Koinonia isn’t a fish

Koi fish

What a strange word : Koinonia

This Greek word has no direct parallel in English. Often people will translate it as fellowship, but that’s like saying the earth is a big blue marble.

God calls us saying, “Abide in my love, agape.” The One who created us also appointed us to bear fruit. Jesus told his disciples, us, that we are not his servants, rather we are his friends, his beloved. We are called to love one another.

I don’t know about you but, WOW. Life is so very hard. People can be just plain mean and scary. How do we love someone like that? What is this love God calls us to live out? What is the nature of this intimacy we are to live in with others? I’ll be happy to give anyone an orange, but I don’t think that’s the fruit God’s talking about. The Divine must be talking about spiritual fruit: love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Ok, I can do that on a good day with those I love. But wow, on a bad day or with a mean person. UGH

Our salvation doesn’t depend on our behavior. Thanks be to God. However, when we claim this incredibly gracious gift offered to us how can we do any less than respond with joy. While life is hard and people are so often downright mean, we can daily do our best to be who God created us to be. Yes, we will fail from time to time, but the more we try to live as who God created us to be and the more we support and encourage one another to do the same the better life will be.

Living as the Koinonia means that we live focused, on the hope God not only promises but has won for us, as if we are in that ‘kindom’ now, already but not yet. Living continually in solidarity of suffering and sharing these spiritual fruits and gifts with everyone. The more we strive to live this way, the more our lives are led toward a reconciling character that is able to confront conflict and even violence, within our relationships and circumstances around us. The love that we would choose to live in is not a stagnant love, rather it is a transforming and powerful love. AND we would not be alone ever.

Koinonia can only be lived out in relationship with God, self and all others. This does not mean we would have to be all the same (what a terrible thought). This means that we would strive to continually live respecting our differences as enhancements of one another sort of like a team. Each team member has different skill sets, different personalities, different looks in fact most everything is different; however, they choose to work together toward a common purpose. Wouldn’t that be an amazing way to live?

Disaster Prepardness


The absolute last thing any of us want to think about is another disaster. As we’re still spinning from Hurricane Irma, working toward recovery, we’re exhausted, frustrated, overwhelmed and here in the Upper Keys, desperately short on resources. Unfortunately, funders and donors continue to support larger Lower Keys organizations rather than the smaller, yet very capable, organizations of the Upper Keys. Thank goodness for the Landau’s for designating their donation directly for the Upper Keys. We will remember your kindness and direct action on behalf of your community, your neighbors. Thank you. Yes, Lower Keys orgs promise they will share but rarely does the resource ever actually get to the Upper Keys. So what are we to do?

We must pull together, work together to support one another and prepare ourselves against the event of another disaster. We must continue to do our best to attract resources to the Upper Keys. Each of us in the Upper Keys has something to offer to our neighbors and our community depends on each of us participating, caring and doing. Our goal is hope, community and loving one another.

What can you contribute? Your time, energy, extra furniture, an extra room someone can stay, donation, a service, …? Your neighbors need you.

Living Springs has provided more Rx assistance since Irma than we’ve ever provided in any one year in the past. Currently we are out of funds. We also are providing an unprecedented amount of low cost Pastoral Counseling. Anyone who’s household income is $20,000 or lower only pays $5 a session. Over $20,000 we offer a very fair sliding scale. Regardless our sessions cost us $70. Currently we have no funding to cover our loss. Regardless we will continue to offer low cost Pastoral Counseling because this is our mission and we believe in our community. How can we do this? Because our staff prefers to serve as volunteers so that our vital services can continue to be offered. We continue to seek funding to cover our services AND our staff, but until that happens our dedicated staff offers service because it is vital to our Upper Keys community.

If you are a representative of an organization or business, you might want to check out the Ready Rating website from the Red Cross. Just click on the Ready Rating seal above and it will walk you through an assessment to make sure you’ve thought of and prepared for everything needed.

Do you have something you’d like to offer to your neighbors but don’t quite know how to offer it? Please fill out this confidential form and either Pam or Evelyn will get back to you.

