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Page 7 • • September 2017

Your Monthly Catch Local Happenings In Our Community Disney’s Night Of Joy Returns Showcasing Popular Christian Bands

auction on Saturday, September 30 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Central Baptist Christian School gymnasium, 402 E. Windhorst Rd. in Brandon. This is the major fundraiser for New Horizons, a non-profit organization that operates two homes for developmentally challenged adults, most of whom work in the community or in programs. The faithbased organization was started in 1992, with the first home opening in 1999. The meal includes a pulled porkbarbecue sandwich with mac and cheese, baked beans, beverage and dessert, and catered by BubbaQue’s. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. For information on purchasing tickets in advance, call the New

Disney’s Night of Joy featuring contemporary Christian music artists returns to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The two-night event will host multiple Grammy Award and Dove Award winners. On Friday, September 8, the performers include MercyMe, TobyMac, Zach Williams, Natalie Grant, Danny Gokey, Matt Maher, Colton Dixon and Rend Collective. Then the fun continues on Saturday, September 9 with Amy Grant, Steven Curtis Chapman, Kirk Franklin, Jordan Feliz, Crowder, Jeremy Camp and Tye Tribbett. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the first band starts at 6:30 p.m. Please note entertainment is subject to change. Event guests can buy a concert only or a concert plus theme park combination ticket for either evening— or even a two-night A back pack and community event held at the Covenant Family concert ticket. Single-night concert Church in Riverview was a success. The church, located at 6321 US Hwy. 301 S distributes free food weekly, following 10 a.m. only tickets are $45 Sunday services. Call Reba Haley at 307-3421 for counseling, prayer or groceries. plus tax per person and two-night conHorizons office at 571-2690 or cert only tickets are $69 plus tax per Brenda Watkins at 653-2466. person. For more information or to purchase tickets, Top Christian Music Artists And visit or call 407-WBands Coming To Universal DISNEY. For discounted tickets for Studios Florida™ groups of 10 or more, call 877-NITECome out to Rock the Universe™ JOY. The ESPN Sports Complex is at Universal Studios Florida™ theme located at 700 S. Victory Way in park on Friday, September 8 and Kissimmee. Saturday, September 9, where you can enjoy some of Christian Rock’s Annual Barbeque Benefits New top music artists and bands. The fun Horizons Group Homes kicks off on Friday night at 6 p.m. with New Horizons Group Homes will a line-up including Chris Tomlin, hold its annual barbeque and silent

& Recreation Centers, and community organizations by promoting healthy living and relationships to teens through Teen Impact, to parents through the Parent Program, and to teachers and other youth leaders through classroom education. Dinner is complimentary. There will be an appeal for financial support at the end of the evening. For more information on hosting a table or sponsorship opportunities, please visit or contact Bill Kagey at 600-9446.

Lecrae, Lauren Daigle, Kari Jobe, Social Club Misfits and 7eventh Time Down. Then on Saturday night at 6 p.m., the musical talent continues with Casting Crowns, for King & Country, Brandon Heath, Andy Mineo, Family Force 5 and Ryan Stevenson. Rock the Universe™ is a separately ticketed special event with entrance into the theme park beginning at 4 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at Information on different ticket packages that also include all day theme park admission and other options as well as youth group rates are also availFifty backpacks with school supplies were donated to Beth Shields Middle School. Elias Peña, Student able. For questions, visit the Ministries Pastor at Destiny Church presented the supwebsite or call 1-800-224plies to Tiatasha Brown (Principal) and Adrian 4489. Theme park is located Sarmiento (Student Success Coach). at 6000 Universal Blvd. in Orlando.

Impact Program, Inc. Announces Annual Impact Celebration

Mana del Cielo

Mana del Cielo, a Latin church, will be holding a Mission Festival - United as One on Sunday, September 3. For information, call Pastor Concepcion Dones at 340-9394 (Spanish only) or Debrah Colon at 993-3009. Everyone is welcome. Mana del Cielo is located at 8401 Valrie Lane (near McMullen Loop).

Impact Program, Inc. is pleased to announce its upcoming, semi-formal, annual Impact Celebration fundraising dinner on Thursday, September 21 at The Regent, 6437 Watson Rd. in Riverview. Doors open at 6 p.m., program at 6:30 p.m. Learn how this nonprofit organization is impacting today's teens by educating and empowering them to make positive life choices and to avoid high risk behaviors. The Impact Program serves Hillsborough County public and private schools, YMCAs, Boys & Impact Program, Inc. will hold its annual Impact Celebration on Girls Clubs, Parks September 21 at The Regent.

