By Janis Fontaine
How often do you stop to listen?
And even if you do, how often do you encounter silence?
If you don’t, how will you ever hear the “still small voice” of God?
Silent worship is one of the hallmarks of the Quakers’ beliefs, and the Palm Beach Quakers invite you to learn about this topic and more during a “Meeting for Learning” each Sunday this month.
The Palm Beach Religious Society of Friends, as the local Quakers are known, will serve coffee and pastries at 9 a.m. and have the meetings at 9:30 at the Meeting House in Lake Worth.
John Palozzi of Lake Worth has been a Palm Beach Quaker for about 10 years. The local Friends formed in the 1950s and most of the founders have died.
“We’re looking to attract some new members,” Palozzi said. “We’re never going to be a megachurch, but five or six new members would be great.”
The Quakers believe that in silence you’re more likely to hear God speak to you. They put the Psalm that says “Be still and know that I am God” into practice.
No intermediary is necessary for worship or to live one’s life. No priest or preacher, minister or book, rabbi, guru, shaman or doctor of theology is required for one to have a relationship with God.
If Palozzi had to tell you just one thing about the Quakers it would be this: “We have no dogma. We believe you can go within yourself and find God.”
Palozzi says the Friends are looking for people who have been searching for a spiritual home. It doesn’t matter what road people took to get there.
The Friends find inspiration in all religions and all religious texts, but they believe most firmly in the six testimonies, which are basically tenets on how to live your life. How you live your life is a testimony to your ideals and the kind of person you are.
The testimonies — simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality and stewardship — are universal.
Stewardship was the last testimony to be added, Palozzi said, to focus on environmental issues like climate change and habitat and species loss.
In addition to the learning session that morning, the Palm Beach Friends will host a special presentation, “Questions & Answers by Quakers,” at 1 p.m. Jan. 28 at the Meeting House, 823 N. A St., Lake Worth.
Members will address what it means to live a Quaker life in the 21st century. The meeting is free.
For more information about the Palm Beach Friends, visit www.palmbeachquakers.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gift baskets for charity
The Council of Catholic Women and Birthline Volunteers are raising money for Belle Glade mothers and babies in need via various events at St. Lucy Catholic Church in Highland Beach. These gift baskets were auctioned off Nov. 14 to raise funds. ABOVE: (l-r) Jeanette Schmitz, Peggy Brown, Anne Mongon, Ronnie Svenstrup, Connie Thuesen and Rose Marie Amat. Photo provided
Pastor Barbour retires
After almost 40 years as a pastor — the past 11 with Boca Raton’s Advent Lutheran Church — Pastor Richard Barbour retired in late 2017.
Barbour made many contributions to the church and the local community, and he loved and appreciated that 300 people came to say goodbye to him at his retirement celebration.
Through his tenure, Barbour did everything he could to promote Advent Lutheran’s many ministries. He held Bible study groups, headed “Church Without Walls” projects, led chapels for Advent School, taught religion to middle schoolers and was involved in all aspects of Advent Life ministries.
Barbour started the Stephen Ministry group at Advent. Stephen ministers are lay people specially trained to help people navigate through grief and other life tsunamis.
Stephen ministers provide one-on-one care to people in need, and Barbour says their dedication inspired him.
Barbour also served outside the church as a board member for Family Promise, a multifaith group providing support for homeless families, and for Boca Helping Hands, which provides food, medical and financial assistance, as well as education, job training and guidance to create self-sufficiency.
Barbour, in partnership with Pastor Andrew Hagen, worked to blend traditional Lutheran values with modern innovations.
Hagen said of Barbour: “God makes each of us like tools for a specific time and purpose, and Pastor Rich has been exactly the right instrument of God’s love for the past 11 years.”
Barbour plans to stay local. He and his wife, Avis, are ballroom dancers who look forward to staying out late on Saturday nights now.
“We’ve been taking lessons for 15 years and have met some wonderful people,” Barbour said. The couple also loves Latin dancing, and Barbour says the Argentine tango is their favorite.
For some people, retirement is an adjustment, but Barbour says, “I haven’t had any trouble. It’s been fully enjoyable.”
A runner for years, he has discovered the joys of a morning run and covers about 3 miles before breakfast.
He and his wife have four children, in Washington state, Manhattan, Jacksonville and Buffalo, so they have travel plans to make and fulfill and three grandchildren who need spoiling. Barbour makes each child a special Bible, with his favorite passages highlighted and special notes in the margin.
And of course, Barbour has lots of little projects to do around the house that seem like fun now that he has more time. And the family just passed another milestone: For the first time in 40 years, Barbour didn’t work on Christmas Eve.
Being a pastor is a 24/7 job, one lived at the emotional poles. The pastor is there at the peaks and valleys: your baby’s baptisms and your parents’ funerals, your daughter’s wedding and when you’re about to die.
So even though he has retired, Barbour hasn’t left the ministry behind. He has become the informal chaplain for his dance group. He’s already officiated a wedding and helped with a funeral.
To someone with the calling to be a pastor, it’s not really work, Barbour said. “It’s a privilege.”
