PREPARING BOOKS TO GIVE AWAY — DeLand Quakers Linda Gurney and Lynn Peterson are labeling Black history books to be given out at the rescheduled Juneteenth Celebration 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, July 29, at the Wayne G. Sanborn Activity Center, 815 S. Alabama Ave. in DeLand. “We have wonderful books for all ages,” says Kathy Hersh, one of the organizers of the book giveaway. “People from all over keep sending us books because they share our concern about book banning and censorship, particularly in Florida.” In addition to banned books and Black history books, Dr. Marvin Dunn’s book "A History of Florida: Through Black Eyes" will be available for sale. Dr. Dunn, a professor emeritus from Florida International University, was born and raised in DeLand. He has become world renowned for his Teach the Truth bus tours, which take students to sites around Florida where Black residents were victims of racial violence. PHOTO COURTESY KATHY HERSH

The Music Makers, a community children’s choir directed by Trinity United Methodist Church Music Director Conya Hartman, will perform at the 10:45 a.m. worship service Sunday, July 23, for the congregation of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of DeLand. Prior to that service, the group will perform at the 9 a.m. worship service for the members of Trinity United Methodist. Both congregations meet on the First Christian campus, 1401 W. New York Ave. in DeLand.

The Rev. Dr. Fernando Morales will give the message and lead First Christian’s worship service while Senior Pastor Carlos Perez is on vacation. The service includes joyful music with Barbara Polomsky and Donna Mozley; prayers from the congregation; and open Communion, with Nancy Jones and Brenda Vazquez-Morales serving as elders.

Following the worship service, there will be a brief congregational meeting and fellowship lunch for all.

Weekly activities open to the community include prayer at 3:30 p.m. Mondays in the church library; Narcotics Anonymous groups meeting noon-1 p.m. and at 6 p.m. Wednesdays in the church library; and bingo, which starts at 7 p.m. Friday, July 28, in the fellowship hall.

The Rev. Rico Vespa to speak on ‘Dead Horses’

First Church DeLand, a Global Methodist Church, welcomes a guest speaker this Sunday, July 23. The Rev. Rico Vespa will present the sermon “Dead Horses,” which is sure to capture everyone’s attention.

Originally from Pennsylvania, the Rev. Vespa is a retired Methodist minister who served as a pastor for more than 40 years and led multiple churches at a time in that area. He and his wife now reside in Central Florida.

First Church’s traditional worship services are at 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. in the sanctuary. The contemporary service is at 9:30 a.m. in the Life Enrichment Center. For those unable to attend in person, the services are streamed live on Facebook on the First Church DeLand page or accessed through the website at

There are a variety of opportunities for you and your family to connect with the church family. Even during the summer months, the youth are involved in activities, such as mission trips locally and out of state. Throughout the week, First Church offers activities for young adults. There are men’s and women’s ministries, Bible studies and prayer times. Abundant volunteer opportunities are available as well, giving you a place to share your talents.

Join to see where you want to participate — perhaps it’s pickleball!

First Church DeLand offices are open 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday. For more information, call 386-734- 5113.


The congregation of Mosaic Unitarian Universalist meets online at 11 a.m. every Sunday. This Sunday, July 23, the roundtable-style services will continue with a discussion of generosity, one of the subjects of the Unitarian Universalists’ Article II Study Report.

Unitarian Universalists cultivate a spirit of gratitude and hope. They covenant to freely and compassionately share their faith, presence and resources. Generosity connects people to one another in relationships of interdependence and mutuality.

These Mosaic Unitarian Universalist services are designed to allow participants to share their thoughts if they choose to do so. Sharing is always voluntary; active listening is welcome, too. Jan Holloway will facilitate the service.

Everyone is welcome! For information on Mosaic, see the website at For instructions on how to join the virtual service, email

‘A Brief History and the Spirituality of Bonsai’

First Unitarian Universalist Church of West Volusia in DeLand welcomes Jason Schley to present “A Brief History and the Spirituality of Bonsai” on Sunday, July 23. Jason and the team at Schley Bonsai in northwest DeLand have dedicated their lives to the love of bonsai, an ancient art form that is finding more and more popularity in the United States.

The sprawling and expansive nursery located beside the Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge is housed under the canopies of ancient moss-covered oaks and includes a Japanese-inspired garden and koi pond. They are open for visits Tuesday through Saturday.

There will be a Zoom meeting for the service part of the program. The ID remains the same. Feel free to contact the church for help in getting connected at before Sunday’s worship time. Individuals are encouraged to sign on by 10:20 a.m. or 10:25 a.m. to make sure they are on board. Those attending in person are encouraged to arrive at that time also for greetings before the service begins.

Unitarian Universalists are an open-minded, freethinking, openhearted, spiritual community where all are welcomed, as everyone learns and explores the search for truth together. If time allows, discussion may be included after every program.

Members of the congregation are hosting a time to pick up, sign or drop off petitions for a proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution to protect abortion. Organizers are seeking to get this proposed amendment on the 2024 Florida ballot. Anyone is welcome to stop by to find out about the petition 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesdays and 1-3 p.m. Sundays.


This Sunday, July 23, Pastor Michael Bodger of First Presbyterian Church of DeLand will continue the sermon series “Broken? There’s Good News!” Titled “Adoption,” Pastor Bodger’s lesson will focus this week on Romans 8:12-25.

In this passage, the Apostle Paul continues his letter to his as yet unmet Roman Christian brothers and sisters, seeking to have them know that they — and we — can achieve wholeness and healing through “our adoption as sons [and daughters], the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope, we were saved … you received the Spirit of sonship.” (Romans 8:23-24)

First Pres encourages everyone to join the congregation at one of the three services (with a single service on last Sundays of each month) and relish inspiring music and worship in person or by streaming and recordings. See The Beacon’s Religion Directory weekly.

As First Presbyterian’s Vacation Bible School begins this Monday, July 24, the congregation invites all parents and VBS students to the monthly Fourth Wednesday Cookout on July 26 in the fellowship hall (due to the heat) beginning at 5:30 p.m. Enjoy First Pres’s treat of hamburgers and hot dogs and all the fixings, along with any side dishes/desserts volunteers may bring. First Pres is looking forward to meeting VBS families and sharing this time with everyone!

In the courtyard on the church campus, this Saturday, July 22, God’s Bathhouse for the homeless opens at 9 a.m. Along with fresh clothing, hygiene kits and manna bags, visitors can enjoy refreshing showers and fellowship until 11 a.m. This mission needs clothing donations from the church. For men, pocketed athletic shorts, cargoes and jeans. For women, loose-fitting short-sleeved shirts or tunics and denim/cotton capris.

On Sundays from 5 p.m. till 6:30 p.m., the middle-and high-school youth group meets in The Loft for food, fun and fellowship throughout the summer. Join this active and interesting gathering under the guidance of Director Elendea DeGaetano, who offers details at

First Pres invites visitors and inquirers to join the “Last Sunday Single Service” at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, July 30, in the sanctuary. This joyful service of both praise and liturgical music will afford a special chance to fellowship with the wider congregation. A potluck lunch follows in the fellowship hall. You may bring a side dish if you’d like, but know you will feel welcome in any case.

The First Pres family is reaching out to welcome all visitors to the church services and activities and eagerly awaits your visit to their community!


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