BLESSING OF STUDENTS — The Rev. Kevin Collison of New Covenant Baptist Church in DeLand is surrounded by children at the end of the Aug. 20 service. The children took an active part in the service, and were blessed for the new school year. From left with Collison are Anya, John Michael, Natalia, Kateryna, Walker, Jacob, Ari, Ellie, Abby, Eli, Ada and Hope. PHOTO COURTESY JAMIE SWINK

The Aug. 20 service at New Covenant Baptist Church in DeLand highlighted children. They read Psalm 100, sang an arrangement of the poem “Make a Joyful Noise,” were greeters, read the Litany and the prayer response, and assisted in the offering collection.

The Rev. Kevin Collison then asked the children to pass out puzzle pieces to the congregation, and later to collect those pieces. Three students were asked to assemble the puzzle while Pastor Collison shared a sermon about how everyone is like a puzzle piece — unique, but essential to the completed puzzle.

Collison had the children form a circle in front of the Communion table and hold hands. He then blessed them and all who will work with them for the coming school year. Each student was given a small gift to remind them of this blessing each day as they use the gift at school.

What is good ?

To mark the new month, this Sunday, Sept. 3, First Presbyterian Church of DeLand invites the public to worship at three services. Each service will offer a sermon by Pastor Michael Bodger titled “What Is Good ?” Noting the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans (12:9-12), Pastor Bodger will clearly answer this thoughtful query.

Do we really need a definition? With the brokenness of this world surrounding all of us, the resounding response is … yes!

Having just written that we followers stand as One Body in Christ, Paul now lets his Roman audience know how to live with one another. Verse 9 directs them (and us, of course) to “Hold fast to what is good!” Wisely, then Paul clearly defines in 10 verses just what good looks like — good as opposed to evil.

His framework has no distinction between Jew and Greek, saying, “Live at peace with everyone.” Pastor Bodger will challenge attendees with, “Do we follow that framework, and can we follow that framework?”

Each of our lives — day in and day out — tells the story, in truth.

With Praise Band music led by Joe DeGaetano in the fellowship hall, the contemporary service begins at 9 a.m. and involves group singing. Two traditional services, at 8 a.m. in the chapel and at 11 a.m. in the sanctuary, will share hymns and more classical music. Director of Music Ministry Jane Christeson will lead the Chancel Choir.

For those who cannot attend in person, First Pres provides both livestreaming and recordings of the 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. meetings.

The church community invites people attending services this Sunday to join the congregation for the deacons-sponsored September Birthday Fellowship after worship services. First Pres celebrates our brothers and sisters with beverages, cake, and joyful singing and laughter!

God’s Bathhouse will offer needy and homeless people hygiene kits, Manna Bags, fresh towels/clothing, and private showers 9-11 a.m. Saturdays, Sept. 9 and 23, on the courtyard circle near the Mission Room.

On the first Thursday of each month, beginning Sept. 7, First Pres volunteers will serve free carryout dinners at The Bridge, 434 S. Woodland Blvd. in DeLand, from 5 to 7 p.m. The Sept. 7 meal will have spaghetti, meatballs and garlic bread donated and prepared by First Pres members.

The church is looking for volunteers to help at the first fall Farm Share Food Drive/Distribution Saturday, Oct. 7, near the pavilion. Look for signs and announcements!

HELPING THE HOMELESS — DeLand Quakers, from left, Jim Cain, Heba Ismael, Bill Brennan and Carl Hersh show the items collected to be given out to people in need. Individual zip-close bags packed with nutritious snacks and hygiene items are given out once a month to homeless people they encounter in DeLand. Members of the group help serve dinner once a month at The Bridge, a shelter program operated by The Neighborhood Center of West Volusia in DeLand. Aware that there are many more homeless folks than can be accommodated by the agency, the Quakers want those unhoused and living on the street to know they are not forgotten. They prepared 30 bags, each containing tuna and crackers, a granola bar, applesauce, a juice box, and a toothbrush and toothpaste.

‘Imagine More Beauty’

The Rev. Carlos Perez of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of DeLand will deliver the sermon “Imagine More Beauty” at the 10:45 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 3, service. The sermon is based on Psalm 19:1-4, and includes an introductory short spectacular video demonstrating the glory and majesty of God’s creation. Creation cannot be imagined without realizing the greatness of God.

