May 2013

INTERFAITH COUNCIL OF CENTRAL FLORIDA NEWSLETTER–9 (May 2013)

[Please forward this email to any you feel would be interested. To be placed on the Interfaith Council’s email newsletter list, send your request to jim@interfaithfl.org.]

1. National Day of Prayer on May 2. “The National Day of Prayer . . . is an annual day of observance held on the first Thursday of May, designated by the United States Congress, when people are asked “to turn to God in prayer and meditation.” Each year since its inception, the president has signed a proclamation, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day. The modern law formalizing its annual observance was enacted in 1952.” For more information, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Day_of_Prayer, from which the foregoing was taken.

2. “Friends Talking Faith.” The Reverend Bryan Fulwider, Rabbi Steve Engel and Imam Muhammad Musri will discuss proselytizing on their May 5 radio program. Does proselytizing look different from their respective Jewish, Muslim and Christian perspectives? Tune in to WMFE 90.7 FM, on Sunday, May 5, at 6:00 pm. Learn more about the program and listen to archived broadcasts at http://thethreewiseguys.com.

3. The Charter for Compassion. Forty-six years ago, the Beatles used a catchy tune and simple lyrics to declare that “all you need is love.” It’s true. But it’s a grandiose goal. A more readily achievable goal might be to simply treat all people with compassion–whether we’ve actually learned to “love” them or not. To promote that goal, the Charter for Compassion was born. Never heard of it? Then do three things. First, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wktlwCPDd94 and spend two minutes and 11 seconds watching and listening to the charter being presented. Second, go to http://charterforcompassion.org and learn about the document’s history. Third, seek to make it a governing principle in all human relations.

4. “Religion 101” Series to Feature Multi-Faith Panel. On Tuesday, May 7, at 7:00 pm at the Holocaust Center (851 North Maitland Avenue, Maitland, FL 32751), a panel of all the series’ previous presenters will take your questions about the faith traditions that were covered during the series–Baha’i, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, Sikhism and Unitarian Universalism. Check the Holocaust Center’s website http://www.holocaustedu.org/events/community_presentations/ to learn about other events being hosted there.

5. Hate-Crimes-Prevention Forum in Daytona. It’s a sad fact that crimes are at times perpetrated based solely on prejudice or hate directed toward the group with which the victim is associated–or perceived to be associated. But when federal, state and local law enforcement–and variety of community agencies–work in concert, the incidence of such crimes can be reduced. Which is the reason a Hate-Crimes-Prevention Forum is being conducted on Wednesday evening, May 8, from 6:00 to 8:30 pm at Daytona State College, Bergengren Hall, Bldg 110, Rm 112, 1200 W. International Speedway Blvd, Daytona Beach, FL 32114. See download for more detail: 46K   View   Download. See the following download for RSVP form:
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6. “Does Tamerlan Tsarnaev Deserve a Funeral?” Some say no. Some say yes. Jim Coffin, executive director of the Interfaith Council, has his own take. You can read his editorial–and some of his other opinions and observations–at http://interfaithfl.org/?page_id=273.

7. Interfaith Discussion on May 8. “What is marriage according to your faith tradition?” What is included? What is excluded? And should it be?” That’s the topic to be addressed by the Interfaith Discussion Group, which meets from 7:00 to 8:30 pm on the second Wednesday of each month at Adventist University of Health Sciences (http://www.adu.edu) on Florida Hospital’s main campus. For directions to Adventist University of Health Sciences, go to http://interfaithfl.org/?page_id=241.

8. “Does Interfaith Dilute My Faith?” That’s the title of a lecture and discussion to be presented by Jim Coffin, executive director of the Interfaith Council of Central Florida, from 10:00 to 11:10 am on Saturday, May 11, at the Bridge Builders Class, Forest Lake Seventh-day Adventist Church, 515 Harley Lester Lane, Apopka, FL 32703 (http://www.forestlakechurch.org). The public is invited.

9. Be an Ambassador. Host an International Student. The high-school students in this program come for one academic year on fully funded U.S. State Department merit scholarships. Students come from Russia, Ukraine, Central Asia, Kosovo, Serbia, Jordan, Indonesia, Tunisia, Ghana and many other countries. They’re provided with a monthly stipend and medical insurance. Host families provide a supportive English-speaking environment, accommodation, a place to study and transportation as necessary. The students are active in volunteering and learning about American society. Sometimes students seek a host family of a specific faith tradition. You can be part of changing the world one family and one student at a time. For more details, contact: Sue Peterson, local coordinator of American Councils for International Education, 407-678-4693 or sbpeterson71@gmail.com. Or contact: American Councils, http://inbound.americancouncils.orginbound@americancouncils.org or 1-866-790-2086.

