HUA Offering New Course: Gandhian Conflict Resolution
The Mahatma Gandhi Center of Hindu University of America (5200 Vineland Road, Suite 120, Orlando, FL 32811) is launching a new certificate course on the Gandhian approach to conflict and peace, starting this month. This highly innovative course will introduce the learners to Gandhian techniques, including Satyagraha and Ahimsa, to resolve individual, interpersonal and even international conflicts. The course will train the learners to emerge as practitioners of peace through appreciating the Gandhian way to make this world a better place to live. The carefully crafted course will be of interest to college students, community leaders, policy makers, researchers and all those interested in understanding, practicing and disseminating peace. More information is available by email or phone (407-275-0013).
History Exhibit: 100 Years of Judaism in Central Florida
The Orange County Regional History Center (65 East Central Blvd., Orlando FL 32801) will feature an exhibit until February 20 highlighting 100 years of Judaism in Central Florida. The exhibit is titled “Kehillah,” a word that means community. And to tell the history of Orlando’s Jewish community is to tell the history of Orlando itself. From the days of Orlando’s infancy, Jewish settlers, migrants and immigrants became pioneers of business and industry. Through photographs and artifacts, learn how Central Florida’s Jewish community played a major role in the region’s development while keeping Jewish ties and traditions alive. Click here for more information about times, entry cost, parking and other details about the History Center.
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 complex aspects of life. These three clergy come together as friends to discuss topics from the perspective of the different religions they represent. They contend that “good religion works for peace, respects and values others regardless of their religious perspective, and works through acts of compassion to make the world a better place for everyone.” 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. Friends Talking Faith will be broadcast on Tuesday evening, January 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30.
MLK Candlelight Vigil and Interfaith Service January 7
On Sunday evening, January 7, the public is invited to join an array of religious and civic leaders at the Orlando City Hall, where you’ll receive a commemorative T-shirt and glow stick for a candlelight vigil. The “candlelight” vigil and march will leave City Hall at 6:00 pm (so arrive earlier), proceeding to Shiloh Baptist Church (604 West Jackson Street) for the city’s annual MLK Interfaith and Multicultural Service, featuring as speaker Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy. Sponsored by the Interfaith Council of Central Florida and the City of Orlando Mayor’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission, the event provides a natural catalyst for dialogue with children and youth about the history of the Civil Rights Movement, the contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the advances made and the challenges that still remain. Spread the word concerning this truly special celebration and learning opportunity.
Interfaith Discussion: MLK’s Life, Legacy and Lessons
In 1968, the powerful, history-changing, 39-year-old civil-rights champion Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had his life cut short by an assassin’s bullet. But his influence still continues in this 50th year since his death. The Interfaith Discussion (sponsored by the Interfaith Council of Central Florida) will focus on King’s life, legacy and the lessons we can learn from him, when it meets on Wednesday, January 10. Interfaith Discussions are 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 exchanges 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, click here. Admission is free. Everyone is invited.
Class at St. Luke’s UMC: ‘Recording Your Life Story’
Have you ever considered leaving a story about yourself for your children and grandchildren? It can be a written journal, a book of annotated photographs, a collection of poetry or a collection of letters. It can be a short story about one event or a long story covering several years or several experiences. It can be . . . well . . . almost anything. But it will be a lot easier if someone gives you insights into how to do it. And that’s where Dr. Ruth McKeefery comes into the picture. Dr. McKeefery is a retired academic who spent the last 18 years of her career as the Dean of the College at Thomas Edison State University, New Jersey. Then she retired and moved to Orlando, where she’s been a volunteer par excellence. Recently she was inspired to consider teaching a new course at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church (4851 South Apopka-Vineland Road, Orlando, FL 32819), where she’s a highly active member. The course, titled “Recording Your Life Story,” will run every Thursday evening from 6:30 to 8:30 pm (in Building C, Second Floor), from January 11 to March 15. For more information, send an email to Dr. McKeefery.
