Indian Women Make Powerful Statement Re Gender Equality
On January 1, some 5 million women in the southern Indian state of Kerala lined up shoulder to shoulder to form a “women’s wall”—385 miles long! The wall was a statement of gender equality, and a call to end violent protests against women trying to enter the Sabarimala temple in Kerala, a pilgrimage site for Hindus. The Guardian reports that women of all ages have the legal right to enter the temple, as India’s supreme court ruled on the matter in September 2918. However, tradition has held that only men and elderly women may enter. Despite the court’s ruling, women of menstrual age have met with violence and abuse as they attempt to worship at the temple. Women in India face various forms of gender-based violence and discrimination. Thus the wall off women was a powerful show of solidarity about ending gender-based discrimination and violence of all sorts. Read the entire report here.
One of The Three Wise Guys to Speak at Inquiring Minds
If you like getting your Sunday morning off to a good start by doing some mind stretching, there may be no better place to do it than in the Inquiring Minds class at the University Unitarian Universalist Society (11648 McCulloch Road, Orlando, FL 32817), where there’s always a great discussion about things that are important but too often ignored, lost sight of or deliberately avoided. On Sunday, January 13, at 9:00 am, the Rev. Bryan Fulwider, Chair of the Executive Committee of the Interfaith Council of Central Florida and one of The Three Wise Guys on the radio program Friends Talking Faith, will address the topic: “Predicting the Future of Mainstream Churches”—a pertinent topic, granted the numbers decline in most mainstream denominations. At the main service at 10:30 am, Rev. Fulwider will speak again. His presentation is titled: “A Process Philosophy of Hope.” Drawing on Alfred North Whitehead and his work “The Function of Reason,” Rev. Fulwider will explore a process understanding of how our lives unfold. He will consider Whitehead’s claim that the function of reason is to “promote the art of life,” looking at what Whitehead means by his statement, and how this can become a context for hope in our current age. The public is invited to both presentations.
MLK Candlelight Vigil and Interfaith Service Sunday, Jan 13
On Sunday evening, January 13, the public is invited to join religious and civic leaders for the annual MLK Interfaith and Multicultural Service honoring the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. The event will begin at 5:30 pm at the Orlando Regional History Center (65 East Central Blvd, Orlando, FL 32801) where you’ll receive a commemorative T-shirt and glow stick for a candlelight vigil. The “candlelight” vigil and march will leave the History Center at 6:00 pm, proceeding to First United Methodist Church of Orlando (142 East Jackson Street, Orlando, FL 32801), where the speaker for the event will be Congresswoman Val Demings. The theme for this year’s event is “Discord into Symphony.” 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. King, the advances made and the challenges that still remain. Join members of the Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Baha’i, Unitarian Universalist and other faith and worldview communities in reaffirming Martin Luther King’s vision of equal opportunity and equal justice for all. Click here to email your questions concerning the event. Spread the word concerning this truly special celebration, reflection and learning opportunity. Click here for a list of MLK Celebrations in Central Florida during January. (Photo is of a previous year’s event.)
Series RE Small Christian Denomination Continuing Jan 14
A once-a-month series focusing on some of Christianity’s smaller denominations is being hosted by community members in the Lake of the Woods subdivision at their Clubhouse (300 Carolwood Point, Fern Park, Casselberry). Each denomination featured is in some way out of the mainstream of Christianity—because of their mission, theology, methodology, history or some other defining characteristic. Among those being featured are (not necessarily in order): Seventh-day Adventists; the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers); Jehovah’s Witnesses; the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons); the Church of Christ, Scientist (Christian Science); and the Moravians. On Monday January 14, the focus will be on Moravians. The speaker will be Willie Israel, pastor of the Rolling Hills Moravian Church in Longwood. The presentations, organized by the Interfaith Council of Central Florida, are on the second Monday of each month, beginning at 3:00 pm and lasting one hour. Approximately 30 minutes is used for the presentation, with the balance of the time for audience questions. The series is free and the public is invited. For more information, phone 321-228-4599. Click here for directions.