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Page 8 • • September 2017

Angel Gowns Provide Comfort For Bereaved Families Of Newborns

By Joyce Bliss

proper attire to be laid to rest.” The gowns are donated to the neonatal units and then dispersed to the families when requested. A rising number of gowns have been requested to be made. “It is just as important to find more seamstresses to help make the gowns for the The NICU at BRH receives Angel Gowns for use in helping babies,” according to bereaved parents to bury a newborn with dignity. Douglas. Although If the intended family lives a distance nothing can really ease the pain when from the area, Douglas needs to make new parents suffer the loss of their newsure that the gowns arrive to the intended born, knowing that others care can help. families in just one or two days. The Local resident Linda Douglas wanted postage to make sure that happens can to do something for those parents. She is become costly. The cost for shipping and a member of Angel Gowns, an organizato package the gown may become tion which provides custom-made gowns expensive. The gowns are also sent to for those babies that will not becoming hospitals in bulk. home. These gowns help the families Wedding gowns, as well as mother affirm their young child’s life, and can be of the bride dresses can be used. Colors used for final photos and burial services. of white, ecru, soft pink and soft baby The gowns are made from donated wedblue are predominantly used. Donations ding dresses. of fabric or monetary gifts for postage are One wedding gown can make at appreciated. least a dozen Angel Gowns, and are Douglas continued, “These gowns crafted by volunteers. It only takes about are a gift of love and no gratitude is an hour to make one of these precious expected.” gowns. For more information regarding makThe gowns are given to any family ing a monetary or fabric donation or in that requests one at no charge. Douglas crafting the Angel Gowns, please contact said, “How sad for a baby not to have the Douglas at 220-6721.

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Brandon Homeschool Fellowship Feels Like Family For Members

By Michael Smith

Field trips are a great place to build friendships.

When Bridee Manning was looking for a new homeschool support group about seven years ago, she tried several groups in the area but none of them seemed like a good fit for her family. Then she checked out Brandon Homeschool Fellowship (BHSF), a Christian homeschool support group that has been encouraging and supporting homeschool families in the Brandon area for almost 30 years. She felt at home in the group right away and has never left. “[BHSF] was the one that fit, it was the one that was ‘family’ right off. They embraced me, they said hello to me, they accepted me and my [two] children,” Manning said at BHSF’s annual kick-off Friday, August 4, at First Baptist Church of Riverview. “It’s more than just a homeschool group, it’s a family.” And even though her children have graduated from high school she is still part of the group. “You’re connected with these people forever.” Brandon Homeschool Fellowship

plans regular extracurricular activities for children and parents, and members enjoy a weekly park fellowship day on Thursdays during the school year. Members share information relevant to homeschool families on the group’s online member forum. BHSF also has several clubs that plan field trips and activities (elementary, middle school, high school and mom’s social). The group has an initiative called MUM (Moms Uplifting Moms) in which an experienced homeschool mom commits to mentor a new homeschool mom for the school year. Membership is open to homeschool families whose oldest child is at least K4 and up. Those interested in becoming a member are invited to come to BHSF’s weekly park fellowship day at Saladino Park, located at 1705 Bryan Rd. in Brandon, on Thursdays at 2:30 p.m. during the 2017-18 school year. Welcome Team members will be available to answer questions and help you register. The membership fee is $45 per family. Each family is required to choose two service areas in which to serve. This can be setting up or cleaning up for a party, planning a field trip, or helping with a fair. For more information about Brandon Homeschool Fellowship, visit its newly redesigned website at

Helping Homeschoolers Is A Labor Of Love For Tampa Bay HEAT Founder

By Michael Smith

When Teresa blessed. God has His Manganello founded hand on this organizaTampa Bay HEAT tion, and I do it because seven years ago, I love people and want she never imagined to glorify God.” the homeschool supHEAT, which stands port group would for Home Education become what it is Activities Teams, opertoday. ates the Homeschool Manganello Resource Center at 307 decided to form S. Parsons Ave. in HEAT in May 2010 Brandon, where it proafter discovering that vides classes, clubs and homesupport to the communischoolers ty. were Manganello said her unable to organization’s greatest compete in challenge is a lack of Photo courtesy of Erin the Florida facility and parking Rhodes, Emagine High Photography space at the Julia Rohm learns to do sutures using a School Homeschool Resource femur bone during an Anatomy class offered Athletic Center. She also said it’s at the Homeschool Resource Center. Association very costly to rent facili(FHSAA) once they reached high ties for the many events that HEAT school. Now HEAT is one of only four holds off-site. Her dream is to have a homeschooling groups competing in the larger facility with a gym. FHSAA. Its girls volleyball team has She is thankful for the parents who advanced to the State Final Four during support the ministry by volunteering, the past three seasons. whether it’s by planning a field trip or HEAT’s membership grew to 500 helping out at the Homeschool families in 2016, and in addition to athResource Center. letics the nonprofit group also offers Manganello said the group is open activities for preschool through high to all families in the area and registraschool, including the arts, academics, tion is open throughout the year. “We clubs, field trips and special events. are a Christian organization, but we wel“I never thought when I did this it come everybody,” she said. was going to be a full-time ministry; For information, visit tampabaythat’s what it turned into,” Manganello or email said. “I think we’ve been so incredibly