The service is enhanced with music from pianist Barbara Polomsky and vocalist Donna Mozley.

After the sermon, elders led by Brenda Morales extend prayers and open Communion for all.

Dr. Janet Raney leads a modified service at 8:15 a.m. in the kitchen foyer.

An adult Sunday-school class is available in the library at 9:30 a.m., starting the cycle “God’s Law in Love.”

Other activities for the week are: Prayer Monday at 3:30 p.m. in the library; Tuesday, hosting the 5 p.m. dinner at The Bridge, 421 S. Palmetto Ave. in DeLand; Friday, 7 p.m. bingo in fellowship hall, with proceeds after expenses going to a local charity; and Saturday, 8 a.m., the Disciple Men’s Breakfast, by reservation at 386-734-6078, at the Big Rig 2 in DeLand.

Being a practicing Unitarian Universalist

The congregation of Mosaic Unitarian Universalist meets online at 11 a.m. every Sunday. The Sept. 3 service is titled “What Does It Mean to Be a Practicing Unitarian Universalist?”

As she enters her last semester for her doctor of ministry program, the Rev. Tracie Barrett shares her research and the findings of her thesis, and how this can impact the congregation and the wider Unitarian Universalist Association.

Jane Bradford will facilitate the service.

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

Music Makers Choir season begins

Music Makers Children’s Community Choir will begin its fall program Monday, Sept. 11, meeting 2:45-4:30 p.m. Mondays following the Volusia County Schools calendar.

Music Makers is a faith-based after-school program for second- through fifth-graders. There will be music, drama, crafts, recreation, snacks and the performance of a Christmas musical with scenery and costumes.

You don’t need to be a member of Trinity UMC to participate.

Registration includes a rehearsal book, a CD, a T-shirt, snacks, crafts and a pizza party for $30 per child. There are discounts for multiple children in the same family. Scholarships are also available.

To register your child, contact Director Conya Hartman at 386-734-4425, email her at, stop by the church office 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday-Friday at 1401 W. New York Ave. in DeLand, or visit the church website at

Music Makers will be performing Really, Really, Really Good News on Sunday, Dec. 3. There will be a 9 a.m. performance during Trinity United Methodist Church’s worship service and a 10:45 a.m. performance during First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)’s worship service at the same address.

‘Comfort for the Soul’

On Sunday, Sept. 3, at 5 p.m., Larry Cuthill will provide the presentation “Comfort for the Soul: Transformation/Spiritual Growth” at Collective Church, which meets in the social hall of First Unitarian Universalist Church of West Volusia, 116 S. Clara Ave. in DeLand.

There will be a discussion following the presentation.

Archaeology confirms the Bible

Have you ever wondered if there is “proof” that the Bible is true? If so, plan to attend the 10-week Bible study video series 7-8:15 p.m. Tuesdays beginning Sept. 5, at DeBary-Orange City Seventh-day Adventist Church, 2535 S. Volusia Ave. in Orange City.

Pastor Mark Finley and archaeologist Michael G. Hasel, Ph.D., will share archaeological facts that confirm the Bible.

Explore the incredible engineering feats of the Egyptian pyramids, learn centuries-old secrets of Babylon, and marvel at fantastic finds in ancient lands.

Believers, nonbelievers, atheists, agnostics and the just plain curious are invited to this free series providing compelling evidence that the Bible is indeed true. For questions, call 386-775-3722 and leave a message.

‘Why Can’t I Stop?’

On Sunday, Sept. 3, First Church DeLand will continue the series “Ever Wonder Why?” Pastor Mark Bitner’s sermon is titled “Why Can’t I Stop?”

We all have a desire to do good and follow God’s law. Even with those good intentions, how many times have we thought, “I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t.”

Although we may recognize our mistakes, we often find it hard to change course. The Rev. Bitner will help us to find the support and understanding we need to fulfill our good intentions.

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, services are streamed live on Facebook on the First Church DeLand page or accessed through the website at

For additional information, call the office at 386-734-5113.


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