The Wonderful Thing about Tiggers

tigger and friends spring

Spring, with it’s wonderful bursting forth with life, is on its way. The air is warming, the rains are nourishing, blossoms are budding, bees are buzzing, birds are singing.  In fact, have you noticed that here in the Keys the birds even sing in the middle of the night? I’ve lived many places but this is the only place where the birds are so happy they sing even in the dark.

Our surviving trees are budding like never before. Soppadilla,mangoes, calamondin,  moringa, starfruit, holy basil, figs, lemons, cherries, avocados and more are preparing to nourish us and our friends. Buds are everywhere. Hope springs forth once again. My garden  of tomatoes, white bush squash, okra, brussel sprouts, rosemary, sage, thyme, sweet mint, chocolate mint, basil, oregano, sweet bell peppers, rue, and cabbage is flourishing.

Sharing in whatever goodness we have is the key to good and healthy living. Surrounding ourselves with others who are striving toward health and goodwill is a sure way to increase our joy and sustenance. Yes, we have all been negatively affected by Irma. But we don’t have to stay there.

All those ugly emotions can be processed and make way for hope and joy, in fact, hope and joy that can be sustained even in the midst of trials. Well, ok joy that is experienced as peace. The first step is to recognize how we are being today.  So many of Keys neighbors are angry, scared, hungry, frustrated, ______ (you fill in the blank). This is a normal reaction to an abnormal experience. The healthy thing to do is to work through it with an objective healthy trained third party: a pastor, rabbi, pastoral counselor, mental health counselor, spiritual director. And there are plenty right here who are waiting, willing and affordable even for those who can’t afford help. Truly.

Invest in you and your future. Vote for health and happiness. It really can be real for you and your family and friends. Living Springs Counseling is here waiting for your call: 305.432.9554 or email: PamF@DOLPHINSLivingSprings.org

We will help you take healthy steps forward.

We love our volunteers!

Everything we do is done by volunteers.  Even our Executive Director is a volunteer. Our volunteers help with fundraisers, booths at local events, our recovery work for the Upper Keys, speaking at churches, meetings, local events about what we do.

If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer contact us through the form below and Pam will call you.

Debbie (literally) holding down the “fort” (tent) at the 2018 Celtic Festival in Marathon. We have all kinds of jobs for our volunteers.

Please fill out this form to volunteer.  This will go directly to Pam’s email and she will contact you.

Recovery donations to the Upper Keys



Resources for Recovery


penguin sweethearts

We’ve all seen all the pictures, we hear and live the stories every day

So here’s a picture to warm your heart. 

And a list of resources to help you heal.

Where to get stuff – Updated 12/20/17



Go to the above link for a list of very helpful companies and organizations to get furniture and more.

Get free furniture click here


 Free Damage Repair

STEP Monroe County 2017

Jobs Jobs Jobs

Career Source – has lots of part-time and full-time jobs; and they are THE one stop shop, you can also apply for Disaster Unemployment there as well as much more. They’re at the Pink Plaza, go past West Marine (north) and up the stairs/elevator.

Food Pantries:
St. Justin Martyr Catholic Church – Mondays starting at 4 PM
Burton Memorial UMC – call them for hours 305.852.2581
1st Baptist Islamorada – call them for hours 305.432.0312

New places to get food/clothes/diapers and more!

Key Largo Baptist –  call for information  305.451.1642
Church of the Nazarene – call for help 305.304.9060

If you need mattresses call Sean at 407.451.4310.

Catholic Charities

Catholic Charities has items available: bunk beds, storage lockers, and refrigerators, all in good working order.

Please contact Meagan Hull (mhull@ccadm.org) if you are interested or know somebody who could use this stuff.       updated Nov 3, 2017

For help with rent/bills/mortgage from Catholic Charities contact: Charlene Pagan 305.619.2646.