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Bell Shoals Baptist Church Provides Support For Christian Homeschoolers

Veritas Brings Hybrid Homeschool Program To Brandon

For more than 20 years Bell Shoals Baptist Church has provided resources and support for Christian homeschool families. In 1995 the Brandon Campus of Bell Shoals formed its Photo by Nancy Bailey FISH (Families ANCHOR members pose for a group picture last year. Instructing Students option is available for high schoolers. at Home) ministry, and in spring 2016 for the fall semester run from Classes ANCHOR (A Nurturing Christian 9:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m. every Monday for Homeschool ORganization) was founded 12 weeks. at the church’s Apollo Beach Campus. Church membership is not required ANCHOR was started by Apollo be a member of ANCHOR. ANCHOR to Beach Campus Minister of Preschool and Vice Chairwoman Stephanie Demorest Children Rebeka Corgan and Co-op seen several families start attending has Director Nikki Hollifield, and was modeled the Apollo Beach Campus after joining after FISH. Membership, which is open the homeschool group. year-round, runs from June 1-May 31 and “ANCHOR indirectly provides memis $30 annually. ANCHOR members bers with a preview to some of the Bell receive a discount on membership to the Shoals facilities and church events and Florida Parent Educators Association and also gives them some friendly faces so are able to participate in events, field trips it’s easier to build connections when and clubs (book, Spanish, yearbook, church on Sunday,” she said. attending community service and LEGO). Demorest, who has three children ANCHOR has a minimum of one 12, 4 and 1½), started home(ages group event (movie night, STEAM fair, schooling last year. Bible bee, creative arts festival) per “Since the beginning, ANCHOR has month and one field trip per month been an outstanding support system that (Jubilee Gymnastics, Lowry Park Zoo, made homeschooling effective, has Hydro Harvest Farms, Veterans Park). enjoyable and rewarding,” she said. Co-op registration (ANCHOR memVisit or bership required) is an additional $10 per email semester per child (cap of $30). The coTo learn more about Bell Shoals Baptist op consists of three elective classes for Church, go to babies through 12th grade. A drop-off

Area homework and school families have administer a new educational quizzes and option available to tests. them. Veritas Veritas Florida, a Florida hybrid school that Administrator combines homeRobin Hair schooling and classMcEuen said room instruction, the hybrid Photo courtesy of Veritas Florida started its second model offers At Veritas Florida, Christian, year of holding classexperienced teachers with homeschool degrees lead a traditional es at Southside families “the classroom for homeschool best of both Baptist Church, locatstudents. ed at 415 W. worlds.” Lumsden Rd. in Brandon, on Tuesday, Last year Morgendee Meachem August 15. As part of the Veritas Classical Flannery and her husband were looking Schools family, Veritas Florida offers to revamp their homeschool curriculum homeschooling families a unique comple- when they discovered Veritas Classical ment to their home-study programs with Schools. an emphasis on a classical Christian She contacted Veritas Florida about model of education. bringing its program to Brandon. McEuen Christian, experienced teachers with agreed, and Flannery’s twin sons started degrees lead a traditional classroom that attending classes at Southside Baptist meets from 9-2 p.m. on Tuesdays Church. “It was a perfect fit for our family (Humanities) and from 12:30-3 p.m. on as it has an emphasis on a classical Thursdays (math). There is an optional Christian education that glorifies Christ Humanities help day available on and models character and virtue throughWednesdays. Humanities classes consist out every subject and the academic stanof history, grammar, literature/composidards remain high,” Flannery said. tion, Bible, logic, geography, “Few decisions have more impact in vocabulary/spelling, cultural literacy/art my children’s lives than the education that and handwriting (cursive). I chose for them. We are so very lucky to Veritas Florida functions in the role of have Veritas in Brandon.” a tutor, assisting parents in their educaThe Brandon campus of Veritas tional roles. Students receive grades and Florida is enrolling students from kinderreport cards, and they are provided with garten through sixth grade, which will last weekly assignment sheets outlining work 33 weeks and run though mid-May. to complete at home. Teachers grade For info, visit

By Michael Smith

By Michael Smith



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Page 12 • • September 2017

Hooked On Christian Books Stuck In Traffic, Stuck On God

By Kelly Wise Valdes

Many of us spend a few hours each day in our vehicles. Whether you are commuting to work, sitting in car line at school, or chauffeuring the children to their events, we find ourselves having several hours of “windshield” time. According to a recent AAA statistic, the average American spends 293 hours driving each year. With that much time behind the wheel, what a great opportunity to listen to an inspirational audiobook from one of the various well-known Christian authors. Many of the popular Christian books can be found in audiobook versions. Reading inspirational quotes and passages are great, but it doesn’t beat listening to a person that motivates you to do great things while you’re learning at the same time.

