|Jesus: Through Christian and Muslim Eyes
What are the differences and similarities in the way Jesus is seen in Christianity and in Islam? Find out by attending a joint lecture by Pastor David Beal and Imam Muhammad Musri titled “Jesus: Through Christian and Muslim Eyes.” The event, co-sponsored by Ibrahim and Mariam and the Central Florida Wesley Campus Ministry, will run from 7:00 to 9:00 pm, Thursday, March 31, at the Math and Science Building, Room 359, at the University of Central Florida. RSVP at Eventbrite.New Stage Play to Begin at the JCC in Maitland
If you enjoy great humor, great acting, great music and thought-provoking content—all rolled into one—then The Roth Family Jewish Community Center of Greater Orlando (851 North Maitland Avenue, Maitland, FL 32751) has just what you need. It’s a stage play called “The Fabulous Lipitones.” And it will run for six performances: Thursday, March 31 and April 7, 7:30 pm; Saturday, April 2 and April 9, 7:30 pm; Sunday, April 3 and April 10, 1:00 pm. Here’s the plot-in-brief: “A barbershop quartet loses their lead singer to a heart-stopping high ‘B-Flat.’ As they desperately search for a new tenor, the parochial mid-westerners defy convention to welcome Bob as the unlikely replacement. Featuring favorite upbeat tunes, this new play is an uproarious comedy of misunderstanding, stereotypes and the path to perfect harmony.” Click here to for some insightful comments from the play’s co-creator. Click here for more detail and to purchase tickets.Tampa Buddhist Center to Offer Death-and-Dying Class
The Drong Ngur Jangchubling Buddhist Center is inviting the public to a presentation titled “Dying with Confidence,” by Anyen Rinpoche, on Sunday, April 3, from 2:00 to 4:00 pm, at the Center (30540 Lynne Drive, Wesley Chapel, Florida 33543). Rinpoche will discuss the topic of death and dying from a Tibetan Buddhist perspective expressed in ways Westerners can understand. For those interested, a preliminary day of teachings will be held on Saturday, April 2, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm at Friendship Hall, First Unity Church (460 46th Avenue North, St. Petersburg, FL 33703). For more information including cost, send an email outlining your questions.
Friends Talking Faith with The Three Wise Guys
Hear the varied perspectives of the Rev. Bryan Fulwider, Rabbi Steve Engel and Imam Muhammad Musri as each week they discuss how faith impacts both the simple and the complicated aspects of life. Friends Talking Faith with The Three Wise Guys airs on Tuesdays at 6:30 pm on 90.7 WMFE FM in Orlando. Tune in on your radio or listen online. You can also listen to any show already aired. In honor of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, during April the Three Wise Guys seek to raise awareness about child abuse and neglect. They will speak with state government leaders as well as with older adults from Judaism, Christianity and Islam about what faith means for them at their stage of life. That and much more in April. Be sure to join the conversation.
Holocaust Center to Host Annual ‘Dinner of Tribute’
Each spring the “Dinner of Tribute” is the Holocaust Center’s largest fundraiser. This year’s event pays tribute to Valeria and Jim Shapiro for their steadfast support for the Center and its mission. The Dinner of Tribute will be held Thursday, April 7, at Rosen Plaza, 9700 International Drive, Orlando, FL. Cocktails and auction at 5:30 pm. Dinner at 7:00 pm. You can get more information and make reservations by phone (407-628-0555) or by email.
Northland Church to Host ‘Conversation’ with Jim Wallis
Northland Church is inviting the public to join them for a conversation with Evangelical writer, editor and religious commentator Jim Wallis on Thursday, April 7. The event, titled “A Community Conversation with Jim Wallis: America’s Original Sin,” will be held at Northland Church (530 Dog Track Road, Longwood, FL 32750) from 7:00 to 8:30 pm. Wallis will share insights from his latest book—America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America. A panel of local leaders will respond to Wallis, followed by a Question-and-Answer session. In America’s Original Sin, Wallis offers a prophetic and deeply personal call to action in overcoming the racism so ingrained in American society. He speaks candidly to Christians—particularly white Christians—urging them to cross a new bridge toward racial justice and healing. The event is free and open to all. Register now!
