Success at FishHawk Fellowship Fundraiser
Becky and Riley Moore spend time with fellow FishHawk Fellowship church members at a benefit which raised $3500 for the Almonte family who recently lost Narda Almonte after a unexpected cancer diagnosis recently.
A bank account has been set up at Regions Bank. Anyone wishing to make a donation can go into any branch and deposit the money into the “Narda Almonte Relief Fund,” opened by the Almonte’s neighbor, Millie Coffey. For more information about FishHawk Fellowship, visit www.fishhawkfc.org.

St. John Buys Chickens and Goats
This month St. John the Divine Episcopal Church focused on Episcopal Relief & Development (ERD) Gifts For Life campaign for contributions of goats and flocks of chickens – not only to feed needy families living in poverty but to help them learn skills they need to raise poultry and sell surplus stock and eggs in the marketplace. Even in these hard economic times, the members of St. John the Divine Episcopal Church have sent a check to ERD for the amount of $1,487 to buy goats and chickens.
ERD supports local, long-term initiatives that address poverty, hunger, disease, economic development and disaster response where the need is greatest. ERD reached more than 2 million people in over 40 countries last year.
For more information, contact Carole Del Castillo at cissydel@tampabay.rr.com.

Educational Center Plans Move
Lighthouse Center for Creative Learning, currently located at 724 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Brandon, will be moving to a new location next year. It will encompass a 6,000 sq. ft. building off of Oakfield Dr., located at 516 Corner St. in Brandon. The center will offer private school for grades kindergarten-sixth, tutoring, cognitive therapy and aftercare for the community.
For more information, call owners Butch and Kelly Bedwell at 655-6505.

Church Posts Job Opportunities
In an effort to assist churches in reaching as many qualified possible employees as possible, St. Stephen Catholic Church, located at 5049 Bell Shoals Rd. in Valrico, has created a link on its Website that allows employers to post open positions. The link does average more than a 100 hits per month from its parishioners. The church encourages other parishes in the Diocese of St. Petersburg and their parishioners who own companies or are managers seeking employers to post open positions on the site.
To post a position, go to www.ststephencatholic.org and click on the “Job Board” link at the bottom of the page. Each job posting will be reviewed and posted within 24 hours of the request. For more information, call 789-4900, ext. 306, or e-mail communications@ststephencatholic.org.

Chorus Returns to Sun City Center
The South Shore Sound Chorus, a chapter of Sweet Adelines International Chorus, has returned to St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church at 1239 W. Del Webb Blvd. in Sun City Center. The group practices on Monday evenings at 7 p.m. and is looking for new members. All ladies interested in singing and having fun are welcome.
For further information, call 866-730-7464 or go to www.southshoresound.org.

Church Creates New Mom Group
First Baptist Church of Riverview, located at 8626 U.S. Hwy. 301 S. in Riverview, is launching a Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPs) group. The group will meet on the second and forth Tuesdays of the month from 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Please visit http://fbcriverview.org or call 677-6377 to register or for more information.

Christian Networking Initiated
My Christian Concierge, a national Christian networking group, is beginning in the Brandon area. It not only gives Christian business owners the power of business networking but also integrates Bible studies that have application to the unique way Christians are to do business. The group also markets its members’ local businesses with printed advertising that is distributed to homes in the area. Florida State Director Dan Rodden was the CEO of a Christian non-profit organization for 30 years, where he taught youth to work and do business in a Biblical manner. The Brandon area’s meetings will be held weekly at 11:45 a.m. on Thursdays at 777 W. Lumsden Rd. in Brandon. The meeting will be held in the conference room, just behind the Holy Grounds Coffee Shop, and will end promptly at 1 p.m.
To get more information, please contact Rodden at 719-5826 or visit www.mychristianconcierge.com.

