Breakfast Champions take care of business

By Michele Dotson:Staff Writer
Business Networking International’s (BNI) Mint Hill Breakfast Champions is a group of business professionals who gathers once a week to network, pass referrals, and share business ideas and marketing strategies. The club is open to all professions, but BNI allows only one person per profession to join a chapter. The overall goal is for members to help each other grow their businesses.

The international organization as over 150,000 members worldwide, and is considered the largest business networking organization in the world. According to its website, www.bni.com, the organization helped to generate 7.1 million referrals resulting in 3.3 billion dollars in business for its members.  Continue reading

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Blair Road United Methodist welcomes new associate pastor

Screen Shot 2013-07-17 at 7.21.24 PMBy Michele Dotson-Staff Writer

Pastor Innocent Justice is settling into his new role at Blair Road United Methodist Church. Justice comes to Mint Hill from Durham where he has just completed his Master’s in Divinity from Duke University.

Originally from Rwanda, Justice thinks his mother had high hopes of his future in the ministry by picking such a fitting name.

“My mother, who was a good Catholic, looked in the books of the Saints and she chose Innocent. Maybe she thought I was going to serve the Lord,” he says.

If there was any doubt that his first name might allude to his future calling, there is no question about his last name.

“In African culture, there are no such things as a family last name,” he explains. “So when I was born, I was given the last name Ndagijimana, which means ‘God is my Shepherd.’”

Justice fled the genocide in Rwanda to the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1994, only to be chased back into the country when the atrocities began in the refugee camps there. In 2001 he fled to South Africa with his wife and daughter and remained there until 2005.

“I came to the US with my wife and daughter to Kentucky,” says Justice. “We were sponsored there by Wesley United Methodist Church and I knew then that God had called me to the ministry.”

Justice completed his BA in Pastoral Ministry at John Wesley College, which is now Laurel University. In 2010 he applied and was admitted to Duke Divinity School. He served as Associate Student Pastor at Duke’s Chapel in Durham from July, 2010 to June 9, 2013.

2010 also marked another milestone for Justice and his family. They became US citizens.

“In Africa, wives don’t take the last name of their husbands. So when we came here, I would go to the school to pick up the children, they would ask if they were adopted since my wife, children, and I had different last names; it caused such confusion,” explained Justice.

So when they became citizens in 2010, they decided to choose a last name that was appropriate for them.

“Because of my passion for justice and reconciliation, I chose the last name “Justice.”

“We are happy in this country, but it was important to remember where we came from, so I did not lose my last name, Ndagijimana became my middle name.”

Upon completion of his degree at Duke, Justice began to look into positions at specific churches and started interviewing. Churches in need then submit their top two candidates to the Conference for approval. Even though he was from Durham, Justice is a member of the Western Conference.

“The Bishop and the Cabinet will sit together to pray and discern and decide which church needs who, with the gifts and Grace, as we call them, and they decide the appointments,” explains Justice.

“God wanted me to be here, and here I am,” he adds.

As associate pastor, Justice will assist Senior Pastor Lynn Upchurch in many ways.

“My responsibilities will involve teaching, preaching and pastoral care, and all the life of the church,” he says. He’s very excited about the possibilities at the church and is working now to get to know the congregation as well as prepare for his first sermon which will be July 21.

The family has grown since leaving Africa and now includes two more daughters.

“My wife Vicky, and daughters Divine, Deborah, and Dianna are really loving Mint Hill,” he says. “It is a wonderful place. I love Mint Hill because it’s a small town. It’s very calm. You can access everything and it’s not far from Charlotte. I can drive 20 minutes and I am in the big city, and then come back here to this safe sanctuary, so I love Mint Hill.”

 

 

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Principal readies Bain for transition

Bain School-new

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Michele Dotson - Staff Writer

Finishing touches are being completed at the newly constructed Bain Elementary School in preparation for the start of school in August. The project, which cost more than $15 million and took about 18 months to complete was paid for with 2007 bond money.

The school was first slated only for upgrades, but approval for a new structure came once it was determined to be more cost effective to build from scratch.  Construction began in early spring of 2012. nths to complete was paid for with 2007 bond money.

Principal John LeGrand has spent the summer organizing the move from the adjacent building and readying the school for the return of teachers on August 19.

“I have been addressing our instructional focus, of course, but I’ve been surprised how I’ve been pulled into dealing with lots of logistics this summer.” Continue reading

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Mint Hill Women’s Club Meeting

The regular monthly meeting of the Mint Hill Women’s Club will be held Monday, February 11 at 7 pm. Socializing will be at  7:30 pm. Josephine Hicks will speek,  “What to do or say.”  The  local, award winning author and attorney  has won a Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards, which included over 4,800 print books in the competition.

We all feel helpless when someone we know or love is diagnosed with a serious illness or is in a debilitating accident. Josephine will offer practical tips – things that are easy to do and are enormously helpful. She will present them with honesty and humor, as she does in her book: “If There’s Anything I Can Do – What You Can Do When Serious Illness Strikes.” Each chapter focuses on a topic such as communication, phone calls, food, visits, flowers, what to say or not to say, and other issues that face patients, caregivers, and their friends.

A lucky 50/50 raffle winner will get her book, which she is donating. The book costs $14.95 and is available at Park Road Books, at http://www.anythingicandobook.com/, and at amazon.com.

Josephine will sign books at the meeting and offer them for sale as well.=

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Rocky River High School Ravens defeat the Providence Panthers

By Kevin Baker
kevin@minthilltimes.com
The Rocky River Ravens overcame adversity and defeated the Providence High School Panthers at home last Friday night 23-25.  The game was the conference opener for both teams.
The Ravens offense came out flying, scoring on their first possession.  Quarterback Andre Rice hit Brandon Harris from 27 yards out. Unfortunately, kicker Aaron Roman was injured while converting the point after touchdown. Continue reading

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