Pennsylvania Hindu Finds Severed Cow’s Head in Driveway
For Sankar Sastri, animal life is sacred—especially cows. It’s part of his belief as a lifelong Hindu. In fact, those beliefs led to his establishing the Lakshmi Cow and Animal Sanctuary in northeastern Pennsylvania, where cows and other once-doomed animals can live out their life in peace. But the last weekend of March someone apparently thought the situation was much too peaceful. So he, she or they—the culprit hasn’t been apprehended—made a statement by depositing a severed cow’s head in Sastri’s driveway. It seems highly likely that the action was designed specifically to intimidate Sastri, desecrate Sastri’s property and make a statement about Sastri’s Hinduism. But Sastri, being the peace-loving man that he is, says he’s determined not to let this act of intimidation keep him from continuing his efforts to protect animals.
Istanbul Cultural Center to Host Turkish Food Festival
On Sunday, April 10, from 12:00 noon to 5:00 pm, the Istanbul Cultural Center (940 South Winter Park Drive, Casselberry, FL 32707) will host Turkish Food Festival 2016, which will feature authentic Turkish cuisine, Turkish coffee and tea, traditional Turkish dance, folk-dance performances, a Turkish bazaar (arts and crafts), cultural activities, Turkish arts, and games and activities for children (cotton candy, bounce house, face painting and more). Get details by phone (321-203-2191) or email.
Women of Faith Interfaith Symposium Slated for April 10
A Women of Faith Interfaith Symposium will address the theme “Connecting Life, Spirit and Identity.” Issues addressed will include the role of women in religious communities, balancing family and work, women and health care and much more. Sponsored by the Center for Peace at the Islamic Society of Central Florida, the event will be held Sunday, April 10, from 2:00 to 5:30 pm on the campus of Orlando Regional Medical Center (1414 Kuhl Avenue, Orlando Florida). RSVP required.
Seniors First Raising Funds Through ‘High Tea & Hats’
Many Central Florida seniors are blessed because of the help they receive from an organization called Seniors First. As the organization’s mission states: “Seniors First enhances the quality of life for Central Florida senior citizens by maintaining their independence and dignity through nutrition, home improvement and support services, which assist seniors in need.” At their website you can learn even more about the blessing they are to the community. But being such a blessing requires money. So Seniors First, like most non-profits, needs to raise funds. And one of the ways they do it is through an annual fun-filled event called “High Tea & Hats,” which is scheduled for Sunday, April 10, from 2:00 to 5:00 pm, at the Rosen Plaza Hotel. Click here for more details and to register for this unique event.
Baha’is Progressing on Cambodian House of Worship
The Baha’i faith, known among other things for the breathtaking beauty of their major houses of worship—see examples here—are making great progress in preparing for construction of a new exquisite structure in Cambodia. Rarely can one merely look at a foundation and capture the majesty of what is about to be built, but the Cambodia project is definitely an exception, as you can see in the brief video here.
Interfaith Series Continuing in Casselberry April 11
The public is invited to a one-hour, once-a-month series of presentations on different faiths, which will be held at 3:00 pm on the second Monday of each month, at the Lake of the Woods Clubhouse (300 Carolwood Point, Fern Park, Casselberry). The series is titled: “Parallel Beliefs—A Comparative Study.” Dates and speakers are: April 11, Rev. Karen Egerton, of Emmanuel Episcopal Church, on Christianity. May 9, Bassem Chaaban, of the Center for Peace at the Islamic Society of Central Florida, on Islam. For more information, phone 321-228-4599. Click here for directions.
