12175309694?profile=RESIZE_710xThe Rev. Ray Simms has been appointed provisional pastor and moderator at Metropolitan Community Church of the Palm Beaches. Photo provided

Three P’s we all seek — purpose, pleasure and peace — are the topic of a workshop offered by Unity of Delray Beach from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Aug. 20.

The leader of the workshop will be Dennis Merritt Jones, who has been writing about the benefits of mindful living since publishing The Art of Being — 101 Ways to Practice Purpose in Your Life, in 2009. He followed with The Art of Uncertainty — How to Live in the Mystery of Life and Love It; Your (Re)Defining Moments — Becoming Who You Were Born to Be, and The Art of Abundance — Ten Rules for a Prosperous Life, in 2018.

12175312699?profile=RESIZE_180x180Jones is also a columnist for Science of Mind magazine and the Huffington Post who says one of his primary goals is to help people discover their positive purpose, one that leaves the world a better place.

From Jones, participants learn valuable mindfulness practices designed to enhance relationships, help connect with the “sacred self” and access the inner stillness that can bring peace even during the most chaotic times. Learn to channel fear into something positive.

The seminar is $25 by Aug. 13, $30 after. Register at the church bookstore or by phone at 561-276-5796.

Jones will also speak at the 10:30 a.m. service on Aug. 20.

Unity of Delray Beach, a nondenominational church, is at 101 NW 22nd St., at Swinton Avenue.

Happy 25th anniversary to Boca Helping Hands

Boca Helping Hands was established in 1998 by congregants from local churches and synagogues who met to discuss starting a soup kitchen. The kitchen began operating out of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in November 1998 and with support from CROS Ministries and community volunteers, 36 people per day were served in east Boca Raton.

Today, Boca Helping Hands assists at least 27,000 clients a year in Palm Beach County, handing out pantry bags at five locations, serving 6,500-plus hot meals per month and sending weekend meals home with more than 1,500 kids at 13 local schools.

That any child goes to bed hungry when so many Americans have never been truly hungry is not an anomaly. It’s a reality. In Palm Beach County, the number of hungry children tops 50,000. Consider:

• Experts say the world produces enough food to feed everyone in it, but not everyone receives it.
• Americans waste 60 million tons of food every year, yet nearly 14,000 people starve to death in the United States annually.
• Almost 20% of hungry families don’t qualify for assistance because they make too much money, but not enough money to afford to feed their families.
• Hungry kids are a heartbreaking reality, but our senior population is suffering too. Experts report 18.2% of seniors living alone in the U.S. are food insecure.
• A cnbc.com story in February reported that Boca Raton is the 10th most popular U.S. town for millionaires to buy second homes, yet Boca Helping Hands is seeing unmatched demand for assistance.
• Inflation is Florida is twice the national average and the cost of living in paradise is high.

The Boca Helping Hands board of directors, staff and volunteers are excited to celebrate 25 years of service. They’re not holding a party with a big cake and balloons, but they’d like you to! Suggestions include:

Hold a fundraiser: This year for your birthday, consider hosting a fundraiser and get your friends involved to support the Boca Helping Hands mission.

Host a Facebook fundraiser: Move your party online and ask for donations in lieu of gifts.

Make a $25 gift (a dollar for each year) to honor BHH’s milestone.

Volunteer.

Boca Helping Hands is at 1500 NW First Court, Boca Raton. Call 561-417-0913 or go to www.bocahelpinghands.org.

Metropolitan Community Church welcomes pastor

If you are part of the LGBTQ+ community, finding a welcoming church or temple where you don’t have to hide your true self can be challenging.

For nearly 40 years, the Metropolitan Community Church of the Palm Beaches has provided spiritual support to South Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and questioning communities. To better serve the community, the church welcomed the Rev. Ray Simms as its provisional pastor and moderator July 2.

Simms, a former nurse, and Dennis, his partner of 24 years, moved to Florida in 2013. Simms felt the call of God to the ministry in 2016. He earned a master of theology from St. Leo University and was ordained as a minister. He combined his health care experience with pastoral work as a hospice chaplain and part-time pastor in St. Petersburg. Now he’ll serve the community in a new way, “sharing the love of Christ with those whom other churches see as not being worthy,” he said in a news release.

The leadership of Metropolitan Community Church of the Palm Beaches says it is the largest faith-based community church dedicated to serving the LGBTQ+ community in Palm Beach County.

The church is at 4857 Northlake Blvd. in Palm Beach Gardens. Worship takes place at 10:30 a.m. Sunday both in person and virtually.
Call 561-775-5900 or visit www.mccpb.org.

Marriage tune-up hosted by Palm Beach diocese

The Diocese of Palm Beach hosts a seminar on “rekindling the joys of marriage and learning to relate to your spouse in a new way” on Aug. 12-13.

This getaway weekend takes place at the Courtyard by Marriott Stuart, at 7615 SW Lost River Road in Stuart, and includes meals and a Saturday evening social. There’s also an opportunity to renew your vows, make reconciliations and attend Mass at noon Sunday at St. Andrew Catholic Church.

The cost is $250 per couple.

Contact Deacon Louie Romero at Iromero@diocesepb.org or 561-775-9557 with questions, or register at eventbrite.com

Rabbi makes point with bid to ban Bible from school

The Palm Beach County School Board voted to keep the Bible on school bookshelves, and it took only minutes to do it.

Rabbi Barry Silver, a Boca Raton attorney and civic activist, had filed an appeal with the School Board in April to remove the Bible from Olympic Heights High School, where his son Brandon was valedictorian this year.

“There are misogynistic passages saying horrible things about women,” Silver argued, plus “intolerance toward homosexuals” and “a whole bunch of passages that are antisemitic, saying Jews are the children of the devil.”

His point was to show the legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis that banning books is a slippery slope. DeSantis last year signed the “curriculum transparency” bill, which gives parents a say in what educational media are available to students. The Parental Rights in Education law, as it is also known, gives parents the right to protest materials they consider objectionable.

On July 19, the School Board met to discuss whether the Bible would stay on school shelves as a rally in support of Silver’s efforts took place outside. The board voted quickly and unanimously to keep the Bible accessible, pointing out that the Torah, the Koran and other religious texts are also on shelves.

According to PEN America, as of July 2022, shortly after DeSantis signed the law, Palm Beach County schools had limited access to 25 books, including Anne Frank’s Diary: the Graphic Adaptation by Ari Folman, Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress by Christine Baldacchino, and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

PEN America, a strong advocate for free expression, considers a school book ban to be any action taken against a book based on its content that leads to a previously accessible book being either completely removed from availability or where access to a book is restricted.

Temple Beth El campus hosts open houses Aug. 23

Temple Beth El’s Schaefer Family Campus in east Boca Raton hosts two open houses on Aug. 23, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 6:30 to 8 p.m. Meet the clergy, staff and educators, tour the building, learn about the Judaic art installations and get to know Temple Beth El, a popular Reform congregation at 333 SW Fourth Ave.
Registration is requested at 561-391-8900.

Send religion news to Janis Fontaine at fontaine423@outlook.com

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