DEMONSTRATING IN SUPPORT OF VOTING RIGHTS — DeLand Quakers rally Jan. 15 with other peaceful demonstrators at the International Speedway Boulevard Bridge in Daytona Beach to support passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the For the People Act of 2021. From left are Bill Brennan, Elizabeth Camarota, Joy Brennan, Cindy Kwalwasser, Kathy Hersh, Bill Kwalwasser and Susan Vaughen. Similar demonstrations occurred at bridges across America to highlight the critical importance of passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the For the People Act of 2021. These acts would strengthen voting access for all eligible voters across America no matter what their racial, ethnic, social or economic status. According to an analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice, in 2021 at least 19 states, including Florida, enacted 34 laws restricting access to voting. PHOTO COURTESY SUSAN VAUGHEN

Since the inception of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in 1652, social justice and equality have been core values. Believing that there is that of God in all people is central to Quakers’ long history of activism supporting the equality of all people irrespective of their race, ethnicity, sex or social status.

Quakers were active in the Underground Railroad during the 1800s to help enslaved people escape their bondage. Quaker Susan B. Anthony was central to the success of the women’s suffrage movement.

Bayard Rustin and other Quakers were instrumental in the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s decision to study nonviolence with Gandhi, subsequently adopting the position of nonviolent resistance during the civil rights movement.

Of great significance was the instrumental role Quakers had in the initial circulation of King’s 1963 “Letter From a Birmingham Jail.” King had been jailed for organizing a peaceful protest that condemned racial segregation, which was widely practiced at that time.

To learn more about DeLand Quakers and their Worship Group, visit their website at www.delandquakers.com.

‘Pursuing Wisdom’

“Like sands through an hourglass — so go the days of our lives.” Time seems to fly whether you are having fun or not. But isn’t it so much better when our time is filled with joy, peace, hope and happiness?

Sometimes the road to finding these qualities in our life comes from the wisdom we obtain from our life experiences. This is even truer when we find our wisdom in the things of God.

At First United Methodist Church of DeLand, the sermon series “The Wisdom Pyramid” continues. The topic for Sunday, Jan. 30, will be “Pursuing Wisdom.”

The Bible teaches us to desire wisdom, to seek it and to search it out. But exactly how do you go about pursuing it? You’re encouraged to attend one of the services at First United Methodist this Sunday to find out.

In-person traditional worship is at 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. in the sanctuary, and a contemporary service is at 9:30 a.m. in the Family Life Center. All three services are streamed live on Facebook on the First Church DeLand page, or they can be accessed through the website at Firstchurchdeland.org.

The church’s youth will host their annual Rummage Sale 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12, indoors in the Life Enrichment Center. If you’d like to make a donation, call the church office at 386-734- 5113 to find out how. The proceeds from this event will fund youth mission trips and other youth ministry events.

First Pres to host human-trafficking-awareness event

First Presbyterian Church of DeLand is hosting a Human Trafficking Awareness Community Event 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, Jan. 29. The church is at 724 N. Woodland Blvd.

Freedom 7, a human-trafficking task force serving Volusia, St. Johns, Flagler and Putnam counties, is sponsoring the event.

Vendors and information/resources include the DeLand Police Department, HOPE (Helpers of People Enslaved), the Department of Children and Families, the Volusia Rape Crisis Center, Bikers Against Trafficking, Stewart Marchman Act Behavioral Health Care and more.

The Rotary Club will provide hot dogs for those in attendance.

Learn about trafficking that occurs in Volusia County and in other parts of Central Florida, how the groups mentioned above are working to combat it, and how you can get involved. The national hotline number is 888-373- 7888.

‘Walking Together’

Mosaic Unitarian Universalist Congregation, while not meeting face-to-face, is meeting online at 11 a.m. every Sunday. The title of the Jan. 30 service is “Walking Together.”

The Rev. Ben Collins will lead everyone in an exploration of what it means to walk together. If you’ve ever seen birds fly together, darting this way and that in a flock of hundreds, you’ve seen the shared consciousness that the congregation seeks — an emerging phenomenon in the union among people — a shared consciousness of connection, human dignity and planetary dependence — an integrated consciousness.