CRJ Inviting Community Women to Passover Seder
The Congregation of Reform Judaism (928 Malone Dr, Orlando, FL 32810) is hosting its annual Women’s Seder at 6:00 pm on Monday, April 11, at CRJ and is inviting women from the community who would enjoy participating in this special Jewish celebration to join in. Charges for the event (seder and full-course dinner) are: $42 general; $36 for seniors (age 65 and above); and $18 for youth (age 18 and under). Register online and send check by April 4 to: CRJ Women’s Seder, c/o Helene Becker, 540 Lakeworth Circle, Heathrow, FL 32746. For more information, contact Helene Becker by email or by phone (407-221-3958)
Interfaith Prayer for Peace Service at The Villages
Interfaith Peace Partners, a committee of Baha’is, Christians, Jews and Muslims, will host a Prayer for Peace Service on Tuesday, April 12, at 6:30 pm at St. Timothy Catholic Community in The Villages (1351 Paige Place, Lady Lake, FL 32159). The event is an expanded version of a similar event held at St. Timothy Catholic Community in February. The mission of Interfaith Peace Partners is “is to bring more awareness to the faith communities of Central Florida of the incredible need for prayer in our troubled and violent world.” All members of all faiths are cordially invited to attend. All clergy are invited to vest as is appropriate to their faith tradition and join with other vested clergy at this service. For more information, contact Deacon Richard A. Bigelow by email or by phone (352-431-8339).
What Does Your Faith Tradition Teach About Sexuality?
The topic for April’s Interfaith Discussion is: “What Does Your Faith Tradition Teach About Sexuality?” What is blessed? What is forbidden? What is the philosophical/religious foundation for the beliefs? Come prepared to discuss these questions and more on Wednesday, April 13, at the monthly Interfaith Discussion sponsored by the Interfaith Council of Central Florida. The Interfaith Discussion is held from 7:00 to 8:30 pm on the second Wednesday of each month at Adventist University of Health Sciences (671 Winyah Drive, Orlando, FL 32803) on Florida Hospital’s main campus. The discussions are respectful, open and candid, and the participants represent a variety of faith traditions as well as those who question the validity of faith altogether. For directions to the meeting place, click here. Admission is free. Everyone is invited.
Holocaust Center to Feature Kindertransport Organizer
As part of its Teacher Forum series, the Holocaust Center (851 North Maitland Avenue, Maitland, FL 32751) invites teachers and the general public to learn more about Sir Nicholas Winton (1909-2015) and the amazing story of rescue through the Czech Kindertransport. The presentation will be Thursday, April 14, at 6:00 pm at the Holocaust Center. Sir Winton’s bravery demonstrates the importance of speaking out against injustice and taking action when others choose to be bystanders. In-service credits are available for teachers. For more information, email Mitch Bloomer or call 407-628-0555. The program is open to the community free of charge.
Save Energy, Save Money, Save the Earth
Did you know that using the right-sized cooking device dramatically helps save energy, save money and save the earth? For example, generating enough electricity to cook for an hour in a standard electric oven creates 2.7 pounds of carbon dioxide. Here’s a list of what can do it for less: toaster oven, 1.3 pounds over 50 minutes; slow cooker, 0.9 pounds over seven hours; and microwave, 0.5 pounds over 15 minutes. But those tips are just a start. Check out the other 51 tips at SeattlePi.
Muslims to Open Free Clinic, Host Community Dialogue
In back-to-back events the latter part of April—at a date and place almost but not quite confirmed as we prepare this newsletter—the Orlando-based Muslim Council of America will host the opening ceremonies for a new free medical clinic in Osceola County and host a Muslim-and-community dialogue addressing the concerns about Muslims that are being loudly voiced in national media currently. The event will be similar to the community dialogue conducted at the Muslim Academy of Greater Orlando on December 4, 2015. Those who would like to attend either or both of the aforementioned events may send an email to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and you will be sent an invitation—just as soon as a few more details are finalized.