U.S. Muslims Account for 1.1 Percent of Population
From the Pew Research Center: “An estimated 3.45 million Muslims of all ages were living in the U.S. in 2017, accounting for about 1.1% of the country’s total population. By 2040, Muslims will replace Jews as the nation’s second-largest religious group after Christians.”
‘NS’SF to Present ‘City of Hope’ Program on January 12
The “Negro Spiritual” Scholarship Foundation’s Project Grady-Rayam will present its annual City of Hope program at 7:00 pm on Friday, January 12, at Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Institutional Church (535 West Washington Street, Orlando FL 32801). Theme for this year’s event is: Transcendent Faith — Civic Spirituality. Featured speaker will be the Rev. Dr. James Morris, senior pastor of Carter Tabernacle Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. Other featured participants will be “NS”SF and L.A.M.P. Prize-Winning Artists, the University Unitarian Universalist Society’s Youth Speech Chorus and the Bethune-Cookman University Concert Chorale. The program is free and the public is invited. More information may be obtained by phone (407-841-6773) or by email. The event is sponsored by the City of Orlando Mayor’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Commission.
World Champion Choir to Honor MLK’s Life and Legacy
The public is invited to an extravaganza choral concert titled “The Dream Lives On, 50-Year Anniversary Legacy,” to be performed at 7:00 pm on Saturday, January 13, at the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center (445 South Magnolia Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801). The choir being featured, the Aeolians, from Oakwood University, a traditionally Black university in Huntsville, Alabama, were voted “The Choir of the World 2017” and were the recipient of the Pavarotti Trophy. The January 13 performance will be in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to memorialize his life and legacy on this 50th anniversary year of his death. The choir will be directed by Dr. Jason “Max” Ferdinand, and the event will be hosted by Dr. Wintley Phipps, recording artist and founder of the U.S. Dream Academy. For more information and to buy tickets, go to the event’s website.
New Hope for Kids to Offer Volunteer Training
New Hope for Kids Center for Grieving Children is offering training to become a volunteer grief-support-group facilitator. The Center for Grieving Children (544 Mayo Avenue, Maitland, FL 32751) provides grief support for children and families who have experienced the death of a loved one. The program helps children, teens and young adults cope with their grief and loss through the sharing of stories and experiences, as well as art, music and recreation. A one-year commitment is requested for volunteers, and a pre-interview and tour of the facility are required. The next 25-hour training program will be offered on Saturday and Sunday, January 13 and 14. For more information, please visit the organization’s website, contact Gloria Capozzi by email, phone 407-331-3059 x15 or download the volunteer application here.
Better Man Event to Host Pastor and Ministry Lunceheon
Pastors and Christian ministry leaders who are interested in being involved in the 2018 Better Man Event are invited to a luncheon on Thursday, January 18, from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm at Calvary Orlando’s gymnasium (1199 Clay Street, Winter Park, FL 32789). The January 18 event’s organizers say: “Come hungry to learn more about how Better Man Ministries can walk alongside your ministry to equip, encourage and engage your men to be better in Christ. We will break bread and have lunch provided by 4Rivers.” Space is limited. Please click here to RSVP for the January 18 planning session. The actual Better Man Event will be held on March 3 and will feature Mark Batterson, Emitt Smith, Nick Vujicic and Brian Head Welch, who will be speaking to some 4,000 men. Click here for details about the March 3 event.
