Page 1

M.P.A.C: Grateful for Greatness

4PAGE 26

College Prep 101: Are You and Your Senior Prepared For the Next Big Step? 4PAGE 4

Mt. Zion Congratulates Its 2013 Graduates 4PAGE 10,12,13,16

Mt. Zion Children & Youth Ministry Welcomes Native Son 4PAGE 20

In This ISSUE... Letter from the Pastor................................................ 2

PROGRESSIVE IMPACT ISSUE II | AUGUST 2013 Pastor, Louis Murphy, Sr., Senior Pastor

K. Bernard Parrot, Valerie Ellis, Dea. William Fitts, Brenda Williams, Thelma McCloud, Tracy Darity, Christina Brown

Mt. Zion Christian Academy: Congratulations Graduates ..................................... 12 Mt. Zion High School Graduates.............................. 13

Contributors Advertising Sales: Donza Drummond Cover Photography: Tameka Hubbard Photographers Patrick McCormick, Alex Gulston Graphic Designer: P. Evans Writers: Tracy L. Darity, Patti Paganelli, Ortaega Rutledge

Special thanks to Deacon Will Johnson and the Mt. Zion Media Ministry

Mount Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church 955 20th Street S., St. Petersburg, FL www.mzprogressive.org

Ready, Set, Achieve! Preparing our youth today for a brighter tomorrow..............................6 Mt. Zion Children’s Center: On to New Adventures.............................................. 10

Administrative Team

(727) 894-4311

College Prep 101: Are You and Your Senior Prepared For the Next Big Step?.................................................. 4

Gibbs Sprinter Bromell’s Test of Time.........................14 Mt. Zion College Graduates..................................... 16 It’s Never Too Late.................................................... 18 Mt Zion Children & Youth Ministry Welcomes Native Son................................................ 20 Louis Murphy Jr’s 1st Downs 4 Life 6th Annual Football Camp....................................... 22 COVER STORY MPAC: Grateful for Greatness.................................... 26 Main Sanctuary Choir & Voices of Zion Young Adult Contemporary Choir................................................... 28 Perfected Praise Adult Praise Dancers......................... 29 Let Them Praise His Name with Dancing.................... 30 Warriors of Praise Mime Ministry............................... 32 Joyful Sounds Children’s Choir.................................. 33 Family First: A Conversation with Denise Ford ..... 36 Mt. Zion...Greater Than AIDS or Just a Slogan...... 38 Ministries At a Glance.............................................. 40 Ministry Spotlight Loving My Ministry: Natasha Goodley....................... 42 Healthy Living Transformation................................ 43 Mt. Zion Year In Review........................................... 46

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Letter From The Pastor

Greetings Mt. Zionites in the matchless name of our Savior, Jesus, the Christ! We have so much to be thankful for in the direction 2013 has taken us. Earlier this year we updated the church bylaws. I am grateful for those that worked diligently to modify the document making them consistent with the doctrine, beliefs and function of the church. The next step is to seat a board of directors whose function will be to carry-out the associated duties of the bylaws. If you have not had a chance to review the modified bylaws, I encourage members to request a copy through the administrative office. We recently named a new youth pastor for the Children & Youth Ministry. Rev. Shawn Thomas, who is not a stranger to many of us, officially joined the staff in June. He conducted his first One80 Teen service on August 11th. Please ensure that your middle and high school aged children are partaking in this engaging worship experience specifically designed for our youth. The church’s 85th Anniversary is about to kick into full gear. Earlier this year we held an Oral History Dinner that chronicled the history of the church. Guest speakers, which included the daughter and grandson of the late Rev. Louis S. McCree were among our panelist. In March we hosted a tea and hat extravaganza at the St. Petersburg Country Club. You can read more about other events in this issue of Progressive Impact. There is more to come! Are you as enthused as I am about our first family conference? Picking Up the Pieces Family Conference will be held here at Mt. Zion September 4th – 6th. We have dynamic speakers, including Dr. Brenda Caldwell of Memphis, Tennessee, coming to minister to the entire church body. Break-out sessions will include how to handle broken relationships, bitterness and anger, and how to forgive. I pray that you have made plans to join us. October will be extremely busy as it is our official anniversary month. Our anniversary committee has fabulous programs planned, including an anniversary banquet at the downtown Vinoy. This will be a black-tie affair so get out your best suits and dresses and be a part of this grand occasion. Mt. Zion family, God continues to richly bless us and I am elated by the progress we have made towards the overall vision of the church. I thank each and every one of you for your commitment in building the Kingdom of God. However, much work is still needed to be done and every God given gift and talent is critical in carrying out the mission and vision of the church. So please use your gift! After 85 years we’re celebrating our past and cultivating our future by activating our membership and getting in the race. Let us run with patience the race that is set before us and finish the year strong. In His Name,

Rev. Louis M. Murphy Sr. Senior Pastor P rogressive I mpact • 2 • August 2013

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College Prep 101: Are You and Your Senior Prepared For the Next Big Step? W

By Tracy L. Darity

e recently caught up with Kathie Lewis, Director of Mt. Zion’s College Prep 101: Be Prepared, to talk about the first year’s highs, and lows. The program is a new and much needed edition to our One80 Teen Ministry. The concept of the program came to Lewis after reading an article titled African American Students are Not Applying! Scholarships Going to Waste,” from the July 2012 edition of the Weekly Challenger newspaper. The article highlights the number of scholarships set aside for minority students by corporations across America, but go unclaimed each year due to lack of interest. Lewis, whose daughter was on her way to the University of Florida at the time, saw this as an opportunity to help other parents and students learn about the college process. “After sharing the information with my husband and getting his input, and speaking with then Youth Pastor, Eric Ford; Mt. Zion College Prep 101 was developed,” shares Lewis. A kickoff meeting was held in September 2012. Lewis points out that the mission of the ministry is to assist high school students and their parents with college preparation. The vision for the pro-

gram is taken from Jeremiah 29:11. A very popular scripture where God declares to the nation of Israel, “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” At the kickoff meeting in September, seventeen students attended. Attendance waivered until December, settling on roughly twelve students; leading the ministry to adopt the motto: whoever comes we will help. According to

When Parents were involved, so were the students

Lewis, “When parents were involved so were the students. We gave an attendance award to two students who only missed two or three meetings for the entire year. One lives in Pasco County,” she adds. College Prep 101: is a community outreach ministry designed to give stu-

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dents and their parents’ insight into what it really takes to get into the college of their choice. The goals they will need to set, and how important it is to complete every scholarship application. The first year welcomed two students from outside of Mt. Zion; Aynashia DeLaney, a freshman from Gibbs and Franklin Reece a senior from Lakewood, who has been accepted into Bethune Cookman College. On Saturday, June 29th, the Princeton Review was on hand to conduct a free SAT/ACT preparation workshop. Sixty-seven students from as far away as Orlando were in attendance. Lewis, excited about the turnout, reveals, “Thirty-three percent of the attendees were African-American males.” Some of the activities participants can expect to participate in include a Career Day. The team brings in professionals matching the career choices of the students. In November 2012 professionals from a wide array of occupations, including an attorney, pharmacist, psychologist, teacher and West Point Diversity Outreach Officer, were on hand to give insight and personal testimonials on their chosen profession. My College Experience gave Mt. Zion college students the opportunity to give back by allowing them to speak to the high school students about dif-

ferent aspects and responsibilities of college life. Next up was a trip to the University of Florida’s FISS (Florida International Step Show) event to give participants a taste of campus life. The daylong event included a campus tour and the step show. College Prep 101: Be Prepared will resume in the fall of 2013. Students and parents will have a myriad of topics and tools to learn from including essay writing, how to apply for scholarships, the best time to apply for college, SAT and ACT preparation, earning community hours, and the hidden costs of attending college. New for the upcoming school year will be additional focus on the SAT and ACT, and ensuring students understand the importance of community service hours. A new segment will be added entitled What if college is not for me? What are my options? Lewis shares, “We will have information on the armed services, technical schools, career choices and other info presented to these students as additional options.” Another crucial need that will be addressed is essay writing. Mrs. Evelyn Finklea, Program Director for St. Petersburg College Communications Department has recently joined the Essay Writing Support Team. In addition to essay writing assistance she will also be the presenter of the Writing and English SAT/ACT workshop coming in October 2013. There is a wealth of knowledge and insight to be gained by this much needed program. The impact on youth in the community can only be limited by the participation of students and parents. Education is both crucial and critical. If students want to strive and succeed they must be willing to put in the work. As the saying goes, do what you have to do now, so you can do what you want to do later. I take my hat off to Kathie Lewis and her dedicated team of volunteers for their tireless efforts to prepare our youth for a better future. <

College Prep Team: Kathie Lewis (Director), Toni Walker (SAT/ACT), Denise Ford (SAT/ACT), Mrs. CeCe (Community Service Hours), Maria Price (Scholarships) , Evelyn Finklea (Essay Writing)

Essay Review Support Team: Shikarah Dodson, Tracy Darity, Patrice Featherstone, Catherine Clark

If you or someone you know is interested in joining the 2013-14 College Prep 101 session as a participant or volunteer you can contact Kathie Lewis at (727) 894-4311 or email mtzioncollegeprep@mzprogressive.org