Holocaust Center Continuing ‘I Remember’ Survivor Series
The Holocaust Center (851 North Maitland Avenue, Maitland, FL 32751) is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year with special programming that honors both the past and the future. On Sunday, April 17, at 2:00 pm, the Center will present the next installment of the series “I Remember: Reflections of Eyewitnesses to the Holocaust.” Featured will be Erica Kanter, a Survivor who was part of the remarkable Kindertransport that rescued children in the months just before World War II was declared. The public is invited to hear Erica Kanter describe her experience, and to honor all those who faced such life-altering experiences.
Northland to Host Combatting-Sex-Trafficking Summit
Thousands of children are bought and sold for sex every year in the United States. For those within the faith community, that is shocking and unacceptable. The problem is that it’s hard to know what to do about it. That’s why Shared Hope International and Northland Church have created the JuST:Faith Summit and have put together a plan to help churches respond to sex trafficking. The summit features three days of inspiring speakers and workshops, providing practical knowledge on how to address trafficking in our community. Survivors, law enforcement, prosecutors, recovery ministries and experienced restoration home providers will equip attendees to fight sex trafficking at the grassroots level. The JuST (Juvenile Sex Trafficking) Summit will also feature worship with three-time Grammy-award winning Christian singer/songwriter Michael W. Smith. The first 200 registrants will receive a 50-percent-off promotion code to use towards a second registration. The event, coming April 20 to 22, will be held at Northland, A Church Distributed (530 Dog Track Road, Longwood, FL 32750). Register now at Eventbrite.
Local Rabbi Invites Others to Join June Trip to Israel
Rabbi Rick and Elissa Sherwin of Congregation Beth Am (3899 Sand Lake Road, Longwood, FL 32779) have led six “pilgrimages” to Israel. Their seventh is planned for June. Moreover, they’re inviting any Christians who would enjoy a Jewish-led Holy Land excursion to join them. “The pilgrimage—June 13-24—is extensive, exploring Israel in so many concurrent dimensions,” says Rabbi Rick. “I invite you and/or any members of your congregations who would like to join us to let me know. True, it is costly (as is all traveling)—and at the same time ‘priceless.’ We have others joining us from different parts of the country, both Jews and Christians. It is a diverse, wonderful group.” For more information email Rabbi Rick Sherwin.
State Department Seeking Homes for Exchange Students
Each year American Councils for International Education sponsors some 2,000 scholarship students from the former Soviet Union, the Middle East, the Balkans, Africa or Southeast Asia, creating an opportunity for Americans to open their hearts and homes, sharing U.S. culture, gaining a new family member and promoting mutual understanding. The students come for one academic year on fully funded U.S. State Department merit scholarships. They attend the local high school of the host family and receive a monthly stipend and medical coverage from American Councils. Host families provide meals, accommodation and a nurturing, English-speaking home environment. The students are encouraged to be 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. View a brief video explaining the program. For further information, send an email to Susan Peterson, local coordinator of American Councils. Or phone her at 407-678-4693 (home) 321-439-1105 (cell).
Peace Picnic to Be Held at Lake Mills Park April 23
A multi-faith picnic and potluck lunch will be held Saturday, April 23, from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm, at Lake Mills Park (1301 Tropical Avenue, Chuluota, FL 32766). The purpose of the gathering is for people of all faith traditions to meet, connect and celebrate core principles of love and acceptance that define shared belief in the Divine Creator. In addition to the potluck luncheon, there will be a variety of games and activities for people of all ages. Please bring a covered dish to share, and invite all your friends and fellow congregants to a day of peace and fun-filled activities. This multi-faith event is being planned by members of several local faith-based organizations. The idea of building positive interactions between community members of different faiths—in particular with people of the Islamic faith—has developed in light of recent anti-Muslim sentiment in our country. The event has been planned by lay members of several faith groups. For more information email Jean Bagga.