Found: God's Will Narrated By: John Haag By: John MacArthur You may want to jump and shout when you read the sixth principle revealed in this book. "Do whatever you want" sounds tempting, as long as the first five principles are operating in your life. Read about all six principles to better understand what the psalmist means when he urges, "Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart" (Ps. 37:4) Approximately 1.4 hours.


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Abiding In Christ Audio Devotional By: Billy Graham For more than 60 years, Billy Graham has proclaimed the Good News of Jesus Christ around the world. When Billy Graham accepted God's call on his life, he could not have known that he would preach live to nearly 215 million people. The devotionals featured on this recording were taken from 12 of those sermons, spanning from 1957 to 1992. Each devotional is approximately 5-7 minutes long. It's a perfect way to add a bit of quick inspiration to your morning commute.

Now What?: The Chapman Guide to Marriage After Children Narrated By: Maurice England By: Gary Chapman It took you and your spouse a while to adjust to life after marriage. You recently added a couple of children to your family and your roles and priorities have shifted yet again. This book will help you and your spouse figure out how to keep your marriage going strong after the children arrive. Discover how to create a godly framework for dealing with common marriage issues that arise once kids are in the picture. Run time: One hour and 43 minutes.

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Page 13 • • September 2017

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 Bloomingdale 3303 Bloomingdale Ave.,Valrico 813-689-3847 First Baptist Church of Gibsonton 9912 Indiana St., Gibsonton 813-677-1301 First Baptist Church of Ruskin 820 College Ave. W., 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 Rd., Brandon (813) 699-8262 Shiloh Baptist Church 1104 Cason St., Plant City (813) 752-8345 South Bay Baptist Church 13498 US 301 S., Riverview 813-677-0721 CATHOLIC Nativity Catholic Church 705 E Brandon Blvd., Brandon (813) 681-4608

St. Anne Catholic Church 106 11th Ave. NE, Ruskin (813) 645-1714 St. Stephen Catholic Church 10118 Saint Stephen Circle, Riverview (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., Riverview Ruskin United Methodist Church 105 4th Ave. NW, Ruskin (813) 645-1241 South Shore United Methodist Church 11525 Big Bend Rd., Riverview (813) 649-9462

NON-DENOMINATIONAL Destiny Church 2322 11th Ave. SE, Ruskin (813) 645-3337 Grace Community Church 1425 N Valrico Rd., Valrico (813) 689-9781 Harvest Bible Chapel Bloomingdale High School 813-699-0517 Life Church at FishHawk 6420 Lithia Pinecrest Rd., Lithia (813) 681-6503 Love First Christian Center 12847 Balm Riverview Rd., Riverview 813-671-2009 The Crossing Church - Main Campus 10130 Tuscany Ridge Dr., Tampa, (813) 626-0783 The Crossing Church - SouthShore 3058 East College Ave., Ruskin (813) 626-0580 The Palms Church 207 New Hope Rd., Brandon (813) 841-9598 True Sanctuary 6528 US Hwy 301 S., Suite 114, Riverview (813) 319-5862 PENTECOSTAL HighPoint Church of Brandon 2207 Lithia-Pinecrest Rd., Valrico/Brandon (813) 685-4827 PRESBYTERIAN First Presbyterian Church of Brandon -PCUSA 121 Carver Ave., Brandon (813) 689-4597 Redeemer Church-PCA 12404 Boyette Rd., Riverview (813) 741-1776 Westminster Presbyterian Church PCA 402 E. Lumsden Rd., Brandon (813) 689-6541

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Superior Residences Activities Director Wins Director Of Year Award At Conference Individuals at Superior Residences of Brandon Memory Care sang along to their theme song called You Are My Sunshine as Activities Director Bill Andrew softly played it on the piano. Andrew recently won the Life Enrichment Director of the Activities Director Bill Year award at Andrew at Superior the 2017 Senior Residences of Living Brandon Memory Care wins Life Enrichment Conference on Director of the Year July 28. This award. conference took place at the Boca Raton Resort & Club in Boca Raton, Florida from July 26- 28 with the sponsor being Florida Argentum. He had no idea about his nomination for this particular award and shared his thoughts about it. “I felt elated and very humble to receive the Life Enrichment Director of the Year award. Definitely an honor to represent the state of Florida,” Andrew said. Andrew resides in the Riverview area and has been highly involved with The Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce for many years. For the last two years, Andrew maintained his posi-

