Rasta­fari Church and Cul­tural Cen­ter open­ing

South Florida Times - - PRAYERFUL LIVING - Staff Re­port For more in­for­ma­tion, call 754-264-2205 or 305-331-0643. COM­MU­NITY DAY:

MI­AMI - The First Rasta­fari Church & Cul­tural Cen­ter of Florida(FRCCC) will host the open­ing of their lo­ca­tion on June 16 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. This mini-fes­ti­val is a fam­ily in­spired event and will take place at 16280 NW 27th Av­enue in Mi­ami Gar­dens. The event is free and open to the pub­lic. The MC for the day is Em­press Yvette Mar­shall, ra­dio per­son­al­ity at WAVS Ra­dio. The FRCCC is a space where peo­ple can thrive in the cen­ter’s open, col­lab­o­ra­tive and ac­ces­si­ble area.

"The essence of Com­mu­nity is com­mon unity. It takes a vil­lage to raise a child,” said Priest Doug­gie, Head of Cul­tural Ac­tiv­i­ties for FRCCC. With this in mind, the ad­min­is­tra­tion of the FRCCC aims to recre­ate the vil­lage at­mo­sphere in which unity of pur­pose em­pow­ers the black com­mu­nity to chal­lenge the prob­lems that ham­per its pos­i­tive growth.

The Rasta­fari nar­ra­tive is more than a re­li­gion, it’s a way of life, so­cial move­ment and mind­set. June 16th marks the birth­day of the founder of the Rasta­far­ian move­ment, Ja­maican Leonard P. How­ell, an anti-colo­nial fig­ure who joined Marcus Gar­vey’s Univer­sal Ne­gro Im­prove­ment As­so­ci­a­tion (UNIA) in New York.

The or­ga­niz­ers have planned a day filled with talks that will tackle is­sues fac­ing com­mu­ni­ties as it re­lates to men­tal health, de­pres­sion, and sui­cide.

The FRCCC is set to show­case dif­fer­ent as­pects of the Rasta­far­ian her­itage and cul­ture based on the wealthy and di­verse Rasta­far­ian life­style and his­tory.

Sched­uled ac­tiv­i­ties for June 16 in­clude a rib­bon cut­ting cer­e­mony fol­lowed by a dis­cus­sion on men­tal health, de­pres­sion and sui­cide by Keven To­liver Lyons, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of the Su­san D. Lyons Foun­da­tion. The day will also in­clude an African Sto­ry­teller/ Drum­mers Story hour pow­ered by Story-Teller Baba Aday; and Ben­ton Curry, Pres­i­dent of the Florida Di­vi­sion 525 of the UNIA-ACL (Univer­sal Ne­gro Im­prove­ment As­so­ci­a­tion and African Com­mu­ni­ties League) as well as the Di­rec­tor of the New Jerusalem Uni­ver­sity will give an over­view of the UNIA-ACL and its new­est di­vi­sion.

Ke­sha Bow­ers, a clin­i­cal so­cial worker, will speak about Post Trau­matic Slav­ery Dis­or­der and its ef­fects on our com­mu­nity; and Baba Pear­son, an el­der nat­u­ral­ist and healer will speak on health and well­ness. The fes­tiv­i­ties will cul­mi­nate with a screen­ing of “First Rasta,” by He­lena Lee. The First Rasta­fari Church and Cul­tural Cen­ter is host­ing a mini-fes­ti­val to mark its open­ing on June 16.

A recog­ni­tion ser­vice ear­lier this month rec­og­nized the car­pen­ters, ma­sons and oth­ers who built the new church, as well as the emer­gency re­spon­ders who were at fire.

“It's re­ally been over­whelm­ing,'' said Ralph Livsey, chair­man of St. Paul's board of trustees. “We have been work­ing non­stop for the last three weeks day and night try­ing to pre­pare for the ser­vice, plus fin­ish putting the church to­gether ... We just fin­ished mov­ing all of the stuff over here from RCAC and pur­chased all this fur­ni­ture. We're still try­ing to get ap­pli­ances hooked up and still have a ways to go yet.''

The Rev. Mitchel Nick­ols of the Bi­ble­way Church in New Kens­ing­ton was the guest speaker at the ded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mony, which fea­tured choirs from St. Paul, Oak­mont Pres­by­te­rian and Oak­mont United Methodist churches.

“The real work be­gins af­ter the build­ing is built,'' he said.“There's a com­mu­nity that still needs to be im­pacted. There's a re­gion that needs to be touched. There are peo­ple who's lives need to be changed. So the real work be­gins now so that it does not fall into the hands of just a few peo­ple.''

The mes­sage of unity was ev­i­dent through­out Sunday. More than 100 peo­ple at­tended morn­ing ser­vice with even more at the af­ter noon ded­i­ca­tion.

“God has just one army of will­ing sol­diers, and we're go­ing to stand united,'' said Greene, who thanked ev­ery­one in­volved in the project and those who sup­ported the church through­out the years.

Peo­ple min­gled, shared stor ies and food fol­low­ing the ded­i­ca­tion.

“We sur­vived be­cause it's God's will that this church be here,'' Griff in said. “I'm go­ing to do the best I can do and sup­port the church the very best I can.''

Ac­cord­ing to the “Afr ican Amer­i­can His­tor ic Sites Sur vey of Al­legheny County,'' the old church was built i n 1874 by an Epis­co­pal con­gre­ga­tion. St. Paul's con­gre­ga­tion, Oak­mont's f i rst black church, f ormed in 1905 and bought t he wood f rame struc­ture i n 1924.

A month be­fore the fire, for­mer long­time pas­tor Rev. Mor­gan James Reynolds died at the age of 93. He had served as pas­tor at St. Paul Bap­tist f or more than 40 years, from 1966 to 2009.


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