More Help with Rent/bills/mortgage
Florida Keys Fishing Guides Association, $25,000 from the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys to provide much-needed help for rent, housing and other needs to full-time fishing guides. Contact Steve Friedman at fkfgacommodore@gmail.com for more information. updated 10/25/17

Monroe County Education Foundation, $25,000 from the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys to provide immediate assistance to teachers and educators Keys-wide. For assistance, contact Chuck Licis at chuck.licis@keysschools.com.  updated 10/25/17

Financial Assistance available through Catholic Charities for residents of Monroe County affected by Irma.  Call Charlene Pagan for information at 305 619 2646.

KAIR is also offering help with rent/bills/mortgage.  Call at (305) 743-4582.

FKEC and Coldwell Banker foundations are offering assistance with rent/bills/mortgage.

Crisis Support 

Living Springs Counseling – offering Pastoral Counseling at a generous sliding scale, Rx assistance and urgent needs assistance.  Call at 305.432.9554  (no text)


October is Coming


Revelation 12       Common English Bible (CEB)

A woman, her child, and the dragon

“12 Then a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant, and she cried out because she was in labor, in pain from giving birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: it was a great fiery red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven royal crowns on his heads. His tail swept down a third of heaven’s stars and threw them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth so that when she gave birth, he might devour her child. She gave birth to a son, a male child who is to rule all the nations with an iron rod. Her child was snatched up to God and his throne. Then the woman fled into the desert, where God has prepared a place for her. There she will be taken care of for one thousand two hundred sixty days.”

What’s it mean?

On the tail of the August 21 Solar Eclipse we experience yet another stunning heavenly event. Many are comparing the upcoming September 23 placement of stars, planets, sun and moon to the scripture we find in Revelation 12. What does this mean?

There are some who read the book of Revelation as a timeline for the end of times. People with this understanding are quite concerned about the movement of the “heavenly bodies” on September 23. As you can see in the picture above, the “scene” depicted in the Bible can be applied to the “scene” astrology provides for us. As a result, people of this thinking, believe this is “one more sign that” the end of the world is coming.

Many have asked for my thoughts on the matter. Some are fearful, some aren’t sure if they should be fearful or not, many are confused. On top of these “heavenly events” Americans are experiencing hate in our communities and streets in a way that hasn’t been typical in the last few decades. This hate seems to be getting stronger right here in our own backyards. Confusion on how to deal with hate without hating has become an imminent concern. Our economy continues to struggle despite increased interest rates and proclamations from on high. Trust in our political system is in an all time low. Stress, hate, fear, signs seem to be everywhere. Our world seems to be falling apart around us. Is it true? Is the end coming in September?

Even more important is the question: What is a Christian’s place in the midst of all of this?

When God revealed to God’s beloved (every human)  then and now: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.” Revelation 21:1 God also confirmed: “See, the home of God is among the mortals. He will dwell with them as their God; they will be his people and God himself will be with them” vs 3 This is reminiscent of Jesus saying to his disciples of then and now: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? … the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.” John 14 Jesus was speaking to people who knew he was/is/always will be the Christ, the Messiah, the Savior of the World, the Son of God and the listeners were suffering under the terrible hate, stress and signs in their time. Jesus also said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid.” John 14

Was Jesus trying to threaten his disciples into “being good”? Or was Jesus proclaiming the Divine promise of hope that his followers can trust in and hold on to, cherish so they/we can live lives of faithful thanksgiving based on the agape (love in action) defining their/our every decision, every action, every breathe? Was the One Who Loved Us Into Being and who has provided for our Salvation, telling us to cower in a dark corner when terrible things happen? Or was the Giver of Life reminding us of what we are to be about regardless of what happens? Was the Giver of Life reminding us that our role as God’s beloved is to live out the agape and grace and blessings that we are continually given?

True Christians don’t have to run amuck suddenly and “fix” their behavior. True Christians are already, in the here and now, living according to the grace and agape and blessings and salvation given to us freely. Why would we be living this way? Because we grasp the incredibly wonder-full gifts/blessings God has already and continues to deliver to us each and every minute just because God loves us. When we finally understand (as best we can) we can do no less than live our lives in thanksgiving. Sure we mess up, yes we are still stumbling but we catch ourselves AND one another, seeking to truly live according to the grace we’ve been given.