By Tatiana Ortiz

tion as the Activities Director. He began his journey at Superior Residences of Brandon Memory Care 15 years ago and played the piano. Andrew also attends Mulberry United Methodist Church and directs music there. He has been playing organ and piano in church since 1974. To add, during his college years he majored in music and started his lessons at the age of four. What he loves most about his role at Superior Residences of Brandon Memory Care would be when he plays the piano and the residents sing along with him. In addition to that, Andrew enjoys sitting at the table with the residents to converse with them. Superior Residences of Brandon Memory Care offers a homelike community for all levels of Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related diagnosis. These programs and services here utilize the latest knowledge and therapeutic techniques. It does provide amenities too. Superior Residences of Brandon Memory Care also encourages family involvement and community activities. To learn more, visit It is located at 1819 Providence Ridge Blvd. in Brandon. Call 657-8587. Dr. Amir Boules

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Page 15 • • September 2017

Hot Off The Christian News Wire

By Kelly Wise Valdes

Actor Kelsey Grammer Shares How He Overcame Alcohol Addiction Through Jesus

Christian actor Kelsey Grammer recently shared how he overcame his alcohol addiction with God’s help. The actor has had a very tragic life in many ways. When he was 13, his father was killed during a home invasion. Later, his younger sister was raped and murdered. Still another tragedy occurred when Grammer’s two half-brothers were killed in a scuba diving accident. Grammer shared that, without God, he turned to drugs and alcohol to cope with the pain of these tragic events. "It's a pain that you can always stumble into again—it's with you 24/7, especially in the case of tragic death, and there have been a few of those. It's just part of life," said Grammer in a Christian Broadcast News interview. "Maybe I learned a little earlier than most, but it's just the way it goes." Grammer’s drug and alcohol addiction became so bad that he spent time in prison for driving drunk. It was during this dark time that he gave his life to Christ, and through Jesus’ power, turned his life around. "As a Christian,

we always fail because we can't become Christ," the now 62-year-old said. "But I can try to at least emulate the best qualities, even if I may fall short."

Faith-Based Film, I Can Only Imagine, Being Released In Theatres

Dennis Quaid and Cloris Leachman star in the Jon and Andrew Erwin-directed drama, along with Priscilla Shirer, Madeline Carroll and J. Michael Finley. I Can Only Imagine follows the true story of Bart Millard, lead singer of the Christian band MercyMe, and how he wrote what is now the most-played radio single in Christian music history. The Erwin brothers are responsible for other faith-based fare, including Woodlawn. I Can Only Imagine is set to be

released in March 2018. Coming on the heels of the faith-based box-office hit The Shack, I Can Only Imagine is expected to draw a large audience nationwide. For more information, visit

Plane Crash Survivor Wows Crowd With Have A Little Faith In Me

Kechi Okwuchi brought the crowd to their feet the first time she auditioned for the judges on the popular tel-

evision show, America’s Got Talent. Okwuchi has a very unique story: when she was 16 years old she survived a horrific plane crash that claimed the lives of 107 people. In fact, Okwuchi was one of only two survivors of the Sosoliso Airlines Flight 1145 plane crash in Nigeria. Okwuchi and her family moved to Texas in 2007 for treatment at Shriner's Hospital for Children in Galveston. She's undergone more than 100 surgeries. She credits her faith in God for getting her through the tough times she has endured. Now, Okwuchi is in her second round of auditions on America's Got Talent stage where she was singing John Hiatt's "Have a Little Faith in Me.” The emotion and intensity in her voice impressed the judges. Okwuchi earned a standing ovation from Simon Cowell, Howie Mandell and much of the crowd. Many were in tears. Mandell called her "one of the most beautiful people I've ever met in my life." "There's more than even you know you're capable of," Cowell said. To follow her performances, visit her Facebook fan page at

Page 16 • • September 2017

Save The Date For Evening Of Hope For Greater Brandon Community Foundation By Kelly Wise Valdes France is well less stained glass known for its magnifiwindows disappeared cent and historical until 1945 when they cathedrals throughout were found hidden in the country. But the a salt mine in Strasbourg Cathedral in Germany. Strasbourg, France The Cathedral is stands out for its filled with magnificent unique, delicate strucart crafted by the ture and its distinctive skilled masons and red sandstone. With its artisans that worked 466 ft. soaring spire, it on it over the cenPhoto by Michelle Colesanti was the tallest building turies. One of the TThe Strasbourg Cathedral in Strasbourg, France attracts more in the world from 1647 most interesting feathan four million visitors each year. to 1874. tures is the The town of Strasbourg favors both Astronomical clock. This rare clock was France and Germany because it sits designed by a team of artists, matheadjacent to the border of both maticians and technicians. The world countries. The Cathedral is influenced in famous clock draws a crowd every day design by both countries and is considto see the automated figures on ered a symbol of enduring spirit by the parade at exactly at half past midday. people in the region. An angel will sound a chime and the Strasbourg Cathedral is more than twelve apostles will pass in front of one thousand years old. The original Jesus. The clock shows much more Cathedral was constructed in 1015 but than the official time; it also indicates later destroyed by a fire. The second solar time, the day of the week, the wave of construction started in the 12th month, the year, the sign of the zodiac, century, during the Gothic architectural the phase of the moon and the posiyears. The construction on the nave took tion of several planets. Although visiplace during the entire 13th century and tors can tour the Cathedral during the the delicate spire was completed in 1439. day, a separate ticket is needed for the Between 1870 and 1945, the viewing of the Astronomical clock. Cathedral suffered heavily during three Attracting more than four million wars, but remained standing. The Second visitors each year, Strasbourg World War proved especially difficult for Cathedral is the second most-visited the Cathedral. During the annexation of cathedral in France after Notre-Dame Strasbourg into the Third Reich, Hitler de Paris. The Cathedral is open daily wanted to turn the Cathedral into a for visitors. For information, visit national monument. The huge and price-

