September 2012


1. “Religion 101 Series.” Are you interested in a quick overview of the teachings and practices of the various faith traditions in Central Florida but don’t have hours and hours for research? The Holocaust Center (851 N. Maitland Ave., Maitland, FL 32751) and the Interfaith Council of Central Florida are partnering on a Religion 101 Series to make it easy and fun for the busy person to become much more knowledgeable without a huge investment of time. This nine-segment, once-a-month series, will feature a free one-hour presentation and half hour of Q & A. The series starts this coming Thursday, September 13, at the Holocaust Center, with a presentation on Buddhism by Zen abbot Claudia Schippert. For more detail, go to the Holocaust Center’s website. And while you’re there, check out all the Center’s upcoming events and activities. For too many Central Floridians, the Holocaust Center is either an undiscovered or under-utilized community resource. You can help correct that.

2. Must-See Movie. For those who love Florida’s history, Florida’s flora and fauna and Florida’s scenic waterways, In Marjorie’s Wake is a must-see movie–and a chance to see it is coming on Saturday night, September 15, at 8:00 pm at Markham Woods Church of Seventh-day Adventists (505 Markham Woods Road, Longwood, FL 32779). The movie, produced locally by Equinox Documentaries, “examines the many ways in which the St. Johns River of Florida has shaped culture — literature, art and music — over time. It does so by re-creating a historic trip that Pulitzer-prize winning author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings once made on the river in 1933.” Members of the production team will be present to answer questions and to tell more about how the movie came about. This documentary, which was shown as part of Orlando’s Global Peace Film Festival when the film first came out, is being screened free of charge as a lead-up to this year’s festival. This screening is sponsored by the GPFF, the Interfaith Council of Central Florida and Equinox Documentaries. The film has been featured nationwide on PBS.

3. Global Peace Film Festival. Once again the Interfaith Council of Central Florida is partnering with the GPFF to help bring to you an array of thought-provoking movies that directly or indirectly address the issue of peace. The Festival runs September 18-23, utilizing a variety of venues downtown, on college campuses and elsewhere. The movie specifically being sponsored this year by the Interfaith Council is Rise and Dream, which will be screened at 1:30 pm on Saturday, September 22, and at 5:30 pm on Sunday, September 23. The latter showing will be followed by a panel of interfaith representatives discussing the implications of the film from their varied faith perspectives. But don’t limit yourself to the Interfaith Council-sponsored movie. Check out the entire film festival. You won’t be disappointed.

4. Interfaith Service Conducted in Sikh Gurdwara (Temple). On Thursday evening, August 16, representatives of the Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and Unitarian Universalist faith traditions participated in an Interfaith Service at the Sikh gurdwara in Oviedo. The presence of the various faiths was a show of solidarity with the local Sikh community following the atrocity earlier committed at a Sikh gurdwara near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The program included a variety of musical items, spiritual readings, chants, speeches and prayers representing the various faith traditions. An estimated seventy-five non-Sikhs joined local Sikhs for the service. The Interfaith Service was followed by a demonstration of Sikh hospitality in the form of an opportunity for conversation and excellent Indian food, in the gurdwara’s social hall. On the preceding Sunday, August 6, the Sikhs at the Oviedo gurdwara conducted an open house, which was attended by civic leaders, religious leaders and many interested people from the community. The event included speeches, tours of the facility, a chance to sit in on a Sikh worship service, wonderful Indian food and considerable education about Sikhism.

In the picture above, leaders from the Oviedo Sikh gurdwara pose with religious leaders from the various faith traditions that participated in the Interfaith Service on August 16. As a show of respect, all who enter a gurdwara cover their head and remove their shoes. Head coverings are available at the door for visitors. Worshippers typically sit on the floor during a service. 

5. Who Are the Sikhs? Just in case you’re not quite sure how the Sikhs fit into the religious milieu, I’m providing a link to something that’s both informative and hilarious, titled “Sikhs vs Sheiks: Can’t We All Just Get Along?” It’s from “Totally Biased,” with W. Kamau Bell (Thursdays at 11:00 pm on FX).