Habitat for Humnaity Inviting Women to Join ‘Women Build’
“We need you!” That’s the call and invitation to participate in Women Build, extended by Habitat for Humanity Seminole-Apopka. “Join as an individual, create a team, or become a corporate sponsor. Your participation helps to fund and build affordable housing that allows more families to make the dream of homeownership a reality. Together we build strength, stability, and independence. If you’ve previously participated as a Women Build team captain, bring a new friend or two, and share your experience with others. Or if you’re looking to join Women Build for the first time, join us to learn more about how you can get involved!” Not only do women have a track record of actually building Habitat houses, last year more than 200 women raised more than $146,000 to fund the women’s projects. This year the goal is to raise $180,000. Those interested in participating in Women Build this year are invited to come to a meeting on Wednesday, January 16, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at Pella Windows and Doors (350 West State Road 434, Longwood, FL 32750). Direct any questions to Linda Andrews by email or by phone (407-696-5855 x2103). Register here for the meeting. Of course, Women Build is only one of the opportunities to become involved in Habitat. There’s a range of volunteer opportunities for both males and females.
‘NS’SF to Present ‘City of Hope’ Program January 1
The “Negro Spiritual” Scholarship Foundation’s Project Grady-Rayam will present its annual City of Hope program at 7:00 pm on Friday, January 18, at Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Institutional Church (535 West Washington Street, Orlando FL 32801). The “Negro Spiritual” Scholarship Foundation is a Central Florida nonprofit established in 1996. The agency’s threefold mission is to preserve America’s Negro spiritual songs from the slave era as part of our cultural heritage, provide training, development and scholastic assistance grants for young artists, and inspire the American public to embrace spirituals as a shared cultural legacy. Over a span of more than twenty years the organization has worked directly with more than 50,000 clients including senior high school students, collegians, parents, educators and music professionals. It collaborates with churches, performing arts groups, and cultural or civic organizations to extend the rich legacy of the Negro spiritual through outreach in the form of workshops, lectures, recitals and other musical programs. The agency produces an annual season of music concerts that stimulate and inspire the wider community. It commissions scholars and musicians to produce new works, hires professional singers and players in support of the American cultural community, and shares its resources and expertise with others nationwide. The January 18 City of Hope 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.
Sikhs Provide More than Just Food and Hospitality in NZ
Sikhs have become legendary for their hospitality and community service through the meals they provide following worship services at their gurdwaras (temples). But in New Zealand, they’ve taken the program to an even more impressive level. At one gurdwara, they not only feed an average of 300 on weekdays, 1000 on Saturdays and 2000 on Sundays, they also cultivate a huge garden to supply much of the food. But the hospitality and concern for the hungry in the community doesn’t stop there. The Sikhs work with the Department of Corrections to provide work opportunity for offenders who’ve bee assigned hours of community service. Not only does the “volunteer” work help the Sikhs maintain their garden, which in turn helps the community, but those sent to work there by the Corrections Department are taught about gardening and about a more healthful diet and lifestyle. So it’s a win-win-win-and-win-some-more situation. You can read the entire story here. And there are plenty of accompanying pictures to make the story even more interesting.
Quakers Inviting Public to Its Annual Lecture Series
“Good News to the Oppressed: Friends’ Witness in the 21st Century” is the title of the 2019 lecture in the 49th Annual Dwight & Ardis Michener Lecture & Seminar series being hosted at Orlando Friends Meetinghouse (316 E. Marks Street, Orlando, FL 32803) on Sunday, January 20, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. The public is invited. “Many Friends are rightly uncomfortable with the concept of ‘missions,’” says the advertising for the event, “especially in light of the historic missionary movement’s association with colonialism and racism and the damaging effects, which are still felt today. . . . God’s work is most clearly revealed amid contexts of suffering and oppression. Quaker mission in the 21st century must therefore be focused on . . . the voices and experiences of those who are most vulnerable and marginalized. What does this look like in actual Friends practice today?” The one who will answer that question is Eden Grace, who has served as Global Ministries Director of Friends United Mission since July 2013. From 2004 to 2013, She served as the Field Officer for FUM in the Africa Ministries Office in Kisumu, Kenya. Eden is responsible for shepherding FUM’s programmatic work in 11 countries on four continents. She is particularly engaged in issues of race, class, gender, and culture within the fellowship of believers. The lecture will be preceded by a luncheon at 11:30 am.Suggested donation for lunch, lecture and seminars: $30.00. Register at the door.. Click here for more information.