Sunrise Service A Success
Over 150 people gathered for the third annual Easter Sunrise Service by the lake at Rotary Camp Florida in April. This event was organized by the Cluster of seven United Methodist Churches in Brandon so that the community could experience Easter in an outdoor setting. People from different churches and various backgrounds sat next to each other in lawn chairs and bundled up from the cool breeze of the lake to hear about the resurrection of Christ. Pastors and leaders from multiple churches participated by leading prayer, worship, meditation and a drama of Mary Magdalene at the tomb.
It was a moving experience surrounded by nature that will be remembered by all of the participants.
The River of Life Methodist Cluster includes First United Methodist of Brandon, First United Methodist of Seffner, Limona Village Chapel, Primera Iglesia, South Shore United Methodist Church, St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church and Riverview United Methodist Church.
For more information, please contact Barb Kemp at 689-6849, ext. 223, or cell 241-7212

St. Mark Offers VPK
St. Mark Preschool, located 2914 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Valrico, will be offering free summer Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) for students entering kindergarten in August. Class will meet Monday through Friday beginning on Monday, June 8 and ending on Friday, August 14 from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. You may register your child by calling 655-7964 or 789-1323.

Ruskin Aglow Lighthouse
Ruskin Aglow Lighthouse meets the first Saturday of each month from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Ozzie’s Buffet & Grill, located at 3074 E. College Ave. in Ruskin. Luncheon is $8-$10 per person.
For more information, contact Robert King at 294-4769 or Dolores Hilton at 671-0575.

Feeding The Hungry
Cynthia Pinckney Ministries will be feeding and clothing the homeless and hungry at Able Body Labor in Seffner at 2006 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Saturday, May 16 from 1-2:30 p.m.
For more information or to get involved, please call Pinckney at 571-1556.

Gun Saint Society Commends U.S. Navy for Phillips Rescue
The St. Gabriel Possenti Society commends the United States Navy and, in particular, its Seal sharpshooters for the daring Easter rescue of heroic Captain Richard Phillips of the Maersk Alabama.
The international St. Gabriel Possenti Society, Inc. is an interdenominational group which emphasizes the historical, philosophical and theological bases for the doctrine of legitimate self-defense.
For more information, visit www.gunsaint.com.

Obama Administration Poised to Rescind Conscience Protection
Representing a coalition of medical and legal professionals, attorneys for Advocates International and the Christian Legal Society are working to dissuade the Department of Health and Human Services from rescinding protections enacted by the previous administration to protect healthcare professionals’ freedom of conscience. The current regulations prohibit federal grantees from discriminating against medical institutions and professionals that decline to perform or refer for abortions as well as medical students that do not wish to train in the performance of abortions.
For further information see www.freedom2care.org.

Parental Rights Amendment Gains Momentum
The new bi-partisan Parental Rights Amendment, introduced in the U.S. House in early April by Representative Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) and Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), will bolster existing family law and codify the fundamental right of parents to “direct the upbringing and education of their children.” The threat of government infringement upon parental rights comes in the form of a controversial, legally-binding international treaty known as the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child. If ratified, as urged by the Obama administration, the treaty would supersede even the U.S. Constitution.
ParentalRights.org is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization existing solely for the purpose of passing the Parental Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

New Children’s Book Combines Anatomy, Music and Religion
The Busy-Body Book of Fun-Atomy Tunes, published by AuthorHouse, and written by first-time author Karla R. Poer and illustrated by her daughter, Anna, combines silly and entertaining songs about the human body with religious teachings and insights.
“The biggest message I could hope to convey is that God loves you and wants to be near you,” Poer writes. “He will use sad times and troubles, as well as fun times and laughter to draw us to Him.” The book is available at www.Amazon.com.

Volunteering increased Due to Economy
The largest Christian online volunteer matching Website, ChristianVolunteering.org, has shown a 300 percent increase in traffic in 2009 from a year ago. As people have difficulty finding a job, many of them are turning to volunteering to keep themselves busy. ChristianVolunteering.org is free and works similar to job matching sites like Monster.com except matching volunteers to volunteer opportunities. Potential volunteers can search nearly 5,000 volunteer and short-term missions opportunities from over 4,000 organizations.

President Obama Announces Members of Advisory Council
In early April, President Barack Obama announced additional members of the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
Each member of the council is appointed to a one-year term. Floridians appointed Joel C. Hunter, senior pastor of Northland, A Church Distributed in Longwood, FL and Nancy Ratzan, board chair of the National Council of Jewish Women in Miami, FL.
The council will be a resource for nonprofits and community organizations, both secular and faith-based, looking for ways to make a bigger impact in their communities, learn their obligations under the law, cut through red tape, and make the most of what the federal government has to offer. For more information or a full list of members, visit www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office.