10. U.S. and Florida Muslims Condemn Boston Bombers. Muslim organizations throughout America have strongly condemned the recent terrorist bombing in Boston. “American Muslim leaders have gone to great lengths to stress that their religion does not condone violence and that terrorist acts committed in the name of Islam contradict the faith. Muslim groups appealed to Americans not to rush to judgment and not to lash out at innocent people,” reports an article in Worldwide Religion News. (Read the article at  http://wwrn.org/articles/39606/). A long list of Florida’s Muslim entities have been equally strident in their denunciation of the terrorism. (See http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/florida-muslims-condemn-the-boston-attacks-203794801.html). Many more Florida groups than are listed in the article have likewise expressed their outrage.

11. Reminder: Save the Date–November 9 and10–Kristallnacht Remembrance. Each year the Holocaust Center in Maitland invites the community to remember Kristallnacht–The Night of Broken Glass–which took place November 9 and 10, 1938 (and which many scholars identify as the beginning of Hitler’s Final Solution). But this year, the 75th anniversary of those two days of infamy, the Interfaith Council of Central Florida, the Bach Festival Society, Rollins College, the “Negro Spiritual” Scholarship Foundation, the City of Orlando and an array of other Central Florida entities are joining forces with the Holocaust Center to forcefully remind our entire community of the need for eternal vigilance against bigotry and hate. The highlight of the weekend’s activities will be the Bach Festival Choir and Orchestra’s performance of the oratorio “A Child of Our Time,” by British composer Michael Tippett (1905–1998). The work, first performed in 1944 in London, was inspired by events surrounding Kristallnacht, yet also addresses the plight of oppressed people in general, as evidenced by Tippett’s use of “negro spirituals” as a vehicle to convey parts of his message. You’ll be hearing about this community highlight in much more detail over the upcoming months. But mark you calendars now to ensure that no scheduling conflicts keep you away from this one-of-a-kind event.

12.  “Witness” Presentations–75 of Them! Leading up to the major remembrance event for the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht (described in the preceding item), the Interfaith Council of Central Florida and the Holocaust Center are teaming up in an effort to have 2012’s Kristallnacht Remembrance program–“Witness”–presented in 75 houses of worship, schools, civic organizations and other venues. “Witness” is a readers theater involving six readers who use the actual words of victims, perpetrators and onlookers to describe what went on during the tragic events associated with Kristallnacht. The readers’ words are accentuated by a simultaneous Power Point presentation of pictures and news headlines from that era. The Holocaust Center is making copies of the scripts and the Power Point available to groups willing to use their in-house talent to do the performance. Groups willing to present this simple-but-powerful snapshot of a sad chapter of history should contact Jim Coffin: 321-228-4599; jim@interfaithfl.org. Remember, we’re seeking 75 venues! So we need you! (If you’ve already signed up, you should receive your script and PowerPoint via email this week.)

13. Simple Steps to Conserve Water. Water is an important symbol, metaphor and theme in the teachings of nearly all of the world’s religions. Water is a life-sustaining day-to-day essential for every human, whatever our worldview. And it’s increasingly in short supply. Which means that conservation is increasingly important. The St. Johns River Management District has put together what it’s calling “The Florida Water StarSM Program.” It shows “how your home or business can help you save water.” It’s worth the two minutes and forty seconds of your time to check it out at http://floridaswater.com/multimedia/videos.htmlAnd while you’re at their website, you might want to look at some of their other short informational videos.

14. “The Secret Faith of Washington.” That’s the title Newsweek gave to an article by Joshua DuBois, President Barack Obama’s first director of the White House faith-based initiative. The article’s introductory blurb reads: “A godless city? Please. President Obama’s former religious adviser on the surprising number of believers in D.C.’s corridors of power.” You can read the entire article at: http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2013/04/29/joshua-dubois-on-the-secret-faith-of-washington.html.

15. Hindu Reflection: “We are what our thoughts have made us; so take care about what you think. Words are secondary. Thoughts live; they travel far.”–Swami Vivekananda