Islamic Center of Orlando to Host Community BBQ
The Islamic Center of Orlando is hosting an interfaith, everyone-in-the-community-is-invited barbecue on Saturday, April 23, beginning at 5:30 pm, at the Center’s soccer field (11543 Ruby Lake Road, Orlando FL 34786). The entire community is invited to this family-oriented, let’s-get-acquainted event. The Islamic Center of Orlando urges all to extend this invitation to neighbors, coworkers, congregations—everyone. The event’s goal is to build good relationships, stronger friendships and a better community by inviting those of all faiths and no faith to come together to “break bread” together. Please RSVP no later than Friday, April 22, either by email or by phone (407-238-2700).
Interfaith Council Director to Speak at Nu Class
Pastor James Coffin, executive director of the Interfaith Council of Central Florida, will speak at the Nu Class of First United Methodist Church of Orlando on Sunday, April 24. The public is invited. The title of Coffin’s presentation is: “What Ever Happened to Civility in the Public Square?” Is there a need to modify our public discourse? If so, is there anything the general populace can do to make it happen? Or are we simply stuck with whatever standards public figures choose to set? And should the faith community be involved in such matters? Come to the Nu Class to hear this—and more—discussed. The Nu Class “provides an alternative learning experience for adults of all ages where diverse opinions are discussed in a spirit of mutual respect. Embracing Jesus’ message that God loves and accepts every person, we welcome all into full participation in the life of the class regardless of age, sexual orientation, gender identity, family configuration, racial or ethnic background, economic status, or mental or physical disabilities. In celebrating our human family’s diversity, we declare ourselves to be an Open and Affirming Reconciling Community.” The Nu Class meets on the First Floor, Room 6, of First United Methodist Church of Orlando (142 East Jackson Street, Orlando FL 32801). The class goes from 9:30 to 10:45 am each Sunday. Click here for location and parking information.
Baptist Reflects on Justice Scalia, Need to Fill Vacancy
While many liberals took issue with the overarching judicial philosophy of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, many conservative Christians viewed him as a great friend of religious liberty. But not all conservative Christians saw him that way. In a post on his website, J. Brent Walker, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, shares the reasons why he disagreed with many of Scalia’s decisions. Walker also outlines why it’s crucial to fill the vacant post expeditiously and not hamper the ability of the high court to fulfill its role. Read his article here.
Buddha’s Birthday, Asian Food Festival on May 1
Guang Ming Temple (6555 Hoffner Avenue, Orlando, FL 32822) invites the public to its 2016 Buddha’s Birthday Celebration and Asian Vegetarian Food Festival from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm on Sunday, May 1. The event is free, though the food, which is very reasonably priced, must be purchased. The Buddha’s Birthday Celebration Ceremony and Offering Procession in the temple will begin promptly at 10:00 am. The Asian Vegetarian Food Festival and general entertainment are expected to begin outside at about 11:30 am. Guests will also have the opportunity to tour the temple. This is one of the largest events Guang Ming Temple presents each year, attracting thousands from across the state. It is hosted by the Florida Chapter of Buddha’s Light International Association. Guang Ming Temple is one of over 200 Fo Guang Shan temples spread throughout the world. For more information, contact Guang Ming Temple at 407‐281‐8482.
In 2016, Why Not Make Regular Contributions a Habit?
If you appreciate what’s being achieved by the Interfaith Council of Central Florida and Friends Talking Faith With the Three Wise Guys radio program, why not make 2016 a year to contribute to these community-based, community-benefitting activities. It may be every month, once a quarter or annually. And it may be a large contribution or small. But whatever it is, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you played a part in helping to make our community more harmonious and peaceful. All contributions are tax-deductible and may be sent to: PO Box 3310, Winter Park, FL 32790-3310. Or you can click here to contribute online. Thank you for your help.
Sikh Reflection on Gender Equality
“Man is born from a woman; within woman, man is conceived; to a woman he is engaged and married. Man is friends with woman; through woman, the future generations exist. When his woman passes away, he seeks another woman; to a woman a man is bound. So why call her bad? From her, kings are born. From a woman, woman is born; without woman there would be no one at all.”—Guru Granth Sahib Ji (The Sikh Scripture)