By Liz Brewer

Have you for students in ever experienced middle through an act of kindhigh school who ness that made are out in the you want to do community each help someone month performelse but weren’t ing community sure how to find service work in a the needs? The variety of fun Greater Brandon ways. Community The Charity The Brandon Foundation has exciting opportunities to help meet community needs. Connection Foundation invites you to be a part of the great work Luncheon is hosted quarterly by the being done by the many volunteers and Foundation and brings together our notboard members who serve all year long. for-profit organizations leaders who are The Foundation is committed to fulfill- on the front lines every day providing ing our mission to create public awarecare to the citizens of our community. ness, develop resources and support iniWith special guest speakers, lunch and tiatives that address local needs. We an opportunity to share their needs, this accomplish this by being a resource for event has been welcomed by the charifamilies, connecting with local charities ties who sometimes feel alone in their and partnering with other organizations to mission to serve our community. meet the needs in our community. Save the Date for the 2017 Evening The Foundation has several excitof Hope which brings together our Angel ing opportunities for you to get involved Families, Angel Teams, Angel Providers with and there is a place for everyone. and community leaders for an evening Since 2003, the Foundation and its one- of hope and inspiration. Tickets go on of-a-kind, Foundation Angel Program, sale on Sunday, October 1 and there has filled the gap for families in tempoare sponsorship opportunities available rary crisis due to a life threatening disif you would like to be a part of an ease or catastrophic event. The incredible event. It is our hope that by Foundation raises funds to provide being a part of the Brandon Foundation, direct family support to families enrolled every person will find themselves more in the Foundation Angel Program and in-touch with their own capacity for by partnering with local charities to con- “everyday leadership” and be equipped nect families in need with their services. to inspire it in others. Volunteers are the unsung heroes and For more information about the are doing practical things through the Foundation, visit help of local business providers and or call donors. Our Junior Angels Program is 689-6889.

Page 17 • • September 2017

Local Barber Puts Focus On Giving Back

By Caitlin Masessa

become more than just a pick-up point. “We wanted to bring ourselves to the community in the right way,” Sureller beamed, “We want to give away all the 200 bookbags that were donated.” Passing out flyers around his community, Sureller could feel the buzz of excitement the residents felt over the event. A buzz Although only 24 years that already old, Plant City native has him seeing Dontrey Sureller is aware of the opportunity how lucky he is. With two to expand kids, a two-year-old girl and Generation a baby boy that entered the ReNewed world this past May, beyond bookSureller was quick to have bags. “What them exposed to the imporwe plan on one tance of family. “My family day soon is to and I are small, but we’re get to where very close-knit,” we can do job Sureller explained. placement and “It’s important for me prepare people for job interto have them see that views by giving them the closeness.” Cutting right clothes to wear or to hair for two years, help them fill out an applicaand going on his first tion,” Sureller said when year at 6ixthelement speaking about helping Barbershop in adults as well as children, Brandon, Sureller dis“We just want to mentor and covered a new pasgive back.” sion through the job Mentoring is nothing new he loves. “While I cut for Sureller thanks to people’s hair, I talk Photos courtesy of Dontrey 6ixthelement’s tradition of Sureller and mentor them,” giving free haircuts to the Sureller said, “I found foster kids of A Kid’s Place. Going on that, through cutting hair, I can touch six months of performing the service, lives.” the Barbershop closes at six every Wanting to touch lives beyond the other Tuesday to accommodate the barber chair, and with the help from children, and he stays until they have his family, Sureller decided to form given every child the cut they desire. Generation ReNewed, a foundation “The kids love us and have a good that puts the spotlight on his home of time,” Sureller smiled, “They don’t Plant City. “We want to give back to really have anyone, so to see them the Plant City community by reaching come in and look up to us really back from the generations of the past touches my heart.” Sureller hopes to the generations of today to get our that Generation ReNewed doesn’t neighborhood restored,” Sureller just touch the hearts that need it the explained the namesake of the charimost, but that it will also inspire more ty. With back-to-school season rapidly people in the community to speak out approaching, Sureller decided it was about a cause important to them. the perfect time for Generation “That first initial thought of ‘I want to ReNewed to put on its First Annual help’ is all you really need,” Sureller Bookbag Drop. With food, music, offered advice to anyone who wants bounce houses, and a Tuna Car to help out, “If you can think it, you Show that had more than 60 vehicles, can do it.” Sureller hopes that the event, held To learn more about Generation July 23 at the Martin Luther King Jr. ReNewed and its mission, contact Recreation Center in Plant City, will Kimberly Kitchen at 562-4495.