40 Days for Life Campaign Ends
From February to April, 135 cities in the United States, Canada, Australia and Northern Ireland joined together for the 40 Days for Life campaign, an effort that features 40 days of prayer and fasting for an end to abortion, constant vigil outside abortion centers, and extensive community outreach.
The next 40 Days for Life campaign is set for this fall from Wednesday, September 23 – Sunday, November 1. Additional information is available online at www.40DaysForLife.com.

Last Chance to Enroll in the National Bible Bee
The deadline for enrolling in the first-of-its-kind annual 2009 National Bible Bee Competition is Thursday, April 30. This Bible memory competition targets children and youth from ages 7 to 18.
For more information about the local competition held at Bell Shoals Baptist Church, located at 2102 Bell Shoals Rd. in Brandon, call 689-3964.

Churchwide Study at FUMC of Seffner
Join the members of First United Methodist Church of Seffner for a seven-week study on some of the most controversial issues of our time starting Sunday, May 3. This special event will include worship, sermons, and small-group studies, featuring videos, Bible study, and discussion. Come as it explores topics rarely discussed in church, such as abortion, the death penalty, and homosexuality.
First United Methodist Church of Seffner is located at 1310 S. Kingsway Rd. in Seffner. For more information, contact Deborah at 689-3513 or events@fumcseffner.org.

Announcements for Concerned Action, IncHRIST
Concerned Action, IncHRIST will hold orientation covering thought-action process, repressed anger, grace, forgiveness and choosing a happier life the first and third Monday each month from 7-9:30 p.m. at CAI’s office, located at 3813 Ravenna Dr. in Valrico.
Its Sunday services are from 3:30-4:15 p.m. at one of four assisted living facilities in Brandon.
The I Am HOPE Café offers a free hot meal, help and referral assistance to the homeless and needy in our community every Monday, Tuesday and Friday from 5-6 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Mango (FBCM) and every Saturday, from 9-10 a.m., at two locations: First Baptist Church of Mango, located at 11619 E. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. and Brandon Church of the Nazarene, located at 114 N. Kingsway Rd.
Share & Prayer Group’s Journey through the Bible is every Tuesday from 7-9 p.m. at CAI’s Office.
For more information, call 689-9552.

Church Opens Food Pantry to Community
New Berean Baptist Church, located at 740 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Brandon, welcomes residents to its food pantry and clothes closet on Wednesdays from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. All those in need can get one bag of food and clothing.
For more information, call 643-7600 or visit www.newbereanbaptistchurch.org.

REAL Invites New Members
REAL, Radically Excited About the Lord, invites residents to join the group which meets at the South Brandon Worship Center located at 4929 Bell Shoals Rd. in Valrico. Meeting on Friday nights, the group offers the Encounter Cafe Family Group for high school seniors through age 30 at 7 p.m. and worship for adults of all ages at 8:30 p.m. Following worship, AfterGlow takes place for adults of all ages.
For more information, call Brandon Knight at 746-2289 or e-mail at encountercafe@gmail.com.

Church Supports Divorced
DivorceCare is a special weekly DVD seminar and support group for people who are dealing with the pain of separation or divorce. FishHawk Fellowship, located at 15326 FishHawk Blvd. in Lithia, will be starting a new 13-week session on Wednesday, May 6. A workbook is required as well as a $12 fee (scholarships are available).
To learn more, visit www.divorcecare.org. To register or for more information, contact Barbara Davidson at 655-7431 or bdavidson@fishhawkfc.org.

Bell Shoals Celebrates Recovery
The Fellowship of Encouragement at Bell Shoals Baptist Church, located at 2102 Bell Shoals Rd. in Brandon, hosts Celebrate Recovery every Monday night in the Annex. Join the group for live praise and worship followed each week by a lesson or personal testimony. Support and encouragement is offered as the group overcomes harmful habits, hang-ups and unresolved hurts. In addition, CR Kidz program is available at the same time for grades 4-6. Children learn how to deal with life’s difficulties in a Godly manner. Free childcare is available for ages 0-12 years.
Reservations can be made by calling 689-4229, ext. 501. For more information, go to www.bellshoals.com.

