Friday, June 24, 2011


No, I don't have a real cousin Vinnie in my family! I have Angelo's, Anthony's, Carmine's, Lenny's, Johnny's, Ronnie's... but no Vinnie's. That's just the name Mel, our bass, uses whenever Brotherhood goes to New York City. It started last year when Mel fell in love with the entire city and his new Italian friends. He wanted to be part of them so much that he temporarily changed his name. "Cousin Vinnie Serruci" surfaces and gets reacquainted with pizza, other Italian food and my real cousins. His pronunciation of Italian words is hysterical but I love it! Our pianist, Dan, now has been added to the mix and I gave him the name of "Vito Salvatore" - cousin to Vinnie (notice the same initials). An entire, wacky story has evolved as to how their fathers came to America... Phil loves the food but has no desire to have a "New York Italian name" - fugetaboutit!!

And, these guys just cracked me up and I laughed so hard that I lost my voice - seriously! And, it happened on both trips. I enjoy these men in music ministry and know God wants us to have fun, too. Father's Day has come and gone but the joy of fatherhood continues. Father God desires good things for His children as we faithfully serve and honor Him. We can't lose in God's economy so let's remember to give Him our very best. May the Father's joy live in your hearts and lives continually. I pray that all the men had a very Happy Father's Day.

God bless and "mangia"!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


June is here... the flowers are in bloom and the smell of cut grass permeates the air! And Brotherhood has been busy in and out of Florida already. We kicked off the month with a concert at First Presbyterian of Lake Mary and followed that up with a return ministry visit to the Big Apple, New York City! We met new folks in Lake Mary and had a wonderful time of gospel music fellowship. We reacquainted relationships with our dear New York friends and family. Once plans were set, the guys could not wait to get back to my home town. They could not stop reminiscing about our 2010 trip - the food, the people, the acceptance and the genuine love of God that was shown at each concert ministry.

Our June 2011 travels took us to Brooklyn, the Bronx, Ossining and Garnerville in Rockland County. Brotherhood delivered some familiar and most requested songs such as "Roll Away" and "Give It Away". A do-wop 1950's style song, "Jesus, You're So Wonderful" was introduced and is now a NY favorite! Plus, Brotherhood added new material - originals ("Get Up!", "I'm Coming Home"), P&W, classics, traditional, current popular gospel and... something for the children.

We felt a strong need to present a message to the Sunday School generation and let them know that (1) Jesus loves them, (2) God can use them, (3) He cares for each one, and (3) by faith they should trust Him to answer prayers - big or small. They are the church leaders of tomorrow. God's presence was truly felt at every church and the altar work ministry was awesome. No words can describe such a wonderful weekend of ministry in song, word and prayer! We believe that this weekend has ordained and directed by God and will impact the churches and their communities!!

Food was remembered because.. it's New York City where the best pizza and bagels can be found within a few city blocks. And, you just can't beat home cooked Italian food (thanks to da Bronx "goombas"). And, of course, great fellowship surrounded the food as the family of God grew to know each other in a new way. It's just an example of what heaven's banquet table will be like! "O taste and see that the Lord is good."

Lastly, I want to share our encounter with Francesca. Brotherhood has adopted a certain Brooklyn diner as their very own. As often as we have been there, we're known as that Florida gospel group who sang at Trinity Tabernacle. Well, after our final concert we had plenty of relax time due and wanted to end it with a late night snack. So... to the diner we went. Francesca was our server and was a gracious and wonderful hostess. She answered our questions and discovered who we were very quickly as we were smiling and laughing heartily (being loud in NYC is OK). She introduced us to the owner and had some great conversation. He then completed our meal with a special homemade dessert "on the house". With the service slowing down, Francesca had time to speak with us and, after some specific questions asked by Phil, she sat down, bowed her head and accepted Christ into her life! I looked at her and saw a different women in front of me. Her face was glowing, her spirit lighter and seemed to have burdens lifted off her shoulders - praise God! She promised to visit the local church ASAP in order to continue her walk with Jesus and fellowship with believers. P.S. She was already familiar with the church and knew the pastor from his diner visits with his family!! God does all things right and His good time.

These NY churches consist of caring, loving people with wonderful pastors who allowed Brotherhood to minister in their special way.They all want us back again and we look forward to another NY trip, the good Lord willing! New York is fertile ground and "ripe unto harvest".

Be blessed... see you real soon!