So, are Christians the only one’s given all this amazing stuff by God? Heaven’s no! Every human being is held in God’s blessed embrace of love and grace and salvation simply because God chooses to keep you there. God calls you and every other human being “Beloved” no matter what. The only difference is knowing and accepting these gifts and allowing them to truly bless your life and living.

Heavenly signs, hostility, hate, ugliness of every kind has no hold over God’s Beloved, over those who believe in the Divine. Sure, we hurt, we feel fear, we are saddened, but none of that can control us because “we know that God works all things together for the good for the ones who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

So, on September 23 walk forward into the day, holding your head high and proclaim the love of God through your walking, talking, living, watching, holding, working, driving, thinking … through it all. And on September 24, go and do likewise God’s good and faithful servant.

May you always know God’s Blessings through all things.


Vacation Bible School in the Upper Keys


VBS  Date  June 12 – 16
Time  9 AM – 12 PM
Location: Island Community Church  83250 Overseas Hwy. Islamorada 33036
Name or Theme    Camp Out    Getting s’more of Jesus
Ages    incoming 5K – 6th grade
Contact info   Amanda   aihrig@islandchristian.org
or:  Trevor-  305-393-5453
VBS Date: June 26-30
Time: 9 AM – 12 PM
Location: 1st Baptist Church of Islamorada
Name or Theme: Galactic Starveyors
Ages: 2 years – 6th grade
Contact info: Click to register


VBS Date: July 31 – Aug 4
Time: 9 AM – 12 PM
Location: 1st Baptist Church of Key Largo
Name or Theme: Galactic Starveyors
Ages: Pre-K – 5th grade
VBS Date: July 31 – Aug 4
Time: 9 AM – 12 PM
Location: St. James the Fisherman Episcopal Church
Theme: Hero Central: Discovering Your Strength in God
Ages: Potty trained 3 year old – 8th grade
To Register: Call the office 305-852-8468
Registration fee: $10

Holy Week and Easter Opportunities


Palm Sunday  – April 9

Worship at all local churches during their regular worship times.

St. James the Fisherman EpiscopalSunday, April 9th.…………8:00AM & 10:00AM:  PALM SUNDAY Services at Church; 8:00 am service procession with palms in Church; 10:00am service procession with palms and incense outside

Coral Isle Church – 10 AM Worship

St. Justin the Martyr Catholic Church –  8 AM mass; 10 AM Solemn Procession

11:00 – 4:00 PM Kindness Festival at Morada way.  Living Springs Counseling will have a booth where you’ll have an opportunity to have your feet washed, pray, relax and fellowship with others if you like.

Holy Tuesday – April 11

St. Justin the Martyr Catholic Church – Sacrament of Reconciliation /Confession 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM

Holy Wednesday – April 12

St. James the Fisherman EpiscopalWednesday, April 12th…….6:00 PM:      TENEBRAE/TAIZE SERVICE:  Tenebrae is Latin for Shadows.  This beautiful ancient tradition is a special Lenten observance which attempts to recreate the emotional aspects of the Passion Story.  All are invited

Maundy Thursday – April 13

Maundy Thursday is an alternate name for Holy Thursday, the first of the three days of solemn remembrance of the events leading up to and immediately following the crucifixion of Jesus. The English word “Maundy” comes from the Latin mandatum, which means “commandment.” As recorded in John’s gospel, on his last night before his betrayal and arrest, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples and then gave them a new commandment to love one another as he had loved them (John 13:34). This is why services on this night generally include the washing of feet or other acts of physical care as an integral part of the celebration.

While John’s gospel does not record the institution of the Lord’s Supper among the events of this night, the other gospels do. Christians therefore keep this night with celebrations both at the basin (footwashing) and at the Lord’s Table (Holy Communion).