South Brandon 2010 Bloomingdale Ave Brandon (813) 571-0569 Lake Brandon Village 11325 Causeway Blvd Brandon (813) 655-1237 Hours: 6am - 10pm

Live Like You Mean It God’s Grace In Tough Times By Derek Maul “And since it is through God’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God’s grace would not be what it really is—free and undeserved.” – Romans 11:6 This past week I almost used a popular “faith cliché” in response to the tragic death of a teen at our church. Fortunately, I thought it through first. I believe my reasoning is worth consideration. We were talking about how challenging parenting can be, and how we all struggle. And we talked about how precipitously close to the edge life teeters at times, especially raising children. I almost said, “There but for the grace of God go I.” But that’s not valid. Would I suggest the grace of God wasn’t at play with the family who lost their daughter? Of course not! But the phrase suggests God’s grace is arbitrary, hit or miss, or offered in proportion to our walk as believers. But this family was surely covered by the grace of God! The truth is we’re all living with God’s grace as a constant. Psalm 23 reads, “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.”

Another translation goes like this: “I may walk through valleys as dark as death, but I won’t be afraid. You are with me, and your shepherd’s rod makes me feel safe.” That’s grace. We’re all suffering, and one of our families is devastated beyond what most of us can imagine, but God’s grace abounds. God’s grace is at work even now with the teenager who was killed; she is still very much God’s child. A better phrase would be, “Because of the grace of God, here I am.” Because of grace we can walk through this valley; because of grace a grieving family knows God in this darkness. Because of God’s grace, none of us ever needs to be alone, and no one ever has to lose hope. This is the good news; this is the Gospel; this is the truth about grace – DEREK 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

Page 18 • • September 2017

Longtime Campo Y Volunteer Ayden Thomas Honored During Anniversary Celebration

By Staff Report

including serving as communications and Y stewardship coordinator, working closely with facility sponsors and program promoters. Over the years, Ayden has learned computer and people Photo courtesy of YMCA skills. She Campo YMCA volunteer, Ayden Thomas, center, is joined by fellow volunteers and Y representatives during a recent surprise anniversary cele- also helps to bration, recognizing her seven years of hard work, commitment and plan special dedication while serving the Y and the community. events and From coaching sports teams, plan- gives presentations at board meetings. ning events, raising funds and handling “When I first started seven years dozens of key responsibilities, YMCA ago, I didn't know much about the Y volunteers serve an important role in and didn't really know what the letters association’s daily function. meant, but I am so thankful for the According to a recent report nearly opportunity and what working here 9,000 volunteers motivated by their helped me achieve.” desire to give back to their local comY officials acknowledged that if it munity, donate an estimated quarter weren’t for her willingness and volunmillion dollars worth of time to the teer spirit, Ayden would be stuck inside Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA annuher home all day, while her mother ally. works full-time. One such long-time volunteer who Campo YMCA VP of Operations has earned her local YMCA staff as Rob Gray emphasized Ayden’s exemwell as the community’s respect and plary attitude when he said, “One thing admiration is Campo Y volunteer that struck me and continues to Ayden Thomas. impress me is Ayden’s smile and posiTo acknowledge her seven years tive spirit every time she comes to of dedicated service, Thomas, 31, who work. She has done this 16 hours a enjoys great support from her mom week for seven years straight.” Kim, was recognized late last month As an added benefit, volunteering during a special surprise anniversary at the Y has given Ayden a way to celebration hosted by the Campo Y meet new people in a friendly welcomstaff. ing environment, to improve her deciAyden was born with Spina bifida sion-making and time management and is wheelchair bound. skills not to mention gaining a whole lot What she lacks in mobility, she of self-awareness. makes up for in spirit, including the Her mom agreed when she said, “I more than 5,000 volunteer hours that have seen Ayden’s self-confidence she has logged at the Campo Y, not to grow and her willingness to try new mention the thousands of dollars that things expand.” she had a hand in raising for the faciliTo sum up her appreciation for the ty. opportunity to be an integral part of the “I love working here,” Ayden said. Campo Y family as well as to serve her “The Y gave me an opportunity and I community Ayden said, “It has been a have grown so much from where I healthy experience and a blessing. The have started, which of course has a lot Y has been there for me for the past to do with the positive environment that seven years, and I don't see myself I work in.” going anywhere anytime soon.” Known for her happy, outgoing and For more information about the positive attitude, Ayden currently hanCampo YMCA, please visit www.tamdles a wide range of assignments