How do we make this new family and share this new consciousness? Worship leader Janice Holloway will lead everyone through the service. All are welcome.

For more information on Mosaic, visit the website at mosaicuuc.org. For instructions on how to join the virtual service, email to mosaicuuc@gmail.com.

Environmental resilience

As members of First Unitarian Universalist Church of West Volusia in DeLand continue efforts to return to their physical building in spite of increasing nervousness, members of Green Volusia return to share “Sustainability and Resilience Initiatives” and how everyone can do something.

Masks are required in the church building.

Those wishing to attend are encouraged to join 10:15- 10:25 a.m. for greetings before the 10:30 a.m. service begins.

Unitarian Universalists are an open-minded, openhearted spiritual community, where all are welcomed to learn together. The congregation participates in helping the Interfaith Kitchen and other community projects.

Regular group meetings continue on Zoom and in person: The book and poetry clubs each meet monthly, the Covenant Group and a discussion group meet every two weeks, the men’s group meets weekly, the Green Team meets monthly, and special educational programs for children are available.

Contact the church through www.uudeland.org to learn more.

1st Christian Church activities

First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of DeLand welcomes a guest minister to the pulpit Sunday, Jan. 30, for the 10:45 a.m. worship service. Julia Taylor is the greeter for visitors and members. The Rev. Dr. Fernando Morales and Olga Palmer invite guests and members to participate in Communion with prepackaged cups as part of the traditional part of the service.

Alex Velez provides special music on the organ or the piano each week, with support from guest musicians.

Worship services can be watched live on Facebook: First Christian Church – DeLand Disciples.

The church is hosting dinner at The Bridge, 421 S. Palmetto Ave. in DeLand, 5-6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 1. The dinner team includes Sue Brague, Jen Brennan, Greg and Jill Carroll, Walter Davis, Vicki Dean and Liz Kowalski.

The Disciple Women are preparing for the annual Trash and Treasures Sale, which will be 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 4 and 5.

The most excellent way

Modern Christians ask, “Just what is the most excellent way?” This phrase conjures up a major question of human perspective and personal lifestyles.

On Sunday, Jan. 30, at First Presbyterian Church of DeLand, Pastor Michael Bodger will answer this query and address the significant theme that Paul teaches to the Corinthians.

Through his letter, found in 1 Corinthians, particularly in 12a and 31b-13:13, the Apostle Paul encourages their (and our) proper and Godly response to gifts of the Holy Spirit.

In order to engage with one another in the manner of the Living God, we must engender love, the most excellent way! Without the presence of love, we cannot make the most of our gifts. Love gives our efforts meaning and fullness … not noise without substance. Without love, we become nothing and gain nothing.

Pastor Bodger will enjoin the listeners to wrap all that we do in love and hold on tight to the value of all followers and their gifts from the Holy Spirit.

As noted in The Beacon’s Religion Directory, First Pres holds worship services, including the Lord’s Supper open to all, at 8 a.m., 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Sundays. Also, the church offers livestreaming and recordings of the service on Facebook YouTube. All campus events now require masks and other COVID precautions.

This week, Saturday, Jan. 29, God’s Bathhouse will begin at 9 a.m. to provide showers, hygiene kits, clothing and fellowship to needy individuals in the church parking lot until 11 a.m.

First Pres is reaching out to support the Volusia County Trafficking Awareness Task Force by joining with St. Ann’s Catholic Church 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, Jan. 29, to host a Human Trafficking Awareness Community Event. This event brings to the community knowledge of the existence of and ways to combat human trafficking. Join the event in the pavilion near the parking lot of First Presbyterian Church for information and help!

We must keep the Ten Commandments!

The Lord says, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15) Following the Ten Commandments is not an option! To be in a personal loving relationship with God, we must obey them.

This is the theme of the sermon that will be delivered at 10 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 30, at Chrysalis Church, at 145 N. Euclid Ave. in Lake Helen.

God promises to reveal Himself to us when we love Him by doing His commandments, saying “he who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him.” (John 14:21)

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