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Ready, Set, Achieve! Preparing our youth today for a brighter tomorrow By Tracy L. Darity


f you can dream it you can achieve it. On Sunday, June 9th, Mt. Zion celebrated its graduates and honored three top students, winners of the 2013 Essay Scholarship Contest. Each year graduating seniors are given the opportunity to participate in the essay writing competition. The three top winners receive college scholarships in various amounts along with other accolades. The essays were rated by anonymous faculty members of St. Petersburg College. Using a rating system of 0 - 20 points in five different categories, submissions could garner a maximum of one hundred points, with the winners coming from the three highest scores. Like the judges, there was no identifying information with the essays. The papers were judged solely on critical thinking, originality, organization, presentation, and grammar/punctuation. Nine essays were submitted and the 2013 winners are:

63rd Place Winner Work at everything you do with all your heart. Work as if you were working for the Lord, not for human masters. Work because you know that you will finally receive as a reward what the Lord wants you to have. Colossians 3: 23-24 Jalon C. Edwards is the son of Mr. & Mrs. Derrick (Staci) Jalon C. Edwards Pollock, and a graduate of Lakewood High School. A member of Mt. Zion for 9 years, he plans to attend Stetson University in the fall, majoring in Political Science and Pre-Law; and a member of ROTC (reserve Officer Training Corps). Asked for his career goals, Edwards was quite confident in his response. “I hope to become a State Attorney. I would also like to run for Governor

of the State of Florida. I will also be an Officer in the United States Army.” Edwards has been very active in ministry, which some believe plays a huge role in building character in youth. On various Sundays he shares in the praise and worship experience through the Mime Ministry, he is active in the One80 Teen Leadership Ministry assisting with bible study, youth services and as a participant in College Prep 101. One of his memorable moments was serving as co-captain and eventually captain of the One80 Brain Bowl team (2010-2012), going to state competition in consecutive years and coming in 4th place. Edwards has also served on Youth Anchors for Christ, the Cub Scouts and the Youth Evangelism Ministry. His extra-curricular activities in high school include being team manager for the golf and football programs, and scorekeeper for the basketball team. Academically, he was on the

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Academic Team, National Honor Society, a staff writer for the Spartan News Network and Vice President of the National Achievers Society. On his participation in College Prep 101, Edwards states the program helped him apply for scholarships and prepare for college. He speaks fondly of being surprised with a visit from West Point recruiters. They came to talk with him about the U.S. Military Academy, after learning of Edwards’s hopes to attend West Point one day, perhaps when he graduates from Stetson. “I couldn’t go to West Point, so they brought West Point to me,” he says with a smile. As a recent high school graduate, Edwards has some advice for his underclassmen. “Your senior year should be a

breeze,” he begins. “For the freshmen, your work in high school starts on the first day. So don’t blow it off, trust me God will reward you in the end.” Edwards speaks with confidence, knowing all too well that not being fully prepared can cost a student his or her first choice (of college). He encourages students to use the summer to build upon their college application by doing community service, seeking summer internships and improving SAT and ACT test scores. “Apply to at least five colleges and don’t blow-off community schools like SPC (St. Petersburg College),” he suggests. Edwards wants students to understand the importance of hard work and preparation, but also stressed the need to, “Stay involved and have school spirit. Finally take a deep breath, buckle up and enjoy your senior year.” <

62nd Place Winner

Amira Aisha Brown

Amira Aisha Brown is the daughter of Ms. Nicole Johnson. Brown is a graduate of Sunlake High School in Land O’Lakes, and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.’s, Precious Pearls enrichment program. She has been accepted into Xavier University of Louisiana and plans to major in Pre-medicine. It is her goal to become a Pediatrician.

A four year member of Mt. Zion, Brown has been active

in the Children & Youth Ministry and participated in the College Prep 101 program. Brown believes College Prep 101 helped her to become better organized and taught her different ways to locate and select scholarships suited for her goals. She is the recipient of a Xavier Housing Grant, Xavier Academic Scholarship and a GFWC (General Federation of Women’s Club) Lutz-Land O’Lakes Woman’s Club Scholarship. Her advice for upcoming seniors, “Stay focused your senior year and don’t goof off because truly your senior year is the most important year and will determine if you get accepted into the college of your choice.” <

61st Place Winner The person who rests in the shadow of the Most High God will be kept safe by the Mighty One. I will say about the Lord, “He is my place of safety. He is like a fort to me. He is my God. I trust in him.” Excerpt – Psalms 91 Antonio Jahmar Clark is the son of Ms. Teresca Ferguson. Antonio Jahmar Clark Clark is a graduate of Boca Ciega High School and will attend Bethune Cookman University in Daytona Beach, where he will major in Public Relations. As a student, he was active in football, track & field, 5000 Role Models of Excellence, the Pinellas Urban League’s NULITES, Interact Club, Principal Student Advisory Committee, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.’s AKAdemy Pathfinders, an enrichment program in partnership with the Eta Rho chapter of Omega Psi Phi. A lifelong member of Mt. Zion, Clark is active in the One80 Teen Leadership Ministry and College Prep 101. In

the program he received assistance applying for college and essay writing, which is evident in his winning essay for the church scholarship contest. When asked about his experience in the College prep program he shares that he learned that getting into college isn’t a joke and now that he is on his way he must stay focused. A huge influence on him was the College Experience, an evening shared with the class of 2012 students who came back to speak with the upcoming high school graduates about college life. Clark’s ultimate goal is to own and operate his own restaurant. Although he did not share with me the type of cuisine, I have no doubt he will be successful in any endeavor he chooses. “Academics first!” he exclaims as we closed out our interview, concluding, “The classroom has priority over everything else.” It was purely coincidental that all three winners of the essay contest were active participants in the College Prep 101: Be Prepared program, something Director, Kathie Lewis believes is a testament to the success of the program. “It shows the essay writing portion is essential to their success,” said Lewis. Following is Antonio Clark’s winning essay. <

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Topic: What is a problem in your community that needs to be solved and, what are some possible solutions to the problem? By Antonio Jahmar Clark Living in St. Petersburg, FL there are many issues from crime to unemployment to uncontrollable teen pregnancy. I’ve lived in the Childs Park neighborhood of south St. Petersburg my entire life and in my short 18 years of life I have seen a lot. I’ve seen the neighborhood at its best and at its worst. There are a number of problems in Childs Park and part of the problem is the multiple negative influences that are occurring in the community and in the media as well and it’s infecting the youth like a virus. Young kids in the inner city have always only looked at sports as the “way out” or to make it. Yes there are many athletes to come out of South Florida, many out of the Childs Park area in particular but that should not be the only option. I once spoke to Shawn King former NFL player for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and he told me that “Education is priority”. In society today, the vision of success has been obscured. Too many of our youth believe that success amounts to how good you can run a football, dribble a basketball, or run around a track. What I believe is the problem in my community is we don’t stress enough how important education is and when I say “we” I mean we as a people or community. Education is the foundation of everything. The human brain can contain vast amounts of knowledge IF and only IF we allow it. In my neighborhood if we focus more on the academics more than we do on athletics I personally feel that it would have a very positive effect on the community as a whole. A few ways could be better advertisement of academic events such as tutoring, school functions, etc. Tutoring is always needed because some kids will never be perfect in every subject hence tutoring comes in handy. I personally am not very strong in math and I’ve always had a tutor for that particular subject. If we show kids that there’s more to life than sports and it’s not the only way to “make it” it could raise not only their spirits but also their confidence and morale. School functions aren’t just the schools way to take up the parent’s time it’s a way of fostering a partnership between home and school. If teachers see that parents care about their child’s education they will also. Children crave their parents’ attention and they will gravitate to whatever will make their parents proud of them. For example, if a child knows that his or her parent never comes to their school plays but never misses a basketball game they’re going to play more basketball. The point I’m trying to make is if we put the same effort in PTA meetings as we do little league games school morale will be a lot better. So in closing, I would like to say that our future is in the hands of the generations behind us. If they don’t have the same educational values that we had growing up, the future could be a wreck.

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On to New Adventures M

Shakeyba Greene, Director

t. Zion Children’s Center Director, Ms. Shakeyba Greene, had a very exciting and full first year that culminated with her first graduating class. Students, parents and teachers experienced a formal commencement exercise and the graduates, adorned in their burgundy cap and gowns, exhibited pride in their accomplishments and are eager to move into the next realm of education.

Asked to reflect back on her first year, Greene shared, “We have a lot to be proud of…being one of very few children’s centers in south St. Petersburg to meet or exceed all Volunteer Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) Standards on third quarter assessments.” She later talks about the many events that brought families and volunteers into the center to give the youngsters engaging experiences outside of the classroom. Events like the Martin Luther King, Jr., Day of Service that

added an outdoor classroom, Thanksgiving dinner, Little Christmas Festival, Easter celebration, and VPK Graduation, were all well attended. “We also joined millions in support of Michelle Obama’s health and fitness programs.” Greene adds. In addition, the center was the recipient of two major grants. The first, a $3000 technology grant will support President Obama’s initiative to encourage growth in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics also known as the STEM initiative. The funds were used for laptops and software packages in three classrooms. The second, a $3500 grant, was for the VPK Program and used to purchase a nationally acclaimed early childhood curriculum. Although the school year has ended, many of the students returned for the Explore the Bay summer camp, where they will venture to the Clearwater Aquarium, Sunken Gardens, Great Explorations and Lowry Park Zoo. Kudos to Ms. Greene, the graduates and their parents. <

Andrea Anderson

James Brinson III

Reydiance Robertson

Aniyah Bostic

Sir Christopher Brown

Kaliyah Christopher

Jaylen Harris

Dakota Haughbrook

Breyonce Tomlinson

Jayden Strickland

Kayden Strickland

Tracelyn Walker

Jerrell White

Lashey Williams

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Mt. Zion Christian Academy Graduates its First 5th Grade Class S eventeen 5th graders made up the first graduating class of Mt. Zion Christian Academy. Principal, Debra Woodard, along with 5th grade teacher, Mr. Thomas, are proud of the many accomplishments of the students.