Brandon Church Tells of The Cross
The First Baptist Church of Brandon offers The Cross on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. Join college and 20-something adults (18-25) for a live band and Bible study. The church is located at 216 N. Parsons Ave. in Brandon.
For more information, please call 689-1204 or visit www.fbcbrandon.org.

GriefShare Starts Again
Another series of the Christian-based bereavement program called GriefShare begins in the Parish Center at St. Anne Catholic Church, located at 106 11th Ave. N.E. in Ruskin, on Thursdays from 3:30-5 p.m. and again from 6:30-8 p.m. It is for those who are grieving the death of a loved one. GriefShare is a professionally produced program lasting approximately 13 weeks. One need not be Catholic to attend, nor do you need to start with the first week.
To register, please call 645-1714 or visit www.saintanneruskin.org/bereavement.htm for more information.

South Shore Announces Divorce Care
South Shore United Methodist Church announces Divorce Care, a divorce recovery and support group designed for those who are separated or divorced. The group meets on Tuesday evenings from 6:15-7:45 p.m. Sessions are held at the church office located at 435 Apollo Beach Blvd. Child care will be provided based upon reservation. Divorce Care features nationally recognized experts on divorce and recovery.
For more information, call South Shore United Methodist Church at 649-9462.

Free Language Classes Offered
Brandon New Hope Church, located at 1607 Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Brandon, is offering free language classes to those interested in learning Spanish or English as a second language. The Spanish class began in March and is being taught by Pastor Herman Sanchez, a native of Puerto Rico who has a degree in Education and has taught in several Florida schools. The English as a second language class is being taught by Leeann Short, the pastor’s wife, and is offered on Tuesday evenings. The church has upgraded its Website to include weekly sermons from Pastor Bob Short. This offers a great opportunity to listen to a Biblical message, at your convenience, when you can’t make it to church. Simply go to the Website, www.BrandonNew HopeChurch.org, click on the “Sermons” page and then click on one of the messages.
Call 685-6560 for more information and to register.

Women’s Connection Hosts Luau
Brandon Christian Women’s Connection (BCWC) will host its last luncheon until the fall with a Hawaiian luau. Ladies are encouraged to wear bright clothing or Hawaiian attire to the luncheon on Monday, May 11, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Inspirational speaker Millie Farthing, a retired Winter Haven High School teacher who has been a Bible teacher and speaker for over 35 years and founded Celebration of Grace, a retreat ministry for women, will share how you cannot predict the future, but you can prepare for it. Also included in the program will be Joe Martin from Martin Jewelers, whose store was the second jewelry store to open in Brandon, providing information concerning what to do with your unused gold. Women’s Connection welcomes women of all denominations and meets at Bell Shoals Church, Special Events Room, located at 2102 Bell Shoals Rd. in Brandon. The cost is $12. Complimentary childcare through age 5 is provided by reservation. Contact Bobbi at 657-8632 or at Barbara_gardner4@yahoo.com by Tuesday, May 5, to reserve your spot. Another date to consider is Monday, May 4, for a time of prayer connection. All ladies are invited to attend for an hour of prayer and fellowship. For details, contact Sandy at 655-0779.

Leadership Simulcast
The United Methodist Church of Sun City Center is sponsoring a simulcast at its location at 1210 Del Webb Blvd., in Sun City Center on Friday, May 8, from 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. Former Prime Minister of Great Britain Tony Blair, world renowned golfer and businessman Jack Nicklaus and author and leadership guru John Maxwell are three of the 10 thoughtful leaders who will speak at the simulcast.
For more information about the leadership simulcast, visit www.maximumimpact.com. Contact Rich Rohde at rrohde@tampabay.rr.com to register.

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Marie is the Managing Editor at the Osprey Observer. She covers news, transportation, education and likes to make a positive impact on the community and be 'in the know'!