Film Screening, Book Club Discussion at Holocaust Center
The public is invited to the Holocaust Center (851 Maitland Avenue North, Maitland, FL 32751) on Sunday, January 21, to discuss the book Defiance, by Nechama Tec, which chronicles the extraordinary experience of the Bielski partisan group and their leader, Tuvia Bielski. The film Defiance (based on the book) will be screened at 1:00 pm, followed by the book-club discussion at 3:30 pm. Dr. Susan A. Bach—whose father, Joe Abrams (Josef Abramowicz) and mother, Esther Greenberg (Ester Grinberg) Abrams, were members of the Bielski partisan group—will lead the discussion. A week later, on Sunday, January 28, at 2:00 pm, Mickey Bielski, son of Tuvia Bielski, will share the story of what it was like to come of age in the shadow of the incredible legacy of his father. He will share his own—and his father’s stories—with humor, passion and (above all) love. This pair of programs, held to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day, is generously sponsored by Dr. Susan and Mr. Larry Bach in memory of Susan’s parents, Joe and Esther Abrams. Learn more about Holocaust Center’s exhibits and upcoming programs by clicking here and going to Facebook. Direct any questions about programs or exhibits to Terrance Hunter by email or by phone (407-628-0555.)
Group to Discuss ‘Astroturfing’ and Media Manipulation
The Social Justice Meetup Group is inviting the public to join them at a gathering on Sunday, January 21, from 2:00 to 3:00 pm at the Alafaya Branch of Orange County Library (12000 East Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL) for a discussion that will focus on a number of claims regarding current media manipulation. It’s estimated that 90 percent percent of news media are controlled by a relative handful of major corporations. If so, the vast majority of what we read or hear can easily be controlled by special-interest groups. “Astroturf” is the description give to an effort on the part of large corporate special interests to surreptitiously sway public opinion by making it appear as if it’s a grassroots effort for or against a particular agenda. To learn more, to join the Meetup group and/or to attend the gathering, click here. Organizer and host for the event is Ishaq Zahid.
Too Much Lawn to Mow? Here’s a Novel Solution
If you feel you have too much lawn to mow, you might want to consider turning some of your outdoor space into an urban mini-farm with the help of Fleet Farming. The Fleet Farming website states: “Our mission is to develop, fund and scale solutions to the world’s most pressing environmental and social challenges. Our vision is to contribute to a future where humanity thrives in harmony with nature and in peace with one another. Our urban farmers are comprised of local residents, just like you. Whether you are one of our community urban farmers, a local business owner, farmer’s market goer, or financial supporter, you become a vital member in growing food, not lawns, for a more sustainable world.” Learn more by watching this video.
Catholic Diocese of Orlando Turning 50 in 2018
Catholics in Central Florida will be celebrating a significant milestone during 2018—the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Diocese of Orlando. Here’s the story, as excerpted from the diocesan website: A long history of Catholicism in Florida precedes the formation of the Diocese of Orlando. In the 16th century, Spanish explorers searching for riches in the new world found the Florida peninsula, which they claimed for Spanish royalty. They worked to form missions and build churches to celebrate and practice their Catholic faith. In 1870, the Diocese of St. Augustine was formed and, for nearly a century, presided over the entire state of Florida. In 1958, as the population started to increase around Miami, the southern half of Florida became its own Catholic territory, the Diocese of Miami. Ten years later, population numbers justified another split, and the central part of Florida became the Diocese of Orlando on June 18, 1968. Today the Diocese of Orlando represents many cultural and ethnic groups, and believers of all ages, income and education levels. In addition to English, Mass is celebrated in nine foreign languages: Portuguese, Tagalog, Spanish, Polish, Korean, Vietnamese, Malayalam (Indian), French and Creole. Click here to read more. Click here to watch a video made ten years ago to celebrate the diocese’s 40th anniversary.
Website Tells Where to Prepare for Social-Jusice Career
Most of us have heard the statement “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Obviously, the statement is hyperbole. Yet it does bear some truth. The bigger problem may be finding someone who’s hiring workers for the work you love. But even there, help may be just a click of the mouse away. If you’re into social-justice as an advocate/activist, there are actually academic programs to equip you to do the job more effectively and more professionally, and to help you find employment in your chosen field. Click here to start your search of the resources that have been pulled together by the Center for School, College, and Career Resources (CSCCR).