During the graduation ceremony held on Sunday, June 2nd, in the main sanctuary of the church, over two hundred family members and guest had the opportunity to witness first-hand some of what the kids have learned through-out the school year. The children demonstrated a wide-range of newly acquired skills that included stories of the bible and how to build a radio.

ence was treated to a video presentation that culminated the highlights of their journey, which included a tour of the White House and visit to the King Monument.

Debra Woodard, Principal

One of the highlights of the school year was their trip to Washington, D.C. The audi-

Front Row: De’Algernard Brown, Anthony Givins, Jr., Q’Juanme Seay, Zyon Robinson, Dominick Holmes, Zaire Hocutt Row 2: E’Brazyone Howell, Arkeiah Elias, Yajonna Walker, Trevon Riggins, Kamau Adams-Walker, Shabreal Williams, Mr. Thomas Row 3: Elijah Goslin, Ndiya Hall, Knowledge Brown, Jatarius Bunch Absent: Aaron Williams

Ms. Brown’s Kindergarten Class Moves up to First Grade T

he kindergarten class of Mt. Zion Christian Academy delighted guest at the graduation ceremony with perfectly articulated recitals, mathematic skills, and a journey into the Spanish language. These little ones are well on their way to a bright academic future, and Ms. Brown is to be commended for a job well done.

Front Row: Jockee Sanders, Julius Kitt, Ja’Naija Roney, Da’Nijah Joyce, Sinai Dunbar, A’Layla Monroe Row 2: Nelson Sparrow, Serenity McNeal, De’Jon Whitson-Wyman, Javory Santiago, Za’Mori Lovett, Jon’Ajia Jordan, Iysis Chukes, Ms. Brown Row 3: Chloe Williams, Amilia Holmes, Jamar Wooten, Jr., Richard Adams, Zayvion Werts

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Jasmine Broom, Northeast HS Daughter of Troy and Rewa Frazier

Kaylyn Denise Fudge, Gibbs HS Daughter of Dennis and Tonya Fudge, Attending Florida State University

Amira Aisha Brown, Sunlake HS

Antonio Clark, Boca Ciega HS

Daughter of Chester and Nicole Johnson, Attending Xavier University, Louisiana

Son of Teresca Ferguson, Attending Bethune Cookman College

Darrion Denise Johnson, Earl J Lennard HS

Taylor Amarii Johnson, Gibbs HS

Daughter of Maurice and Cissi Thomas, Attending University of Florida

Daughter of Tim and Nicole Johnson, Attending Xavier University, Louisiana

Cornelius Copeland, Lakewood Center for Advanced Technology

Jalon Edwards, Lakewood HS

Son of Derrick and Staci Pollock, Attending Stetson College

Son of Rickey and Melinda Copeland, Attending St. Petersburg College

Alex Love, Boca Ciega HS

Daughter of Dorrian and Tameka Burrows, Attending St. Petersburg College

Amber Deanne Perry-Rentz, Palmetto HS

Daughter of Andre and Yolanda Rentz, Attending Florida State University

Not Pictured Trayvon Bromell Jacara Dennis Yolanda Green Sharell Keys Telishia Simmons

Sierra Nicole Tate, Northeast HS

Daughter of Jermaine Ross and Tonia Tate, Attending Bethune Cookman College

Betty’e Love Wilbourn,

Nickolas Young, Boca Ciega HS

Daughter of Lavonne Son of Brian and Jennifer, Attending Bethany Campbell University United States Air Force P rogressive I mpact • 13 • August 2013

Devario Wiggins

“If I’m not running,” he said, “you can catch me at the mall.” Which is about the only way to catch Bromell. Tampa Bay’s fastest kid posted nationally ranked times in the 100 and 200 meters in his first meet of the season — and he is aiming higher. He’s faster than he was last year at this time. Heck, he might be faster than ever, setting out to break all of his records and win an elusive state championship after finishing second in the 100 last year. “I’m trying for greatness,” he said. And there may be no stopping him. Garlynn Boyd, who has trained Bromell since he joined the Lightning Bolt Track Club at age 7, said greatness is certainly within Bromell’s grasp if he stays healthy. His personal best in the 100 is 10.36 seconds, and he’s aiming for 10.1 He has run the 200 in 21.01 and is aiming for 20.7. (To put both in perspective, the winning 100 time at state a year ago in Bromell’s class was 10.49; the winning 200 was 21.05.) His entire senior season will be measured in fractions, his success gauged by blinks of an eye. “This kid,” said Boyd, “is the real deal.”

“ I’m trying for greatness”

Gibbs Sprinter Bromell’s Test of Time By John C. Cotey (Tampa Bay Times - March 4, 2013)


rayvon Bromell does most things in short increments. Ten seconds here, 20 seconds there. But stick the Gibbs High School senior in front of the latest, hottest Nikes to hit the shoe racks, and he takes his time. His favorite might be the Gold Medal Nike Zoom KD IVs — fitting for one of the area’s top track stars — but they have plenty of company among four dozen other pairs of shoes in his closet.

Bromell’s athleticism — he also high jumped for the first time last week at a meet, going 6 feet, 2 inches — has not only led to a wealth of success, but to a series of unfortunate injuries. In 2008, he broke his right knee doing a back flip. Why? Because he could. He and some friends decided to make a video. Bromell, who took gymnastics when he was younger, once could do 12 in a row. “I just landed wrong this time,” he said. The doctors had trouble putting the knee back together, said his mother, Shira Sanders. When they managed to fix it, he wore a cast from hip to ankle for eight months to protect his damaged ligaments. The night the cast came off, he did five hours on an exercise bike. His knee had lost some of its ability to bend, and that wouldn’t return for months. Sanders said they weren’t offered physical therapy, so she made him bike to school to help the healing process. Bromell was still fast though — he ran a meet a few days after getting the cast off and finished first in the 100. “I was a little worried, because with a cast on that long you’re going to lose some muscle,” he said. “But I was pretty determined, too.” A year later, he damaged the same ligaments in the other knee playing basketball. Another cast, just like the last.

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And in 2010, he fractured his hip while running. “Injury after injury,” sighed Boyd. “But he keeps coming back and working harder.” When healthy, there is no one faster. Bromell started this year by finishing third in the 55 meters at the sixth annual Jimmy Carnes Indoor Track and Field in January, running it in 6.33 seconds, just .01 of a second behind his rival, Levonte Whitfield of Orlando Jones.

take,” she said. “I tell him now, ‘Keep your eye on your goal and don’t vary for any reason’ and he always remembers that. “You only get one shot at it, so make it good.” Bromell has, and his talents (and 3.2

He won the 100 and 200 at the St. Petersburg Championships, and Wednesday will defend his sprint titles, and MVP honors, at the 83rd West Coast Invitational. He is focused, driven and determined, a trait his mother reinforced in him as a child. Sanders ran track at Northeast. She was pretty good, but decided not to run her senior season. She never made it to state and still regrets it. “A big mis-

grade point average) are coveted by schools like Alabama (his first offer), Baylor, LSU, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Texas A&M and North Carolina.

Sanders couldn’t be prouder, because it was a long, hard road for the kid who now runs so swiftly on a short track. When she talks of the people who have helped with her son along the way, from her father and brother to the Boys & Girls Club to Big Brothers Big Sisters, from Boyd to her church to the track coaches at Gibbs, she sobs. “Everyone has been so good,” she said, so her son has the chance to be so great. They couldn’t afford many shoes when he was younger, but she takes great joy in that collection of his now, more so that he earned every pair by working at the mall. She can still remember him as a 7-year-old, running so hard, so earnestly, but unable to beat his mother. She told him to run faster and work harder. And soon, Mom could no longer keep up. <

The above article, reprinted with permission of John Cotey, originally appeared in the Tampa Bay Times On-line edition on Monday, March 4, 2013. Since then, Bromell ran a 9.99 in the 100 meter dash at the Great Southwest Classic, the fastest ever recorded by an American high school sprinter. The unprecedented time made him the first scholastic runner with a time under 10 seconds. However, he would later learn that due to the factoring of wind conditions his official time would not be recorded in the record books.. Bromell went on to be named Gatorade National Boys Track Athlete of the Year, and the chance to attend the 2013 Espy Awards in Los Angeles, California as a finalist for the coveted Gatorade Athlete of the Year. In August Bromell will travel to Medellin, Columbia to participate in the Pan-Am Junior Championships. Afterwards, he will begin his collegiate studies at Baylor University.