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Southside Baptist Church Celebrates Its 50 Year Anniversary In 1965, a group of members from First Baptist Church of Brandon broke ground on five acres located on the ‘south side’ of Brandon to create the Southside Baptist Mission. On Mother’s Day in 1966, Southside opened its doors to the community with its first worship service. Pastor James Shearer led the service in a bare bones building with concrete floors and no air-conditioning. Marilyn Lucas was among the 61 persons who attended its first worship service in 1966. She said, “We had furniture handed down from four other churches, no cushions and lots of splinters. There were no classrooms— just two rooms in the back for the nursery. It was quite a noise in the building that day.” On September 10, 1967, Southside Baptist was officially constituted as a church. A half a century later, Lucas is still a member at Southside and is on the church's anniversary planning committee. Lucas, along with several committee members, is working diligently to plan a 50-year anniversary celebration on Sunday, September 10 at 10 a.m. Lucas said, “It has truly been a privilege and honor to serve my church for these 50 years. We hope any past members who are reading this will call the church and let us know they are coming.” The festivities will begin with a memories program, which will include former pastors Pete Vandeweghe and Chad Driggers as speakers. Dr. Tommy Green,

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By Amanda Boston

the Executive DirectorTreasurer of the Florida Baptist Convention will also speak during the presentation. Southside Baptist plans to recognize former music and youth ministers with special music. The celebration will conclude with a catered lunch where friends both from the past and present can mingle. In honor of its 50th anniversary, the church began an outreach called VBS @ The Park this summer. For years, Southside has offered a summer Vacation Bible School on its property. However, instead of bringing the community to its campus like previous years, the church took VBS to the community. Youth Minister Ricky Holder and his army of volunteers held VBS at Heather Lakes Park and Bertha and Tony Sandino Park in Brandon. When Holder was asked about the success of VBS @ The Park, he said, “It’s not about numbers because that’s not an accurate way of looking at it. But as far as getting a presence out in the neighborhood and with these families, that's what we are really going for, and I feel we have been successful in that.” For more information on the church or the upcoming celebration, visit To contact the church, email or call 689-6049. Southside Baptist Church is located at 415 W. Lumsden Rd. in Brandon.

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Page 19 • • September 2017

Apostle Betrays Jesus Amid Conflict

By Kelly Wise Valdes

Judas Iscariot, the twelfth apostle of Jesus Christ, was quick to seek an order of protection after allegations of his betrayal over the weekend. It is reported that Iscariot was paid 30 pieces of silver to lead authorities to arrest Jesus. Iscariot was born in Kerioth, a small town in southern Judea. When he was young, his family moved to Jericho, where he lived and had been employed in his father's various business enterprises until he became interested in the preaching and work of John the Baptist. Judas's parents were Sadducees, and when their son became a Christian, they disowned him. Iscariot was seeking employment with a fish-drying enterprise at the lower end of the Sea of Galilee when he was asked by Disciple Nathaniel to join the other Apostles. He was thirty years old and unmarried at the time. Iscariot was thought to be the best-educated man among the twelve and the only Judean. However, according to Peter, Iscariot had no outstanding trait of personal strength. “He was a good thinker but not always a truly honest thinker,” said Peter. Andrew appointed Judas treasurer, a position in which he was exceptional. “Up to the time of the betrayal of Jesus he took the responsibilities of his office honestly, faithfully and most efficiently,” said Andrew. “He was good business man. It was difficult to manage the financial affairs of such an idealist as Jesus, as well as managing the helter-skelter busi-

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ness methods of some of the Apostles. Judas really was a great executive and a stickler for organization.” Many believers are still speculating as to why Iscariot would betray his Master for 30 pieces of silver. Some family members speculate that he was a product of a non-believing family. “Judas was an only son of atheist parents,” explained his cousin Ishmael of Canaan.” Iscariot had disclosed to some of his relatives and to certain friends of his father's family that he had reached the conclusion that, while Jesus was a wellmeaning dreamer and idealist, he was not the Messiah. According to witnesses at the scene, Iscariot carried through with his plan and led the soldiers to arrest Jesus. It was nighttime, and the soldiers told Iscariot to enter the garden where Jesus was praying and kiss him on the forehead. The kiss was the sign that allowed the soldiers to quickly apprehend Jesus. The eleven Apostles were horrified and stunned. ********************************** 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.

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Page 20 • • September 2017

Osprey Observer 2017-9 Christian Voice