The Avenue Church will hold beach baptisms at 9 a.m. Jan. 13 at Anchor Park, 390 S. Ocean Ave., Delray Beach. A class is required before baptism. The Avenue Church is at 2455 W. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach. Call John at 927-4000 or email John@theavechurch.com.
Join the Interfaith Café’s theological discussion from 7 to 9 p.m. Jan. 18 at South County Civic Center, 16700 Jog Road, Delray Beach.
Light refreshments are served. The meeting is free, but donations are appreciated. The Interfaith Café meets the third Thursday of the month, and volunteers are needed to assist with a variety of duties to keep this program going.
For information or to volunteer, email Jane@Aurorasvoice.org.
“Music at St. Paul’s” continues with a concert by the Klotz/Calloway/Strezeva Trio at 3 p.m. Jan. 21 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 188 S. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach.
The program is all Brahms, and featured works include Scherzo in C minor (F-A-E Sonata); the Trio in C Major, Op. 87; and the Trio in A minor, Op. 114. The trio has violist Michael Klotz, cellist Jason Calloway and pianist Milana Strezeva.
Arrive early at 2:30 p.m. for a special lecture by music director Dr. Paul Cienniwa.
Tickets are $20. Admission is free for ages 18 and younger.
For more information, call 278-6003 or visit www.music.stpaulsdelray.org.
First Presbyterian Church of Delray Beach will continue its Distinguished Preacher Series with Dr. Michael Brown leading worship Jan. 28 and Dr. Steven Eason speaking Feb. 18.
Brown, the senior minister of Marble Collegiate Church in New York City since 2009, is the author of six books and a contributing author to 11 others. He uses humor and personal anecdotes to illuminate his stories.
Brown will also speak at First Presbyterian’s annual Congregational Dinner on Jan. 26 at Benvenuto restaurant in Boynton Beach. The evening features a social hour at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 6:30. Dinner is $30 and reservations are recommended. Call the church office at 276-6338.
Eason, a graduate of Duke Divinity School, has 40 years of experience in the ministry from solo pastor to senior pastor, but may be best known as an authority on team building. His book, Making Disciples, Making Leaders: A Manual for Developing Church Officers, was published in 2016. It drew on 24 years of building, training and nurturing leadership teams.
First Presbyterian Church of Delray Beach is at 33 Gleason St. Visit www.firstdelray.com
Coming up at St. Mark’s
St. Mark Catholic Church has several events coming up in January. Get more information at the church, at 643 St. Mark Place, Boynton Beach, or by calling 734-9330 or visiting www.stmarkboynton.com.
• Bereavement Ministry Training: Sister Mary Joan has started her 12-week class to prepare parishioners to serve as Core Bereavement Ministers. Ministers help church members cope with their losses by visiting them after the death of a loved one, helping to plan a funeral and Mass, and providing support and help in the months following a death. For more information about the program, call the church.
• Ministry Fair: From 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 21 in the parish center, learn about the parish ministries that need help. There’s also a special Taste of Germany lunch with bratwurst, frikadeller and sauerkraut, and for the children, chicken fingers.
• Prime Rib Dinner: The St. Mark Council of Catholic Women will hold its annual prime rib dinner on Jan. 26. Tickets are $27, for sale in the church after Mass Jan. 13-14 and Jan. 20-21. Music will be provided by the Doo Wop Kids. Call Ann Albano with questions at 274-9553.
The Palm Beaches Commandery of the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Knights Hospitaller, inducted 16 aspirants at a formal investiture. The Nov. 4 ceremony at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Palm Beach Gardens was followed by a reception and black-tie gala at PGA National Resort & Spa. The Palm Beaches Commandery has more than 65 active members who do volunteer work and raise money for charities. ABOVE: (l-r, in front) Elaine Meier, Claire Clarke, Eloise Witham, Julie Bird Winchester, Douglas Blanz, Jay Owen, (middle) Marie Ryan, Candace Tamposi, Heath Black, Chelneca Templeton, Gary Templeton, (in back) Matthew Piotrowski, Monique McCall, Walter Jones Jr., David Barninger and Ken Nunnenkamp. Photo provided
Sexual harassment lecture
The Jewish Business Network will host a lecture by relationship expert Rabbi Manis Friedman, author of Doesn’t Anyone Blush Anymore?, at 6 p.m. Jan. 15 at the Boca Raton Library, 400 NW Second Ave., Boca Raton. The topic is “Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Exposed.” Tickets are $25 and include a light supper at 5. Make reservations at 394-9770 or bocabeachchabad.com/JBN
Chabad of Delray Beach will offer a six-week class, “Communication: Its Art and Soul,” from 7:30 to 9:15 p.m. Wednesdays beginning Jan. 24, at 7495 W. Atlantic Ave.
The fee for the course is $79, which includes the textbook. Bring a friend and save $20. If you want to check it out first, you can join the first class for free with no obligation to continue. For more information, call 496-6228 or email info@Chabaddelray.com.
Janis Fontaine writes about people of faith, their congregations, causes and community events. Contact her at email@example.com.