Upcoming Mt. Zion Events 85th Church Anniversary Celebration Events September 4th - 6th . ........................ Picking Up the Pieces Family Conference Sunday, October 13 . ....................................... Church Anniversary Celebration Saturday, October 20 .......................................................Homecoming Sunday Saturday, October 26 ........................................................Anniversary Banquet Sunday, October 27 . ................................................................... Founder’s Day Tuesday, December 31 ............. Close Out Celebration at Watch Night Service P rogressive I mpact • 15 • August 2013

Carlene K. Chambers,

Ricardo J. Copeland,

St. Petersburg College Associate of Nursing

Florida A&M University BS, Business Administration

Daughter of Milton Chambers & Bevolyn Robinson

Kevin A. Hartzog Jr., Son of Kevin and Michelle Hartzog

Clarke University BSN, Nursing

Son of Rickey and Melinda Copeland

Frank L. Miller,

Son of Willie John and Mary Miller

Embry-Riddle Master of Aeronautical Science

Beth Davis Brewster Technical Nursing, LPN

In Loving Memory London Donnell,

Son of Tony and Elaine Bradley

St. Petersburg College AA Business Management

Noel A. Sanchez,

Daughter of Corliss Sanchez

Florida State University BS, Biomathematics BA, African American Studies

P rogressive I mpact â&#x20AC;˘ 16 â&#x20AC;˘ August 2013

Verronica D. Vann, University of Central Florida Master of Social Work

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It’s Never Too Late Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 By Tracy L. Darity


om of three and grandmother of eight, Beth Davis has a very busy life. She accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior twelve years ago, and joined Mt. Zion in 2006. Originally from Indiana, she moved to the Tampa Bay area thirty years ago.

Serving Christ and the love for her family gives her life meaning. Her day-to-day strength comes from reading God’s word and the relationship she has with Him. At Mt. Zion she serves on the Intercessory Prayer Ministry under the leadership of Min. Bobby Bailey. In 2007 Davis became a Certified Nurse’s Aide. Wanting

If school is right for you God will see you through. Never look back, keep one foot in front of the other, and always look to the hills from which cometh your help.

to advance in the medical field she made the decision to return to school and in 2008 she earned her GED; the first step to becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse.

Davis was motivated to return to school and pursue nursing because she has a genuine desire to care for other people. “I wanted a better education and understanding of medical terminology for the people I take care of and to be an inspiration to others,” she adds. The decision was not one she took lightly, but with prayer, dedication, and the support of her family she pushed forward. Her faith in knowing God would never leave nor forsake her, helped her through the experience. “I also believed God didn’t bring me this far to leave me,” Davis says; adding that she has learned to trust more in God’s word. This spring, Davis walked in the commencement ceremony at Brewster Technical Center, to receive her Practical Nursing degree. When asked how it felt to have accomplished yet another goal, she simply replied, “It is indescribable. No words can ever express where God has brought me from.” For those wanting to return to school, no matter where you are in life, Davis has some words of wisdom, “If school is right for you God will see you through. Never look back, keep one foot in front of the other, and always look to the hills from which cometh your help.” Ever humble and grateful, Davis would be remiss if she did not give thanks to those who supported her along the way. “I just want to thank everyone for their prayers and all those who believed in me when I did not believe in myself.” <

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Mt. Zion Children & Youth Ministry Welcomes a Native Son

Rev. Shawn Thomas Named New Youth Pastor By Ortaega Rutledge


ome is where the heart is. I’ll never forget that 5th Sunday in June when Pastor announced the appointment of our new youth minister, Rev. Shawn Thomas. As he stepped up to the podium to make his remarks, I looked at Rev. Thomas thinking, “Hey, I remember him!”

My mind quickly reflected back to March 2012. It was Pastor’s Anniversary and Thomas, a native of St. Petersburg, was one of four guest preachers that month and he blew me away! He preached a powerful message from 1 Peter 1: 5-7 on the topic of “A Friend in the Fire.” At that time, he was relocated and visiting here from Atlanta. At the end of his sermon, I never knew when I’d ever get to hear him preach again… until now. Rev. Shawn Thomas, Youth Minister

With 11 years in ministry, this St. Petersburg native is a candidate for the Master of Arts in Divinity. In his spare time, Thomas likes to take walks downtown in addition to watching the ID8 web channel.

and Cultured! The objective is to seriously train children/ youth to embody these components while they’re in the ministry and when they leave. We want them to first be spiritually connected, ensuring that everyone who we minister to has a real relationship with God. Secondly, we want them to be socially conscious. I’m a radical believer that we, as a people, have to be concerned about what happens in our communities and cities. We should be compelled to do something about injustice and other social woes. Finally, we want them to be smart and cultured; well-rounded and exceptionally educated.

PI: Sounds good. With that in mind, what changes parents expect to see? Thomas: Parents may not see much change at first. The initial months will be spent meeting with the youth staff, leadership team and others, to plan how we’re going to successfully move forward under my watch. I believe if we build strong, we will last long. PI: What consideration will be given to reviving the One80 Teen Ministry?

Progressive Impact had the pleasure of getting his thoughts regarding his new assignment, but first, Thomas had this to say: “Mt. Zion has done a great job in creating relevant ministries for children/youth. Building on that, I anticipate there being more outreach ministries with social focus being started. We will seriously teach them how to effectively evangelize on their level. I expect new ministries to birth from this and I will challenge ministry to be raised-up in our youth.”

PI: With new leadership comes new focus and ideas. What is our vision for the Children & Youth Ministry?

Thomas: I want to change the culture of church for all involved in CYM (Children Youth Ministry). We cannot afford to raise another generation of children who view church as a spiritual place only. Church has to be a place that is holistic. This is the real approach of Jesus. He was not merely concerned about one’s spiritual well-being only, but also physically, socially, economically and mentally. That’s what I will make church for them. When they think of a place to hang out, play video games and basketball, gain employment or just have someone to talk to and have fun, it will be this church.

PI: As Youth Pastor you have been blessed with an awesome opportunity that comes with great responThomas: I have one main goal with 3 components. Our sibility. What can the congregation do to make your motto is “Spiritually Connected! Socially Conscious! Smart job easier? P rogressive I mpact • 20 • August 2013

Thomas: First, I need their support and volunteer efforts. It will take this entire community to get the job done. Secondly, I invite them to recognize that change does two things. It costs and it’s sometimes uncomfortable, however, both the cost and challenge is worth it when we are actively training spiritually connected, socially conscious, smart and cultured leaders. In closing, Rev. Thomas wants to thank Pastor Murphy and all of Mt. Zion for this opportunity to serve. “I think we both will benefit and be forever the better because of this relationship,” Thomas said. “I also want to thank Rev. Whiting, Min.

Ford and Min. Dodson, who are all great men of God that paved the great path for me to walk on.” Mt. Zion welcomes new youth pastor, Rev. Shawn Thomas with a day of fun July 20th was a beautiful bright sunny day, perfect for an Ice Cream Social and Meet~n~Greet. Rev. Shawn Thomas received a warm welcome by over two hundred youth, parents and Mt. Zion volunteers. The day was filled with activities including face-painting, basketball, arts and crafts, Wii interactive dance videos; and lots of ice cream and camaraderie. <

Bible Trivia The Bible was written by approximately (A)___ different authors, men who wrote the inspired Word of God. It is made up of (B) ___ books. (C) ___ books in the old testament, and (D)__ _ books in the new testament. ANSWERS: A: 40 authors. B: 66 Books C: 39 Books in Old testament D: 27 Books in the New Testament

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By Holly Kestenis

ST. PETERSBURG –Sat., July 13th was filled with local kids vying for the opportunity to meet and train with hometown NFL star Louis Murphy, Jr. at his 6th Annual 1st Downs 4 Life football camp. Excited pre-teens and teens were able to not only meet the football star, but practice with him as well.

were divided into two groups, the 8-13 year olds and those 14 and up. 1st Downs for Life focused on teaching fundamental football skills and aimed to correct any bad habits some players may have picked up. Learning proper techniques and stance as well as blocking, ball handling, and offensive and defensive schemes were discussed, modeled and practiced.

“These guys are millionaires and the question is would Since its inception, the camp has worked with thousands of boys in the community, and this year was no excep- we spend our Saturday hanging out with some kids,” Louis Murphy Sr. asked. “So I tip tion. Held at 31st Street South my hat to those that are here Sports Complex, located at and doing things in the com5401 31st St. S., Murphy, who munity.” Pastor Murphy was recently traded to the New York Giants, and a host of hopes the camp will Murphy Jr. played for LakeNFL superstars such as Jonte wood High School as a Sparhelp young athletes see Green from the Detroit Lions tan and then went on to play and Kansas City Chiefs wide what it takes to make it college ball at the University receiver Jamar Newsome, all of Florida as a wide receiver not only in professional sweated under the hot Florida under then Coach Urban Meysun with one goal in mind: sports, but also in life. er. He won two SEC Champimentoring and guiding camponships and through hard work ers in football. and a relentless focus became Proud father Pastor Louis Murphy Sr. of Mount Zion Pro- one of the top receivers on the team. A captain his senior gressive Missionary Baptist Church was in attendance look- year, Murphy showed his mentoring side and was drafted in the fourth round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Oakland ing on with pride. Raiders where he played until 2011. “A lot of people make money off camps,” he said. “They Pastor Murphy hopes the camp will help young athletes charge $200-$250 for a kid to come to camp.” see what it takes to make it not only in professional sports, But 1st Downs 4 Life football camp is free. In fact this but also in life. He hopes the boys will see that perseverance year, due to the increased popularity of the one-day camp, pays off in the long run and couldn’t help reminiscing about organizers were forced to cutoff registration in order to pro- those early days when his son was just starting out. vide a quality experience for all who attended. Participants

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“I could never get [him] to run. It was like, ‘no daddy, no daddy,’” he recalled of Murphy Jr.’s younger years. But after a trick involving the purchase of a once beloved action figure, the Pastor got his wish, signing Murphy up for his first 100- meter race. He was six. “He ran and the first 50 yards looked great,” Pastor Murphy said. “But that 51st step, a bear jumped on his back. The next day they had practice, he was there. He didn’t like losing.”