Interfaith Yoga Project to Host Practice as MLK Tribute
Organizers of the Interfaith Yoga Project invite the public—all ages, all ability levels, all faiths and all backgrounds—to join in a Martin Luther King, Jr., Tribute yoga event on Sunday, January 20, from 3:00 to 4:30 pm at St Andrews Catholic Church (801 North Hastings Street, Orlando, FL 32808). “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’“ Dr. King said to an audience in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1957. In honor of the legacy of Dr. King, participants in the MLK yoga event will be invited to reflect on the sentiment of Dr. King’s statement, meditating on what it means to be of service. As a tangible act of service, participants are invited to bring a contribution of canned goods for the St. Andrews Food Pantry. Register at Eventbrite.
Bach Society to Perform Vivaldi’s Juditha Triumphans
As part of its Insights & Sounds series, the Bach Festival Society Choir and Orchestra will perform Juditha Triumphans, Vivaldi’s only surviving oratorio, which tells the compelling story of a biblical heroine. Through conversation and performance, Director John V. Sinclair and members of the Bach Festival Choir and Orchestra will bring Vivaldi’s poignant story to life on Thursday, January 24, at 7:30pm in the Tiedtke Concert Hall on the campus of Rollins College (1000 Holt Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32789). Click here for tickets. The Insights & Sounds series combines great music and discussion. Organizers say these concerts are perfect for classical-music connoisseurs who wish to expand their knowledge, and classical-music novices who would like to explore classical music’s significance.
Have Questions about Islam? Here Are Ways to Get Answers
Here are some options to have your questions about Islam answered: (1) The Islamic Center of Orlando sponsors an open house/dialogue at 6:30 pm every Wednesday night to answer the public’s questions about the Islamic faith. The question-and-answer events are held in the dining room of the Muslim Academy of Orlando (MAGO), situated at 11551 Ruby Lake Road, Orlando, FL 32836 (just off Apopka-Vineland Road, near Lake Buena Vista). For more detail or to make a reservation, phone 407-495-6139. (2) On the fourth Saturday of every month, the Islamic Society of Central Florida hosts an “Open House Invitational” at which you can learn about Islam and the Muslim community from the Muslims themselves. The event Includes a presentation, a question-and-answer time, an international dinner, a tour of the mosque, and more. The event is conducted at the Center for Peace at the headquarters of the Islamic Society of Central Florida (1021 North Goldenrod Road, Orlando, Florida 32807). A tour of the mosque will be conducted at 5:30 pm, followed by the rest of the program. Invitationals will be held on January 26, February 23 and March 23. Register at Eventbrite.
Hindu Society of Central Florida to Host Health Seminar
The New Age Group (i.e. seniors group) at the Hindu Society of Central Florida invites all who are interested to attend a seminar about Metabolic Syndrome, a condition that increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Presenter for the event will be Dr. Sudhir Bhaskar, who is board-certified in both Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology. The event will be held on Sunday, February 3, beginning at 1.30 pm at the HSCF Community Hall (1994 Lake Drive, Casselberry, FL 32707). After the presentation, delicious Indian snacks and tea/coffee will be served. The event is free to all paid members of the New Age Group. Admission for non-members is $5.00 with prior RSVP or $10.00 at the gate. Reservation deadline is January 25. For more information, phone Madan Arora (407-971-9259), Dev Sharma (407-862-9920) or Sadananda Pande (407-542-7478).