Immanuel Lutheran Church –  7 PM – Communion

Burton Memorial United Methodist Church – MM 93 – 7 PM – Communion

Coral Isle Community Church – MM 90 – 7 PM

Matecumbe United Methodist Church – MM 81.8 – 6:30 PM Passover Meal

St. James the Fisherman Episcopal6:00PM:       MAUNDY THURSDAY (HOLY THURSDAY) in Church.  The evening ends with the stripping of the altar followed by time for silent meditation/reflection in our Church or at home.  All will have the opportunity to sign up to sit/pray for ONE HOUR INTERVALS in Vigil throughout the night either in the Church or at home.

Sacred Triduum –

The Easter Triduum begins with the Vigil of Holy Thursday. It marks the end of the forty days of Lent and the beginning of the three-day celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ – Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil/Easter Sunday. The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council reminded us of the extraordinary significance of the Triduum : “Christ redeemed us all and gave perfect glory to God principally through his paschal mystery: dying he destroyed our death and rising he restored our life. Therefore the Easter Triduum of the passion and resurrection of Christ is the culmination of the entire liturgical year.” (General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, # 18)

These last Forty Days were a time of preparation for these great Three days, which is what Triduum means. These three days lead us to an empty tomb and an Octave, eight days, of celebrating the Resurrection. They also introduce an entire liturgical season, the Easter Season, which lasts for Fifty days until Pentecost.

St. Justin the Martyr Catholic Church – Mass of the Last Supper, 7 PM; Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament until 9 PM

Good Friday – April 14

The source of our term for the Friday before Easter, “Good Friday,” is not clear.  It may be a corruption of the English phrase “God’s Friday,” according to Professor Laurence Hull Stookey in Calendar: Christ’s Time for the Church (p. 96). It is the common name for the day among English- and Dutch-speaking people. It is a day that proclaims God’s purpose of loving and redeeming the world through the cross of our Lord, Jesus Christ. It is a day that is good because God was drawing the world to God’s self in Christ. As seen in John’s gospel, particularly, God was in control. God was not making the best of a bad situation, but was working out God’s intention for the world — winning salvation for all people. We call it “good” because we look backward at the crucifixion through the lens of Easter!

Walk with the crosses on Good Friday to Matecumbe Methodist Church.  Meet at Spirit and Truth Ministries at 9AM —-start the walk from Venetian Shores at 9:30AM……everybody welcome!!!

Ecumenical Good Friday worship – held at Matecumbe UMC – MM 81.8 at noon

Coral Isle Church and St. James Episcopal will offer Good Friday services twice:              The Seven Last Words of Jesus & Adoration of the Holy Cross Service to be let by Fr. Tom & Rev. Kerby (Pastor at Coral Isles church)

12:00 (Noon) at St. James

6:00 PM  at the Caribbean Club

St. Justin the Martyr Catholic Church – 6:30 PM Liturgy

Immanuel Lutheran Church – 7 PM

Holy Saturday/Easter Vigil and Vigil of the Light – April 15

St. Justin the Martyr Catholic Church – 8 PM


Easter Sunrise Services – April 16

Island Grill at Mandalay – 6:30 AM

Harry Harris Park – MM 93 – 6:30 AM

The Islander – MM 83 – 7 AM

Cheeca Lodge – MM 81.8 – 6:30 AM

Chesapeake Resort – MM 83.4 – 6:45 AM

Easter Services

Bluewater Ministries, MM 86.5 Bayside – 9:30 AM with Egg Hunt after worship

Coral Isle Church will have a fellowship time after 10 AM morning worship at 11 AM

Spirit and Truth – 10 AM

Immanuel Lutheran Church – 10 AM communion

Matecumbe UMC – 11 AM

1st Baptist Islamorada – 11 AM

St. James the Fisherman Episcopal8:00AM & 10:00AM:  EASTER SUNDAY SERVICES – Easter Egg Hunt following 10:00am service

Alleluia…Christ is Risen…the Lord is risen indeed…Alleluia!!!!!!!!!!!

St. Justin the Martyr Catholic Church – 8 AM Mass; 10 AM Solemn Mass of the Lord’s Resurrection

At noon – Burton Memorial UMC will have their Easter Egg Hunt