So while the St. Petersburg community will benefit monetarily from the day, camp participants left the 1st Downs 4 Life football camp with learned skills, a chance to interact with professional athletes and probably a few sore muscles. It sure was a great day to be a kid. < Reprinted with permission by the Weekly Challenger

And although the kids on the field at his camp were psyched to have the opportunity to meet and practice with Murphy and the other players, as far as his dad’s concerned the camp signifies so much more. “I’m grateful his football camp is a fundraiser for Mt. Zion Human Services,” Pastor Murphy explained stating the proceeds from the event will provide services to the local community. “It’s a further extension of what he’s doing here with the kids.” Known as the social arm of the church, Mt. Zion Human Services funds programs such as Sistahs Surviving Breast Cancer, a community support organization formed to assist minority women through their fight against breast cancer, co-parenting programs, as well as addiction recovery programs and various other care ministries.

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By Tracy L. Darity P rogressive I mpact • 26 • August 2013

On a warm Saturday afternoon in June the Z-Movement was in full effect. MPAC, Mt. Zion Progressive’s Music, Performing Arts & Choirs ministry, under the leadership of Minister of Music, K. Bernard Parrott packed the auditorium at Boca Ciega High School for an amazing display of worship. The performing arts Grateful for Greatness concert was a collaborative effort between nine of the twelve sub-ministries that fall under MPAC. Praise & worship is an integral part of the full worship experience. To witness individuals of all ages offering up their gifts in reverence to our Lord and Savior is something to behold. The members of MPAC perform on various Sundays, and also do community outreach. Local organizations have extended invitations to the mime and dance groups to do appearances at their functions. At times they can also be found ministering at family reunions and weddings. The Mt. Zion Progressive Main Sanctuary Choir, winner of the 2012 Steve Harvey Ford Hoodie Award for Best Church Choir was recently named one of four finalists for the 2013 crown. The star studded weekend honoring the best of the best in black communities around the country has changed its name to the Ford Neighborhood Awards, but the prestigious honor remains the same. Winners will be announced in Las Vegas, Nevada the second weekend in August. Since being bestowed with the title of best church choir, they have accepted offers to perform at the 2013 Strawberry Festival, 2013 Gasparilla Music Festival, and opened for popular gospel artist Yolanda Adams at the Straz Center, in Tampa, Florida. When the idea surfaced to take MPAC’s ministry to the community in a full production, Pastor Louis M. Murphy, Sr. had little hesitation. If they were confident they could pull it off, he would support the effort. The ministries worked tirelessly for half a year to present extraordinary spirit-filled performances. From uniforms, original choreography, sound and lighting, marketing, and ticket sales, the members along with family and friends dug deep to make it all happen. Sister Lucy Williams served as the Mistress of Ceremony and let the audience of six hundred plus know that at Mt. Zion we do not mind praising God wherever the spirit falls. “We’re breaking chains,” she announced after a powerful dance interpretation by the Mt. Zion Pure Expressions teen dancers, who performed to the popular gospel song Break Every Chain by Tasha Cobb. Grateful for Greatness opened with A & B selections by the Mt. Zion Voices of Zion Contemporary Choir, led by Mr. Anthony Williams. MPAC followed with a soul-stirring collaboration to J.J. Hairston & Youthful Praise’s, Lord You’re Mighty, which included all of the mime and dance ministries. Later, Mt. Zion Warriors of Praise Genesis Mime Group (the youngest of the mimes), received a standing ovation for their rendering of The Victor, by the same artist. Performances were not limited to Mt. Zion’s MPAC, invited guest included Bethel Community Dancers, singer, India Welch, poet, Arnesjah Miller, and Paneh Mime Ministries International of Durham, North Carolina. Anita White, who traveled from Tampa after seeing an advertisement for the event on social media platform, Facebook, said she was glad she made the forty-five minute drive. “I can’t sing or dance,” she confessed, “But there is something exciting about watching young people give praise to God through their talents. I loved it!” she exclaimed as the performances drew to a close. Brandon Bennett, leader of the Warriors of Praise Mimes, was candid about the hard work and dedication that took place behind the scenes, “I would be telling a lie to say that it wasn’t a struggle sometimes. It was a situation where you have a lot of creative and passionate people trying to get on one accord while also having their (individual) vision of how the concert should look and be handled.” he began. “There were obstacles along the way but I think I speak for everyone when I say that once it all came together, and we saw the number of people that came to see what we worked so hard for, it was worth it.” Bennett, like many of the fifty-plus members performing that evening had no idea what to expect. He admits to being nervous, but as the evening unfolded and he looked out over the crowd three words expressed his joy, “Look at God!” If you missed this year’s concert, mark your calendars for June 14, 2014. The tentative theme: As David Did.... II Samuel 6:14. MPAC is already gearing up for an awesome event. < P rogressive I mpact • 27 • August 2013


Main Sanctuary Choir & Voices of Zion Young Adult Contemporary Choir

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 (NKJV)


aith Armstrong sings alto in the 110 member Mt. Zion Main Sanctuary Choir. She has been a faithful member of Mt. Zion Progressive for twenty-eight years. When she’s not serving in ministry she is a busy entrepreneur, running her graphic design business, Xtreme Designs by Faith. Singing praises unto the Lord enhances Armstrong’s relationship with Christ. She believes this wholeheartedly when she states, “Regardless of what I may be in or going through, by singing the word of God, there’s always a song that the Holy Spirit will take a hold of, which allows me to make it through.” She expounds on this belief by adding. “Worship has become my lifestyle; it is done in spirit and in truth regardless of any circumstance because it takes the focus off of me and allows me to embrace God’s grace, His mercy and all of His richness.” Being a member of the church choir affords Armstrong the opportunity to evangelize on a broader scale and to a more diverse audience at events such as the Strawberry Festival, and Gasparilla Music Festival. Mt. Zion choirs are not just for the congregation, they also share their gifts of song with churches throughout the Tampa Bay area.

Managing all that she does in her personal, professional and spiritual life can be taxing at times. When asked how she manages it all, Armstrong shows no signs of slowing down. “Prayerfully, I have made some reassessments with regard to what God will have me to do. My goal is to take on classes for strengthening in areas I am weak,” she replies.

Prayerfully, I have made some reassessments with regard to what God will have me to do.

She is the wife of Deacon Johnny Armstrong, and graciously steps into her role of Deaconess. Armstrong also serves on the Family Touch Team Ministry and does not mind helping out wherever she is needed. Her joy is in singing praises unto the Lord and believes to proclaim the word of God through music; is a weapon God has given to her to fight the enemy. “It’s not just music, it’s Ministry!” <

On March 24th of this year, Voices of Zion Young Adult Contemporary Choir made its debut with thirty-plus voices. The choir brings faster paced numbers that express Christian life through songs that personify a personal relationship with God. Joining the new choir added to Armstrong’s already busy church life, but she loves what she does for the Lord. P rogressive I mpact • 28 • August 2013


Perfected Praise Adult Praise Dancers

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1


aith McPherson serves as choreographer for Mt. Zion’s Perfected Praise adult dancers. Similar to the Petals of Praise and Pure Expressions dance ministries, these adult dancers’ mission is to use their temples as a living sacrifice to prepare an atmosphere of worship to the glory of God; and their purpose is to magnify the name of the Lord through dance.

vide a day of Biblical support, resources and technique training for participants,” she shares. The ultimate goal, according to McPherson, would be for those attending to gain a renewed sense of purpose and new material to incorporate into their ministries. Throughout the year Perfected Praise partners with other ministries to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. They have joined the Nursing Home Ministry on visits to area nursing facilities, participated in the Thanksgiving basket giveaway with the Men’s Ministry; and accompanied the Evangelism team in inviting neighboring residents to Sunday Service during the holiday’s. In addition, they performed at the 85th Church Anniversary Oral History Dinner, the signature kick-off event for the church’s year-long celebration.