Summit on Religious Freedom Slated for February 12
The Fourth Annual Summit on Religious Freedom presented by the Central Florida Commission on Religious Freedom is scheduled for Tuesday, February 12, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm, at Faith Hall, First Baptist Orlando (3000 South John Young Parkway, Orlando, FL 32805). Featured speaker for the event is Rabbi David Saperstein, who for decades directed the religious action center of Reform Judaism and who for two years served as the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, serving as the nation’s chief diplomat for religious-freedom issues. An attorney as well as a rabbi, he has taught seminars on church-state law and Jewish law for some 35 years at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. Rabbi Saperstein’s presentation for the Summit is titled “Religious Freedom in the United States and Across the Globe: Navigating Dangerous Challenges.” Also featured will be Barbara Beck of Good Life 45 TV, who will moderate a conversation between Danny de Armas, senior associate pastor at First Baptist Orlando, and David Williamson, co-founder of the Central Florida Forethought Community, about how a Christian and an atheist find common ground. The public is invited, and the event is free. But seats are limited, so book soon at Eventbrite.
PJI and COS Cooperating to Give Insights into Judaism
As part of the ongoing Interfaith Series organized by Valencia College’s Peace and Justice Institute, students and interested members of the public are invited to learn more about Judaism and explore ways in which various segments of our community can learn from and better connect with each others. The event will be held at Congregation Ohev Shalom (613 Concourse Parkway South, Maitland, FL 32751) on Friday, February 15, from 5:30 to 8:30 pm. It will include a tour of the synagogue, hosted by Rabbi David Kay, a simple meal, presentations on a variety of Jewish religious and cultural traditions, and an Erev Shabbat (Sabbath Eve) service, which will begin at 7:30 pm. All are welcome to attend, and the event is free. Participants must register in advance at Eventbrite. Click here to learn about more events sponsored by the Peace and Justice Institute.
FUMCO Speaker to Address Theology Re LGBTQ+
First United Methodist Church of Orlando will feature an evening with Rev. Dr. Steve Harper, former Vice President and Dean of the Florida Campus of Asbury Theological Seminary and author of For the Sake of the Bride: Restoring the Church to Her Intended Beauty and other books. Dr. Harper’s presentation, titled “All Mean All: The Bible’s Affirmation of LGBTQ+ People,” will be held on Wednesday, February 20, at 7:00 pm at First United Methodist Church of Orlando (142 East Jackson Street, Orlando, 32801). A time for questions and answers will follow the presentation. The event is free, and the public is invited.
UCF to Offer Training in How to Deal with Spiritual Diversity
Higher-education student-affairs professionals, religious professionals who work for or with post-secondary institutions, and student leaders of organizations and clubs on campus can learn how to better support religious, secular and spiritual identities on campus by participating in a major training event being offered at the University of Central Florida on Wednesday, February 27, from 9 am to 4:30 pm. The event, which is being presented by an organization called Convergence on Campus, Inc., costs $149.00 (which includes lunch) and is being cosponsored by two UCF organizations: Campus Faith & Ministries and Humanist and Secular Services. Click here for more information about Convergence. Click here to register.
Save the Date: Better Man Event XV at UCF Arena April 13
The 2019 Better Man Event will be held at the CFE Arena at the University of Central Florida (12777 Gemini Blvd North, Orlando, FL) on Saturday, April 13, from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. And just what is the Better Man Event? The organizers describe it as a Christian non-profit organization that invites men to a higher calling. “The Better Man Event is an annual three-hour power-packed men’s event designed to equip, encourage, and engage men to become “better.” Over the past 14 years the Better Man Event has featured keynote speakers from across the country to speak directly into men’s lives about what it is to be a better husband, father, brother, friend, co-worker and follower of Christ.” Click here for details and to book tickets (which typically have sold out weeks before the event).
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.
Reflection (in the Form of a Belgian Ad for Coca-Cola)
When you think of riding the subway, laughter and joy aren’t the first descriptions that spring to mind. It’s a cramped place full of grumpy people who are coming home from a bad day at work or are just generally stressed and upset. Yet if you’re lucky enough, you can sometimes find happiness even in a subway train. One such magical moment was captured when a Belgian advertising agency, working for Coca-Cola, hired an actor to randomly start laughing on the train. Bearing the tagline “Happiness starts with a smile,” the ad aims to bring a bit of joy to everyone’s day. Just watch the ad, and maybe you’ll succumb to a small giggle, too!