Summit on Religious Freedom Slated for January 30
Central Florida’s Third Annual Summit on Religious Freedom is scheduled for Tuesday, January 30, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm, at Faith Hall, First Baptist Orlando (3000 South John Young Parkway, Orlando, FL 32805). Featured speakers for the event are Brett Scharffs of Brigham Young University, who will explain why religious freedom is important to everyone, whether they’re religious or not; Jennifer Hawks of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, will share details of current and upcoming legislative and judicial issues that impact religious freedom; and the Rev. Katrina Jenkins, Dean of Religious Life at Rollins College, who will describe the efforts of Rollins College to be respectful toward and inclusive of the wide range of faith and non-faith on the college’s campus. Get more information and register at Eventbrite. The event is free and open to the public.
Email Newsletter a Source of Knowledge for Aging
Whatever your faith tradition, you’re ultimately going to have to deal with aging. And it may not involve just your own march toward growing older; it may also involve dealing with aging parents, relatives or friends. So where can you go for reliable information to help navigate this inevitable journey? A great place to start is the free monthly email newsletter of the Orange County Commission on Aging, for which you can sign up by simply clicking here and providing your email address and first name. The newsletter is full of interesting and useful information as well as descriptions of an array of resources, activities and events available right here in Central Florida. Check out the most recent issue by clicking here.
Interfaith Council of Osceola Organizational Meeting Jan 31
Baha’is, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Unitarian Universalists—in other words, leaders in all faith traditions—are invited to a luncheon on Wednesday, January 31, from 12:00 noon to 1:30 pm, at Training Rooms A, B and C of the Osceola County Sheriffs Office (2601 East Irlo Bronson Hwy., Kissimmee, FL 34744) to organize an Interfaith Council of Osceola County. The goal is to create loose-knit organization in which faith leaders from diverse backgrounds can become acquainted, learn more about each other’s faith tradition and work together for community betterment in areas where there’s consensus. It makes a powerful statement to onlookers when faith leaders of diverse background can work together in practical ways for the good of the larger community. If you’re a faith leader in Osceola County, please mark your calendars and spread the word to others who you think might be interested in being part of such an organization. Please RSVP by email or by phone (321-228-4599) by Sunday, January 28.
Suicide-Affected Support Group Being Organized
On Wednesday evening, February 7, from 6:00 to 7:00 pm (at 320 North Ferncreek Avenue, Orlando, FL 2803), the Mental Health Association of Central Florida will conduct the first meeting of a new support group for those in the Central Florida community who are suicide-affected—be they family member, friend or coworker of the deceased. This support group will be facilitated by the MHACF program director Maria Iddings and assistant director Kyle Welling. On February 21, Dr. David Cavalleri will facilitate a second support group for those currently working through their own suicidal thoughts, feelings and/or behaviors. Attendance at either group is free. However, participants must complete a brief screening process. Please contact Kyle Welling by email to begin the screening and/or address further questions regarding the groups.
Save the Date: Rethinking Conflict/Building Peace Seminar
Mark your calendars for a half-day seminar (8:30 am to 12:00 noon) featuring as presenters: the Rev. Dr. Gary Mason, a Methodist pastor from Belfast, Northern Ireland, and the founder and director of the Belfast-based Rethinking Conflict; and the Rev. Dr. James Morris, senior pastor of Carter Tabernacle Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in Orlando and a long-time champion of social justice and interfaith relations. The venue and other details of the seminar will be provided in the February and March issues of the Interfaith Council newsletter. If you would like to be put on a communication list to receive updates before the next newsletter, send an email to Peacebuilding Seminar. In the meantime, learn more about Dr. Mason (and more here), and learn more about Dr. Morris.
Your Tax-Deductible Contributions Greatly Appreciated
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, we invite you to contribute on a regular basis 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.
“Your mercy is my social status.”—Guru Nanak