McPherson recently celebrated one year as a member of Mt. Zion Progressive. She is grateful for the opportunity to be a part of Perfected Praise because it allows her to minister through her gift of dance. “To be able to share my formal technique training and artistic views on ways to minister my gift has provided an outlet for my creative energy,” says McPherson. Dancing for the Lord has impacted her life in several ways. According to the vivacious thirty year-old, “Working with others who share the same passion as I do, has allowed me to form a “bond” with a group of women whom have become like family.” In Spring 2014 McPherson hopes to anchor a praise dance

To be able to share my formal technique training and artistic views on ways to minister my gift has provided an outlet for my creative energy.

workshop. The workshop would be open to current members of MPAC, as well as community organizations and churches looking to start a praise dance ministry. “The goal is to pro-

On the horizon, McPherson would like to become active in the Single’s and Women’s ministries at Mt. Zion. She would also like to make time to volunteer in the Children & Youth Ministry. In her spare time she is an advocate for healthy living and living a fit lifestyle. Not just physically fit, but spiritually and emotionally. “Learning how to extend grace and mercy to those who need it is a characteristic that we all should desire to have.” If you are interested in joining the ladies of Perfected Praise, the ministry is open to women 18 years of age and older. They meet Sunday’s after the 10 AM service on the third floor. In closing, McPherson shares that the vision of Perfected Praise is to, work, like you don’t need the money…to love like you have never been hurt…and to DANCE like no one is watching! <

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Let Them Praise His Name with Dancing


Let them praise His name with dancing. Psalms 149:3.

n any given Sunday at Mt. Zion Progressive, young ladies ranging in age from five to eighteen, use the gift of praise dancing (also known as liturgical dance or worship dance) to set the atmosphere. Under the committed leadership of Ms. Michelle Mann, approximately sixteen girls receive spiritual guidance in not only interpretive dance, but also on how to keep Christ in everything they do. Mann oversees the Petals of Praise youth dancers, and Pure Expressions teen dancers. She has taken the two ministries from their infancy to a program that exudes spirituality, professionalism, and creativity. Her commitment can be seen in her love and care for those she serves. Mann is not only a ministry leader, but she has genuine love and concerns for the girls that extends to their personal challenges, triumphs, education, goals and most important, their salvation. She also holds the girls accountable by putting into place consequences and rewards when it comes to school grades and behavior.

According to Mann, the purpose of the dance ministry is to add to the worship experience by leading, encouraging, uplifting and ministering to the congregation through dance, while creating an environment that welcomes the presence of God. Her groups have demonstrated their purpose by always being available to minister when requested. In March they performed at the church’s 85th Anniversary Dressed to a Tea, Old Fashioned Tea and Hat Extravaganza, held at the St. Petersburg Club. The Yolanda Adams Mother’s Day Concert, and Pastor Murphy’s 14th Anniversary service were two key performances in the month of May. In June they delighted the audience at the MPAC Grateful for Greatness Concert. Upcoming performances include the 85th Anniversary Family Conference, taking place in September. Two members, Asha Whiting and Assata Trader share what it means to be a part of MPAC.

Petals of Praise

Nine year-old Asha Whiting, the daughter of Michael and Tanasha Whiting is a member of Mt. Zion’s Petals of Praise. A dance ministry geared towards elementary aged girls. She has been a member of Mt. Zion Progressive all of her life, and cites John 3:16 as her favorite bible verse. “Train up a child in the way they should go,” says Tanasha Whiting, who along with her husband are laying a firm foun-

Dancing for the Lord has impacted my life.

dation for their children. Asha recently auditioned for a role in the popular holiday production, Chocolate Nutcracker.

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Her experience in interpretive dance has prepared her for the role, and may have played a huge part in her being selected on her first audition. Prayerfully, it will be the first of many. The Whiting’s also have a son, Michael, who along with his sister, sings in the Mt. Zion Children’s Choir and is also a budding little league baseball player. On dancing, Asha acknowledges, “Dancing for the Lord has impacted my life.” She also shares that she wants to continue glorifying God in dance, and Petals of Praise gives her the chance to do so. She is definitely a shoe-in to transition into the Pure Expressions Dance Ministry for teens, in a few years.

Pure Expressions Artist, Athlete, Honor Student and Praise Dancer are just a few titles worn by seventeen year-old Assata Trader, an upcoming senior at Shorecrest Preparatory School. Philippians 4:13, Traders favorite verse reads, I can do everything by the power of Christ. He gives me strength. With focus and determination the three year member of Mt. Zion Progressive has the foundation to do anything she sets out to accomplish. Being a part of Pure Expressions, Trader says has drawn her closer to God. “I understand the meaning of praise and

I can do everything by the power of Christ. He gives me strength.

dance,” she adds when discussing the correlation of expressing one’s joy in living a Christ centered life. Commitment is also a huge factor; not only are the girls expected to perform before their peers during youth service and in front of the full congregation in the main sanctuary; one of the many rewards is taking their gifts and sharing with those beyond the walls of the church. Performing at the Straz Center in Tampa, as one of the opening acts for popular gospel artist Yolanda Adams was a huge honor for Trader and the rest of the dancers. Goals and ambition – Academically, Trader is as successful in the classroom as she is in everything else she does. An honor student who has her sights clearly set on college, she is on a mission. “I want to receive a track and academic scholarship, and I know being closer to the Lord will help me achieve my goals,” she says with confidence. On the

track, Trader recently placed first in the 100 Meter Dash, at the State Championships. She is also competitive in the 200 Meter Dash and Long Jump track and field competitions. Trader’s talents seem limitless. Adding to her repertoire of gifts, she recently shared her love of painting in an art show at her high school. <

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Warriors of Praise Mime Ministry Genesis, Psalms, Revelations, & Adults

Like warriors they charge; like soldiers they scale the wall. They march each on his way; they do not swerve from their paths. Joel 2:7 (ESV)


awana Rohlsen along with Brandon Bennett and Staci Pollock serve as ministry leaders for the forty-five members of Mt. Zion’s Warriors of Praise Mime Ministry. The ministry is comprised of four age based groups; Genesis (elementary), Psalms (middle school), Revelations (high school), and adults. Recruitment for the four groups begins at age five and includes both male and females. Their mission is to minister to and serve the church by presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ using Christian art, mime, and drama in conjunction with local bodies of believers. The ministry uses the talents of their members to enrich the church’s outreach and effectively impact the community within a two mile radius and bring about effective change. Rohlsen, a member of Mt. Zion for twenty years, is the mother of five children ranging in age from nine months to twenty-two years-old. She is a Licensed Practical Nurse, with plans of continuing her education in the fall; working towards her goal of becoming a Registered Nurse. With two children in college, and the younger ones in elementary and pre-school, she and her husband of four years have a strong partnership that is spiritually grounded. “Although my life is full this ministry helps make it complete.” Rohlsen says as she speaks about her involvement with MPAC. She is not the only one devoting their time and talent to Kingdom building. Her husband serves on the Family Touch Team Ministry, and two of her younger children also give of their time and talents. “Ministry not only enhances me, but strengthens my family bond and keeps us all rooted in the word of Christ,” she shares. Tolerance, patience and spiritual growth are three traits

that Rohlsen has built upon working with the youth at Mt. Zion. Her favorite bible verse comes from Philippians 4:13; I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Her

Ministry not only enhances me, but strengthens my family bond and keeps us all rooted in the word of Christ.

current goals are to strengthen her walk with Christ and to become better, both personally and spiritually. She believes that by continuing her work in ministry she will achieve personal growth and obtain her professional goals.

closer to Christ.

The Warriors of Praise have been busy ministering at community events like the 7x7 church conferences, Relay for Life Cancer Walk, community church functions, and numerous family reunions. Rohlsen doesn’t mind because she knows that every opportunity the mimes have to minister, is another opportunity to bring someone

If you are interested in joining the Warriors of Praise, they meet on Thursday’s: ages five to eighteen 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM, and adults, 7:30 PM to 9:00 PM. <

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Joyful Sounds Children’s Choir “O sing unto the Lord a new song: since unto the Lord all the earth.” Psalms 96:1 (KJV)


he Joyful Sounds Children’s Choir, under the direction of Ms. Stephanie Dixon, is an ensemble comprised of fifty-five youth between the ages of five and eleven. Dixon engages the children in song each Sunday between 10 and 10:30 AM as part the Children’s Church experience.

The choir’s mission is to impact the world by producing God centered, anointed Music and Celebrative Arts that will create an atmosphere and environment to equip believers to worship and praise God; and to also inspire radical but relevant disciples to reach the lost with confidence, with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The goal of the ministry is to cultivate the children’s choir into a solid, spirit-filled and enthusiastic vocal ensemble that ministers regularly in the youth chapel, main sanctuary and the community.

gest goal is to get adopted. Hollandsworth believes, being in the Joyful Sounds Children’s Choir will help people to see how much he loves God and would be a very good child to adopt. “Mrs. Thomas (his Foster mother) loves me,” he begins. “Because I changed my behavior I think God touched my heart. Being in this ministry had a lot to do with it.” His personality resonates the joy of being around other children that enjoy singing praise to the Lord. The ministry has impacted his life by helping him see his circumstances differently and in a positive light. The angelic voices of the children’s choir can be heard on the fifth Sunday during worship service. The kids have also performed during the annual Oktoberfest, an alternative to Halloween, held at Wildwood Park. Although he currently does not participate in any other ministries, Hollandsworth would like to become an usher and join the Youth Anchors for Christ, a ministry that teaches youth media and broadcast production. <

The ministry has impacted his life by helping him see his circumstances differently and in a positive light.

