Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN


October 29, 2012

PLEASANT HILL RAMBLINGS: Lavastida Center report given

CROSSVILLE — On Thursday, Oct. 11, Elmer Lavastida and his wife, Gisela Perez, co-pastors of Second Baptist Church in Santiago de Cuba, reported on the ecumenical Lavastida Center there. The Pleasant Hill Community Church, United Church of Christ initiated the establishment of a church partnership with Second Baptist Church of Santiago de Cuba at their annual meeting in 1999.

Pastors Lavastida and Perez visited Pleasant Hill Jan. 6-13, 2000. More than 35 people from Pleasant Hill have gone on Cuban seminars led by Ted Braun. Second Baptist and PH Community Church have held mutual book studies in the languages of their respective churches. PH Community Church Pastor Tom Warren and his family spent time in Cuba as part of his sabbatical in 2008.

Lavastida, an accomplished pianist, opened and closed the evening playing hymns. The couple traveled to New Haven, CT, this summer where they are spending three months at the Overseas Ministries Study Center. They received a special scholarship to participate in the center's fall session and were then able to get visas from the state department.

Lavastida is fluent in both Spanish and English with no trace of an accent in either. His parents brought him to Pennsylvania when he was five years old where his father attended college. Returning to Cuba, they sent him to missionary schools with sessions in both languages. He also attended college in Canada.

Perez is the only ordained woman in the eastern Cuba Baptist Church. They have co-pastored the Second Baptist Church of Santiago de Cuba for 17 years. Their latest passion is the B.G. Lavastida Centre for Christian Service and Training named for Lavastida’s father, Bartolomé, a Presbyterian minister and missionary who founded the New Pines Seminary in Eastern Cuba.

The Lavastida Center plans projects in cooperation with local, regional and international institutes in the spheres of environmental education, rural development, family health, theology of women, urban agriculture and the provision of drinking water, among other topics. Perez is the director and described many of the programs depicted in the slide presentation as Lavastida translated. Now that Cuba allows the free selling and buying of houses, the center was given the gift of a very large house built in 1916 with plenty of rooms to house the facilities, but also plenty of renovation needs. The Cuban government also now welcomes the help of the churches to provide social services.

Lavastida preached the sermon in the Community Church Sunday, Oct. 14 before heading back to New Haven. They will return to Pleasant Hill the week of Nov. 19-25 and again in December. They will return home to Cuba in time to greet the members of the PH Community Church's Cuba study group at their own church on the first Sunday in February.

After a seven-year hiatus, the annual Cuba Study Seminar program is resuming Jan. 29 to Feb. 12, 2013. Braun and Pastor Warren will lead visits to Havana, Matanzas, and Santiago de Cuba. The seminar will include special visits in the fields of education (including a school for wheelchair children), health care (family doctors and natural medicine), social services (daycare centers for children and senior citizens, Women’s Federation leaders) and an introduction to the nation’s political structures (neighborhood organizations and church leaders serving in the national parliament). Many evenings will include conversation in local peoples’ homes, with faculty and students at the ecumenical seminary in Matanzas, the leaders of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center in Havana, and with leaders of the Cuban Council of Churches as well as a visit to their sister church in Santiago de Cuba.


Karen Smith, president of the Funeral Consumers Alliance of East Tennessee (FCAET), will speak about the importance of thinking and planning ahead "before you go" Thursday, Nov. 1, at 10 a.m. in the Pleasant Hill Community House. Decisions that are often difficult to make or to convey to family members include choices among burial, cremation, or body and organ donation, or which funeral home to use. FCAET conducts a price survey every two years of East Tennessee funeral homes, and encourages its members to make decisions and inform their loved ones.

Text Only
  • 20140412_110402.jpg Kids get creative at Youth Expo

    Cumberland Artisans for Creative Expression (CACE) held its annual Youth Expo Saturday, providing young people an opportunity to try their hand at a variety of artistic endeavors, from music and writing to painting and traditional crafts of weaving and spinning.

    April 17, 2014 4 Photos

  • AROUND THE TOWN: The Easter egg hunt that never was

    The Easter Bunny should be able to deliver his baskets in pretty nice weather this weekend. The Good Friday and Easter holiday weekend should feature much warmer temperatures than we had earlier this week when snow showers fell on Cumberland County. Cumberland County students were released Tuesday for spring break, but their last day of school for the week found snow and ice falling from the sky and temperatures in the 20s. Students will return to class on Monday.

    April 17, 2014

  • 127 Seniors.jpg Jay Fox performs for seniors after receiving new prosthesis

    On Friday, April 11, the members of the 127 Senior Center had another good time playing bingo and dominos. Bingo was called by Arlene Simmons and Helen Lord, and the bingo gifts were provided by Bob Folger of State Farm Insurance.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Marriage licenses

    Publised April 16, 2014.

    April 15, 2014

  • pleasant hill ramblings.jpg PLEASANT HILL RAMBLINGS: Pancake breakfast held for cancer research

    During the year various groups connected with the Pleasant Hill Elementary School provide a Saturday morning pancake breakfast to support the Relay for Life campaign.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fair Park.jpg Final audition planned for talent show

    Last auditions for Crossville’s Got Talent will be this Saturday, April 19, at 1 p.m. at the Fair Park Senior Center. The center is at 1433 Livingston Rd. It looks like another good show, so miss this one.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • PLATEAU GARDENING: Cool-season lawn grass fertilization and soil tests

    Recently, I got an inquiry about the right timing for homeowners who want to fertilize a cool-season lawn which has bare spots that need over-seeding. An email from a new resident in the Crossville area asked how to take a soil sample and where to have it tested. Since problems with the pH or fertility of the soil beneath can result in chronically thin grass with persistent bare places up top, testing the soil then correcting pH and fertility to match plant needs can be an important first step in maintaining your lawn.

    April 14, 2014

  • IMG953498.jpg It's a great day to fly a kite!

    April 10, 2014 3 Photos

  • Season of fundraising begins

    Spring is in full swing, and this mean there are a host of not-for-profit organizations in Crossville and Cumberland County hosting events over the next few weeks. The first event will begin this weekend with a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

    April 10, 2014

  • 4-25 N&N meeting.jpg Investigative forensic science close to home

    NCIS? CSI? Bones? All fictional! Here in East Tennessee, they have a real investigative forensic expert — Dr. Bill Bass.

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo