February 2013


1. News Report: MLK Candlelight Vigil and Interfaith Service. An excellent report of this year’s event–which was held on Sunday evening, January 13–can be read at http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2013-01-13/news/os-mlk-candlelight-march-remembrance-20130113_1_interfaith-council-rabbi-david-kay-orlando-mother. The event, sponsored annually by the Interfaith Council of Central Florida and the City of Orlando Mayor’s Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday Commission, draws a diverse crowd of several hundred people. Also, see tribute to MLK at  http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2013-01-13/news/os-ed-martin-luther-king-myword-011313-20130111_1_mlk-holiday-civil-rights-black-males.

2. “Does the Golden Rule Always Apply?” That’s the title of a presentation by James Coffin, Executive Director of the Interfaith Council of Central Florida, at 11:30 am, on Saturday, February 2, at Sabbath Grace Fellowship (http://www.sabbathgracefellowship.com), 207 Semoran Commerce Place, Apopka, FL 32703. The public is invited. So, does the Golden Rule always apply? Absolutely, Coffin says. And it applies not just when Christians are dealing with Christians. It applies in all human relations, whether individual or collective. It’s a core value of interfaith interaction. And it applies to those of no faith as well as to those of faith.

 3. Black History Month, James Cleveland and Gospel Music. If you’re a church minister of music, musician, choir director, song leader, dancer–or just love gospel music–then a series of workshops being held in Orlando on February 14, 15 and 16 may be what you’re looking for. Or you may prefer just to attend the “Cleveland Songs that Kept Me” Concert on February 17. Or maybe you’d simply like to learn more about the impact James Cleveland had on gospel music. Whatever your interest, check out the details at www.candoonlineevents.com.

4. Speak Up Wekiva! Join former U.S. Senator Bob Graham, Seminole County Commissioner Lee Constantine, Sister Pat Siemen of Barry University School of Law, author and film-maker Bill Belleville and other civic leaders leaders and conservation authorities at Wekiwa Springs State Park so you can Speak Up to protect and restore the Wekiva River and all of Florida’s impaired and imperiled waterways. The event will run from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on Saturday, February 16, at the park (800 Wekiwa Circle, Apopka, Florida 32712; phone: 407-884-2008). Senator Graham will speak at 11:00 am. This educational event will give Central Floridians a chance to learn and take action through an array of discussions, presentations, music and nature activities that will be of interest to casual onlookers as well as veteran conservationists.

5. Comprehensive Immigration Reform. The Justice for Our Neighbors initiative of the United Methodist Church is urging citizen action to encourage legislators to address the issue of immigration reform. Officials to contact include Marco Rubio (go to http://www.rubio.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact for mail, email and phone contact information) and President Barack Obama (http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact). For detailed information about the range of issues associated with immigration, check out http://www.floridaimmigrant.orghttp://www.justiceforimmigrants.org,    http://nilc.orghttp://www.splcenter.orghttp://www.migrationpolicy.org. For information about how you or your group might become involved locally, contact Marilyn Beecher at marilynrb@peoplepc.com.

6. Passover Festival from A to Z. Do you have friends, neighbors or workmates who are Jewish? Is some family member married to a Jew? Are you dating one? Have you ever noticed how, when speaking to each other, Jews use a lot of unfamiliar words that leave you clueless as to what they’re talking about? You have noticed? Well, so have the members of Congregation of Reform Judaism (http://www.crjorlando.org/).  And they’ve decided to do something about it! On March 17, from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, they’re inviting the public to learn more about the history and traditions of Passover–their annual festival that celebrates the very core of Jewish identity. The March 17 get-to-know-Judaism event will be a time of fun and education for all ages. For more detail, check out the following downloadable flyer. Passover from A to Z Flyeer.docx 15K   View   Download

7. A Visit to the Hindu Society of Central Florida. Although Hinduism is the oldest of the world’s major religions, the Hindu Society of Central Florida (http://www.hindutempleorlando.org) was founded only 25 years ago. But the HSCF has grown dramatically during that time, as have other Hindu organizations in the region. Situated at 1994 Lake Drive, Casselberry, FL 32707, the HSCF campus features a temple, a large activities center/auditorium and the Chinmaya Mission (http://www.chinmayaorlando.org). The temple was constructed by a team of Indian artisans who custom-made every statue, frieze and piece of artistry. In India, a specific deity may be pre-eminent in a given geographic region. At the HSCF temple, the main deities are represented, but none are given pre-eminence. It’s an intentional approach to ensure that all branches of Hinduism will feel equally welcome. Non-Hindu visitors are also welcome. It’s a good idea to do a little background reading at the website and perhaps call ahead (407-699-5277) before your visit. Be sure to take off your shoes before entering the temple. And while you’re on the campus, you might want to buy a simple, tasty, inexpensive meal at the cafeteria/canteen, featuring food (for the most part) from South India. It’s not fancy dining, but it’s definitely good value. You can eat in or take away. Your visit to the HSCF can provide not only religious education, but also the experiencing of another culture and an introduction to new culinary delights.

8. Save the Date. The Multi-Faith Workshop sponsored last November by the Hindu Society of Central Florida in conjunction with the Sikh Society of Central Florida was so appreciated that, by popular demand, there’s going be an event redux, addressing a different aspect of interfaith interest this time. Please mark this event on your calendars right now: Sunday afternoon, November 3, 2013. Specific details will be provided as we get closer to the date.

9. Islamic Society of Central Florida Invitationals. Not sure what Muslims believe? The Islamic Society of Central Florida is offering an attractive way for you to find out. First, on the fourth Saturday evening of each month, the ISCF Center for Peace (1021 N. Goldenrod Rd., Orlando, FL 32807) hosts an open house that includes a multimedia presentation/lecture/discussion about the teachings and practices of Islam. Visitors are free to ask questions. The presentation is followed by a cultural meal and an opportunity to tour the masjid (mosque). Second, on June 29, 2013, the ISCF is hosting a “Building Bridges and Breaking Bread Banquet” for which the public is invited to share in the spirit of the beginning of Ramadan (the Muslim fasting month), which focuses on community, compassion and peace. The event includes a brief presentation about the significance of Ramadan and a delicious cultural dinner for all guests. For more detail, go to http://www.eventbrite.com/org/522308746?s=11006075. For general information about the ISCF, go to http://www.iscf.org.

10. Reminders from Previous Newsletters . . .

♦ Farm-worker-justice event this Saturday. Join other Central Floridians in partnership with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers for a “Day of Worship, Enlightenment, Strategizing and Activism,” Saturday, February 2, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, First Unitarian Church of Orlando, 1901 E. Robinson St., Orlando, FL  32803. Registration deadline: Friday, February 1, tinyurl.com/cf-farmworkerevent. Information: CIWeventinfo@orlandouu.org.

♦ “Friends Talking Faith.” The Reverend Bryan Fulwider, Rabbi Steve Engel and Imam Muhammad Musri will interview Rabbi Harold Kushner, renowned theologian and writer of the book When Bad Things Happen to Good People, on WMFE 90.7,  this Sunday, February 3, at 6:00 pm. Learn more about the program and listen to archived broadcasts at http://thethreewiseguys.com.

♦ “Religion 101” series to feature Hinduism. On Tuesday, February 12, at 7:00 pm at the Holocaust Center (851 North Maitland Avenue, Maitland, FL 32751), Dr. Deen Khandelwal will present an overview of Hinduism–the oldest of the world’s major religions. For more detail, go to the Holocaust Center’s http://www.holocaustedu.org/events/community_presentations/. The Baha’i faith will be featured on March 12.

♦ What does your faith tradition teach about our moral obligation to those in poverty? And what tangible actions does it call for? That’s the topic for the February 13 Interfaith Discussion Group, which will meet at Adventist University of Health Sciences on Florida Hospital’s main campus at 7:00 pm. For further details and directions contact jim@interfaithfl.org.