Ten year-old Scott Hollandsworth says John 3:16 is his favorite bible verse. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. He shares that his bigP rogressive I mpact • 33 • August 2013

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By Tracy L. Darity


lfredo and Denise Ford are the parents of ten well-rounded and gifted children ranging in age from 30 year-old Monique to 14 year-old triplets, AJ, BJ, and CJ. The Fords have been members of Mt. Zion since 1988. Today I met with matriarch Denise Ford to discuss the couple’s decision to home-school.

materials. We made a huge investment in our time and financial resources for our children. Lastly, social skills can be both positive, and negative. Usually, parents that choose to home school their children guard their environment.

What about extra-curricular activities for the kids?

Why home-school? DF - Initially, our oldest daughter compelled us to home school. She was bright, outgoing, and extremely social. We tried public school, private school, and home schooling. We continued to home school when she was successful, and the others followed suit. The public school principal asked, “Don’t you think we are qualified to educate your children?” I replied, “You are capable of educating my children, but the laws won’t allow you to teach them about Jesus.”

Have you seen any benefits? DF - Training our children to serve God, flexibility, and ownership of their education. We can develop their talents, through programs offered in our community. Children educated at home seem to have more confidence and a sense of who they are, and where they are going.

What would you consider the disadvantages? DF - Families that choose to home school will face persecution from people who do not understand their choice, and do not seek to be educated on the subject. Home schooling can be expensive; families must purchase their own curriculum

DF - Cheerleading, swim team, dance, gymnastics, golf, tennis, basketball, football, wrestling, soccer, Teen Pact, Speech and Debate, 4-H, Boy Scouts, etc…The children have kept us extremely busy.

I see that your older children made the transition into college were there any extra hurdles to get over? DF - College has been a positive experience. They did dual enroll at St. Petersburg College during their high school years, and accumulated credits for high school, and college. It has been a blessing. Scholarships are readily available for home schooling students. The requirements are the same for everyone. Our goal is for them to earn academic and athletic scholarships. Some of our children have been recipients of both. To God be the GLORY!!!

How does the SAT and ACT come into play? DF - Our children take the SAT. I have invested in the MASTER THE SAT CLASS the last two years. Test scores are really critical in the admission process at highly competitive colleges, and we want our children to be prepared to compete against the best and the brightest students in the world. At this time the boys have average SAT scores, but are get-

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ting better every day. I am thankful for the Mt. Zion College Prep 101 program initiated last year which was led by Kathie Lewis, and her team. Do you belong to any support groups in the community for families that home-school? DF - We are members of Pinellas Parents Education Association (PPEA), Florida Parents Education Association (FPEA), and affiliated with Accelerated Christian Education, Inc. The home schooling community is phenomenal! When word spread that we were expecting triplets the support poured in. Families picked up the children and took them to their activities, cooked meals, helped take care of me, offered words of encouragement, and love. It was during this overwhelming experience that we knew we probably would never leave the home schooling community. It is a compassionate culture that is unique, and endearing. Education goes beyond reading, writing, and arithmetic. God gives us gifts, and talents to be a blessing to others. God says, “He who has a bountiful eye will be blessed.” Most of the families in the home school community have a bountiful eye, and they are truly blessed. Virtual school and home-schooling is growing by record numbers, have you considered offering your services to other parents? DF - In 1993, I set up my home as a private school to support families that were considering home schooling. When I first began home schooling it was illegal to home school other children besides your own in your home. During that time, the Florida Department of Education said I could set up my home as a private school, and then be eligible to legally home school “little Johnny” next door. Today, I am available to offer academic support services to families who are considering home schooling outside of my home. During the Fall of 2013 I will be at the Roberts Adult Center two hours each day Monday through Friday. During the summer I tutor students that want to improve or practice their math reading, and/or writing skills. “Your talent will only take you as far as your character will keep you.” Jentzen Franklin

So tell us about your children. DF - We are very proud of our children. I never knew that when we began our home schooling journey that they would have such amazing accomplishments. I always knew they would go to college. Monique (30) is an entrepreneur, and owner of Doll Babyz, Inc. Kelli (26) attended Kettering University, and received her bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering. She is pursuing her dream of acting/modeling in Los Angeles, and also plans to start a foundation that will provide reconstructive surgery to individuals disfigured due to birth defects or injuries. Shannon (24) is working towards becoming a Massage Therapist; and Skyler (22) is at Howard University pursuing a degree in Architectural Engineering, with plans to build residential homes for people who are disabled so that they can lead independent lives. He also enjoys designing community centers for children, and youth. Quincy (20) is at Northeastern University on an athletic scholarship for basketball. His major is Human Services, but his dream is the NBA. Nykko (18) our recent graduate is at St. Petersburg College. He plans to transfer to the University of Miami to become a pediatric pulmonologist. Sajon (16) desires to be a missionary, and a professional basketball player. Phoenix “AJ” (14) is interested in commercial real estate; Keanu “BJ”(14) is interested in being a police officer for the St Petersburg police force. He wants to be on the S.W.A.T. team. Our youngest, Griffin “CJ” (14) wants to become a teacher.

Before we end, what words of wisdom can you share for parents considering home-schooling? DF - If parents are considering home schooling they can contact Dot Clark at the Pinellas County School Board, and request an “intent to home school” packet. Her phone number is 727-588-6209. I am also available to answer any questions. It is important to take ownership of your child’s education whether your children attend public school, private school or home schooling. Our level of parental involvement in our children’s education is what makes the difference in their academic and social success. Enjoy your children, invest in your children, and love your children. Most importantly do not compare your children. Help them to become everything God called them to do, and to be. We are all training our children to serve the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords. It is all by His sufficient grace. <

If you are interested in speaking with Denise Ford or learning more about her programs, please visit www.fordchristianacademy.com P rogressive I mpact • 37 • August 2013

Mt. Zion … Greater Than AIDS or Just a Slogan February 7th, March 10th, April 10th, June 27th, December 1st By Tracy L. Darity


hat do all of these dates have in common? They have all been designated as national HIV/AIDS awareness days. No matter if you are black, female, under twenty-four, or halfway around the world; you can be affected by HIV/AIDS. On March 10th Mt. Zion Rocked the Red Pump in observance of National Women & Girls HIV/ AIDS Awareness Day. The Red Pump Project, a national organization committed to bringing attention to the impact this disease has on women and girls, uses the red pump as a symbol of empowerment to represent strength and courage. While the women strutted in their bold and beautiful red shoes, the men of Mt. Zion showed solidarity by donning red ties. Red Pump Sunday at Mt. Zion was a precursor for a larger event—the Ignorance to HIV is not Holy community forum. In coordination with AIDS Service Association of Pinellas (ASAP), an informative open mic discussion that included free confidential testing was presented in June, to coincide with the June 27th National HIV Testing Day. About sixty adults and nearly forty youth were in attendance; and by the end of the evening sixteen people had taken the P rogressive I mpact • 38 • August 2013

test with another eight showing up at the ASAP office the following day. According to statistics one in five Americans infected by HIV doesn’t know it because they have never been tested. If you are black there is a greater chance that you are the one in five.

shows just how simple it is for us all to become greater than AIDS. For information on HIV/AIDS and testing visit http://www.asapservices.org, or call Ayakao Watkins at 727-328-5520. <

Statistics for HIV infections is overwhelming. There are 1.2 million Americans estimated to be living with HIV and roughly 44% of all new infections are among black people. Even more startling the CDC estimates that 1 of every 16 black men and 1 of every 32 black women will be diagnosed with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, at some point in their life. FEAR + STIGMA = More Infections. People have conditioned themselves to believe that not knowing is better. This intentional ignorance only serves to fuel the stigma associated with the virus. On April 10th the US observed the first National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Youth between the ages of 13 and 24 are being infected at a rate of 1000 new infections per month. If adults are not willing to address the seriousness of this issue, youth have decided they will. Pastors like Rev. Louis Murphy, Sr., are to be commended for coming to the forefront and saying it is okay to talk about HIV, as well as offer testing to not only their congregations but the communities they serve. “Get Educated. Get Tested . Get Involved. Get Treated.” is the slogan for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, which is February 7th; the message

Important Dates: National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day ................................................................................................................................................. Feb 7 National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day .............................................................................................................March 10 National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day ......................................................................................................................................March 20 National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day .......................................................................................................................................... April 10 HIV Vaccine Awareness Day ........................................................................................................................................................................ May 18 National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day ..................................................................................................... May 19 Caribbean American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day ................................................................................................................................June 8 National HIV Testing Day ..............................................................................................................................................................................June 27 National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day . ............................................................................................................... September 18 National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day ................................................................................................................. September 27 National Latino AIDS Awareness Day ...........................................................................................................................................October 15 World AIDS Day ....................................................................................................................................................................................... December 1

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M inistries at a By Patti Paganelli


Single’s Ministry


appy, Connected, Whole, Vigor, Sane, Sassy, Sexy, Saved, Energetic, Beautiful, Rugged, Honorable, Talented, Professional, Loveable, Peaceful, Humble, Bodacious, Active, Free , Successful, Accomplished, Swag..…the list of adjectives is endless to describe a person’s life while in their season of singleness. Never has a Mt. Zion ministry been so ready to take victorious living to another level.

some. They share how to enjoy and take charge of your life where God has you at this seasonal moment regardless of age. If meeting new friends and having great fun with group activities appeals to you, learn how God can maximize your spiritual gift to the fullest, by joining the Single’s Ministry on the second Friday of each month at 7:00 PM in the Youth Fellowship Hall. Bring a friend and a dish.

Marriage is a goal for some but not for everyone. There are those who are perfectly fine with “Living!” No attachments except in friendships and family whether church, professional or personal. Dating is great for a potential mate but what does God have to say about it and how to conduct one’s self while searching. The term “Single” no longer comes with a daunting perception of people looking for a dating service hookup and especially women that are lonely, unfulfilled, or worse desperate to get a man. The tutelage of Pastor Willie Whiting and co-assistant leader Sister Toni Walker has been and continues to be awe-

Wedding Ministry The church staff sometimes may be viewed as the last frontier or face of good customer service while hosting meaningful events. Often people are caught up with the overall production and end product of an event rather than small minute details performed by the seamless individuals behind the scenes helping to create the magic seen by the intended audience.


ho says great customer service is limited to the usual service industry consumers and buyers?

The women of Mt. Zion Progressive’s Wedding Ministry are an example of individuals providing 5-star customer service to the local community. Melissa Washington, with Star Status Events wrote, “On April 19th and 20th, I was privileged to work with the “Awesome” ladies of your Wed-

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ding Ministry...I am writing to give recognition for the wonderful work they performed. They were professional, courteous and showed great compassion in the fulfillment of their duties. Please inform all that it was of great pleasure working with them and I wish them continued success and growth

in the lives they brighten.” Memorable moments are created with hands of love, compassion, and a heart of excellence. The Wedding Ministry looks forward to serving you.

Women’s Ministry


omeone coined the phrase “A woman’s work is never done!” Wow! They said a mouth full to say the least. We work in and out of the home, discipline the children, maintain personal and professional relationships, take care of our spouses, keep our appearance at a fabulous level and use our weapon of prayer as the glue to keep the momentum going daily, weekly, monthly, yearly. However, when everyone outside of our world says we appear to have everything together, we know differently. We know that our wheels of progression get bogged down. The place to let your hair down and scream at times comes in the form of the Women’s Ministry.

Meetings are held on the fourth Tuesday of each month, at 6:00 PM. During the summer months the ministry meets at Bay Vista Community Center.

Mt. Zion Women’s Ministry, under the leadership of Deaconess Lucy Williams, refreshes the women of Zion and the community with monthly discussions, prayer, and wonderful fellowship just for women. The word of God has something to say on all issues, but especially women because we are his lovely roses in this vineyard we call life.

The Helping Hands Ministry


nfortunately our lives, sense of purpose, and general usefulness are measured chronologically in this society. If a person’s success is historically recorded by what he or she has accomplished prior to reaching a certain age, then that magical number must be 55. No one seems to be able to answer the age old question of when does one become too old to serve God? Some would automatically say physical limits or death is the end, but while people are amongst the living and able, when does the heart and mind for service quit? The Helping Hands Ministry (formerly known as the 55+ Ministry) has changed their face and the school of thought on those very questions, and placed into action the new and improved idea that God will and can use any ones hands regardless of age to help people in need. No one will

be put to pasture. How many times does God use examples of men and women, most often in the second half of their lives, to do the extraordinary tasks that glorify him the most? His roster is long, from the great names of the bible, to today’s servants; this group’s service is kind, loving, compassionate and consistent. They handle situations that rely upon their steadfast commitment and dedication, because they’ve been through many storms already with God at the helm. For more information on these and other Mt. Zion ministries, contact the church office at 727-894-4311, or call info@mzprogressive.org.

Bible Trivia What is the longest verse is the Bible? longest word in the Bible?



What is the

ANSWERS: A: Esther 8:9 - 89 words, 425 letters. B: Maher-shalal-hash-baz: Isaiah 8:1.

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M inistry


Loving My Ministry By Ortaega Rutledge


alking about going the distance? Make no mistake about it. Natasha Goodley, J.D. loves her church and her ministry. A single woman with no family here, she commutes from Tampa to take her post as a Director in Media. When telling people she belongs to Mt. Zion, Goodley says their first reaction is to ask why she drives from Tampa to St. Petersburg to attend church. “I would drive from California and back to be in the presence of God. How far would you go for Him?” she asks. A ten-year member of the Media Ministry, she is responsible for capturing every single moment of action

I would drive from California and back to be in the presence of God. How far would you go for Him?

that takes place during service. From praise, worship, dance, announcements, song lyrics, scriptures and the message being delivered by Pastor Murphy, Goodley does it all. And if that isn’t enough, all of the aforementioned is packaged into a digital story format that’s simultaneously broadcasted on multiple large projection screens inside the sanctuary to keep the viewer’s attention fresh and focused on the Word. All of this is then electronically transmitted to the Media’s Duplication Department for recording CDs and DVDs, giving them the ability to reach beyond our church walls and ministering to others

couraged to try Mt. Zion by recommendation of one of her law professors. That following Sunday, she showed up and loved it from day one. Soon after joining, she remembers sitting in church listening to Pastor Murphy during the 8:00am service. There were no scriptures on the screen, Pastor was walking out of the camera shots and there was constant feedback during service. Goodley remembers thinking, “Man, media needs to get it together!” Shortly after that, Pastor made a plea to the church soliciting prayers for the Media Ministry and encouraging members to volunteer. After service, Goodley stopped by the Media Department, inquired about opportunities and a decade later, she’s still here! Serving as Director and trained on projection, sound, camera and duplication, she enjoys serving as a liaison between individuals and Christ. Admitting that it hasn’t always been easy, Goodley suffered drama in her life that tempted her to walk away from her ministry and the church altogether. Praying to God and seeking His counsel, she learned to stand still, letting God fight her battles and the drama passed. “Working in Media has definitely affected me,” she said. “I quickly began to know all the members and we became close family. I’m no longer fleeing from drama and stress in my life. I am now continuing to grow in Christ.” <

Goodley recalls looking for a church home while attending Stetson University College of Law. She was enP rogressive I mpact • 42 • August 2013

Healthy Living Transformation By Kim L. Hickman, MSN, ARNP-BC


ongratulations to many of you for wanting to make a health transformation. Often we wait for an event or health crisis to jump start a healthy eating plan or we simply get sick and tired of being sick and tired. Whatever the reason early into the New Year our lofty health and fitness goals made with confidence and conviction, now take second stage to life’s many demands. Our good intentions are replaced with getting up too late to exercise, or not having enough time to eat breakfast so we grab a cup of coffee and a doughnut or make a run for the nearest drive thru. We often stay up late at night not allowing bodies and minds time to relax and unwind. We can even lose focus on doing good deeds like helping others before taking time to rejuvenate ourselves first.

It’s time we get real with our health goals and stay focused. Sometimes it’s the simplest things that make the biggest difference, like making the choice to go for a walk before sitting down after dinner, or planning our meals a few days in advance as not to allow natural circumstances to sabo- family member to be your cheerleader and coach tage our fitness goals. 3. Set Goals: Goal should be specific, goals should be attainable ( losing 50 lbs in 2 months in not Make a conscious decision to dedicate at least 30 min- realistic or safe), goals should be measurable and utes a day, six days a week to exercise. Be mindful of goals should be short term ( remember to celebrate the foods we are putting into our bodies, be mindful of your accomplishment with someone or something how we are eating and what emotions are present when healthy) we are eat. Often in this hectic lifestyle we eat when we are stressed out not when we are hungry. Make a deci- 4. Be Prepared for bad days-we all have them, don’t sion to eat when we need to refuel our bodies and not beat yourself up, just get back up. when our hearts are hurting or we are so overwhelmed food seems like our only refuge. When you are not 5. Replace bad habits with healthy habits hungry don’t eat, try instead to identify what our appetites are really trying to tell us. Take the time to medi- 6. Expect the Possible!! tate and to listen, often the answer is there if only we pay close attention. Okay now that the game plan has been set it’s time to set some goals and get on with getting healthy for Follow these simple tips and you will once again be 2013. < back on track with your health and fitness goals for 2013: Ms. Hickman is a Psychiatric & Mental Health 1. Remember you are powerful and able to achieve Nurse Practitioner your Goals 2. Don’t go it alone-enlist a supportive friend or

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Honey Mustard Grilled Vegetables (A light marinade of honey mustard, basil and Italian

dressing makes this dish extra flavorful without the extra calories). Ingredients you will need: 1/2 cup Italian dressing 1/2 cup honey mustard 1/4 cup finely sliced fresh basil 6 cups of assorted fresh vegetables sliced

Directions: In a bowl, mix the first 3 ingredients. Toss vegetables with 1/2 mixture, let sit for 30 minutes. Grill vegetable until tender, brush with the remaining dressing mixture.

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Mt.Zion Year in Review...

5 85th Anniversary Hat & Old Fashion Tea Extravaganza

5 Dr. Tony Evans Adopt-A-School Workshop

5 85th Anniversary Oral History Dinner


Rep Castor at Black History Luncheon


Eckerd College Fun Day

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Relay for Life

5 Jack Hartman Show

5 Pastor Murphy and Dr. Smith

5 Couple’s Ministry Movie Night

5 Evangelism Ministry in Campbell Park neighbourhood

5 Transportation Ministry

5 Youth Anchors for Christ

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Profile for Tracy L. Darity

Progressive Impact Magazine | Aug 2013  

Semi-annual magazine.

Progressive Impact Magazine | Aug 2013  

Semi-annual magazine.