September 2015

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White House Issues Rules Re Faith-Based Patnerships
In August, according to the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, “the White House announced rule proposals from nine federal agencies that address issues related to the government’s partnerships with faith-based and community organizations. Among other things, the proposed rules emphasize that faith-based organizations that receive federal funds must keep separate ‘in time or location’ its religious activities from federally funded activities. . . .  Melissa Rogers, the executive director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships (and a former Baptist Joint Committee General Counsel), explains . . . the proposed rules: ‘For example, if a faith-based provider offers a Bible study as well as a federally supported job training program, the Bible study must be privately funded and separated in time or location from the job training program.’” For more on the topic, go to the BJC website.American Attitudes Changing Re A-Bombing of Japan
From the Pew Research Center: “In 1945, a Gallup poll immediately after the bombing found that 85% of Americans approved of using the new atomic weapon on Japanese cities. In 1991, according to a Detroit Free Press survey conducted in both Japan and the U.S., 63% of Americans said the atomic bomb attacks on Japan were a justified means of ending the war, while only 29% thought the action was unjustified. At the same time, only 29% of Japanese said the bombing was justified, while 64% thought it was unwarranted. . . But a 2015 Pew Research Center survey finds that the share of Americans who believe the use of nuclear weapons was justified is now 56%, with 34% saying it was not. In Japan, only 14% say the bombing was justified, versus 79% who say it was not.” Click here to read the entire report. The comments section following the report highlights the intensity with which feelings are held—often based on the age of the commenter.

White House Honors Local as “Champion of Change”Steven Beumer 2
Central Floridian Steve Beumer (second from right in photo) was among a diverse group of 12 people of faith—a variety of faiths—who were recently honored at the White House as “Champions of Change” for their efforts in protecting our environment and communities from the effects of climate change. “These Champions have demonstrated clear leadership across the United States and around the world through their grassroots efforts to green their communities and educate others on the moral and social justice implications of climate change,” says Angela Barranco, Associate Director for Public Engagement at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Beumer, who attends St. John Lutheran Church in Winter Park, has been active in a variety of faith- and community-based environmental groups and initiatives, including Sunshine State Interfaith Power and Light. Check out his church’s report of his award (on page 10 of the church’s August newsletter).

FFRF Lists “Dirty Dozen” State-and-Church Violations
On August 13, the Central Florida Freethought Community (CFFC) and its parent organization, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), sent a memo to all 67 public school superintendents across the state. The memo includes the 12 most common complaints about state-and-church violations—the “dirty dozen”—along with detailed explanations and citations to relevant case law. “It is well settled,” says CFFC founder David Williamson, “that, as government bodies charged with educating the children of every citizen, public schools may not advance or endorse religion.” Williamson reports that in Florida, 24 percent of all people, and 35 percent of millennials, are nonreligious. “We hope this proactive effort is seen by district and school administrators for exactly what it is: an opportunity for them to better understand and correct violations that may be occurring at their schools with or without their knowledge.”

SCPS Continuing and Expanding Anti-Bullying Program
Seminole County Public Schools is very excited to continue and expand our partnership with the Holocaust Center’s UpStanders: Stand Up to Bullying initiative,” says Michael Lawrence, Communications Officer for Seminole County Public Schools. “The relationship with the Holocaust Center has been a productive partnership in helping students to understand the consequences of prejudice and the importance of bystanders who will stand up on behalf of others. Students benefit from multiple classroom presentations by the Holocaust Center and attend wonderful educational field trips to the Holocaust Center each year.”

“Friends Talking Faith with The Three Wise Guys
3 Wise GuysHear 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. The Friends Talking Faith schedule for September features the following:

  • September 1: Faith and Society: Children—Education and Poverty
  • September 8: Faith and Religion: Children’s Faith Questions
  • September 15: Faith and Society: Remembering 9/11
  • September 22: Faith and Law: Freedom of Speech
  • September 29: Faith and Science: What Does it Mean to Be Human?

Interfaith Discussion: Public Policy and Religious Leaders
The topic for the Interfaith Discussion on Wednesday, September 9, is: “What is your faith tradition’s position concerning the appropriate role for religion and religious leaders to play in formulating public policy? What is your personal view about how much impact religion and its leaders should have on public policy?” The interfaith discussion group meets 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.

Orthodox Jews in America Differ from the Rest of Judaism
According to the Pew Research Center: “American Jews tend to be more highly educated and politically liberal than the U.S. public as a whole, as well as less religiously observant, at least by standard measures such as belief in God and self-reported rates of attendance at religious services. The U.S. Jewish population also is older than the general public and has fewer children. . . . But within the U.S. Jewish community, one important subgroup clearly does not fit the picture of a relatively secular, liberal-leaning, aging population with small families. Unlike most other American Jews, Orthodox Jews tend to identify as Republicans and take conservative positions on social issues such as homosexuality. On average, they also are more religiously committed and much younger than other U.S. Jews, and they have bigger families.” Click here to read the full article.

Community Food and Outreach to Host Summit–Twicecfoc-logo22
Community Food and Outreach Center
(150 W Michigan St, Orlando, FL 32806) will host its second annual “Legislative Summit on Poverty” on Thursday, September 10, and again on Thursday, September 24, from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm on both occasions. Speakers include Scott George, co-founder of CFOC; Carol Wick, CEO, Harbor House; Dick Batchelor, President, Dick Batchelor Management Group; Scott Billue, Founder and Manager of Matthew’s Hope. For more detail concerning this event and to register, go the CFOC website.

Hindus Invite Community to Grandparents Celebration
Grandchildren, parents and grandparents are invited to a Grandparents Day celebration being hosted by the New Age Group (seniors group) in the Community Room of the Hindu Society of Central Florida (1994 Lake Drive, Casselberry, FL 32707) from 1:30 to 4:00 pm on Sunday, September 13. The event is free of charge provided an email RSVP has been sent in no later than September 6. The event will include the awarding of prizes to the winners of essay and art competitions held earlier for different age groups of children and youth, as well as a cultural program. For more information, phone Madan Arora (407-971-9259), Dev Sharma (407-862-9920) or Sadananda Pande (407-542-7478).

Islamic Society of Central Florida Hosting Open House
Islamic Society of Central FLOn 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 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. Register for this free event at Eventbrite–just choose a date that fits your schedule. The next Open House Invitational is Saturday, September 26.

Interfaith Council Director to Speak at WP PresbyterianJames Coffin
“When Uncle Sam Pays the Piper, Does Religion Have the Right to Call the Tune?” is the title James Coffin, executive director of the Interfaith Council of Central Florida, has chosen for his presentation to the Relationships in Action Class at Winter Park Presbyterian Church (400 South Lakemont Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32792) at 9:15 am on Sunday, September 27. As our nation’s always-diverse populace becomes even more diverse, with a declining percentage declaring themselves to be Christian, the number of complaints about “religion in government” increase. So where should the lines be drawn?

ICNA Relief to Host 5-K Fundraising Run/Walk
Islamic Circle of North America’s ICNA Relief is hosting a 5-K fundraising run on Sunday, September 27, from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon at the Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake (3401 South Hiawassee Road, Orlando, FL 32835). Proceeds will go toward ICNA Relief’s Women’s Transitional Home. For the past five years ICNA Relief has operated in Florida in order to bring much-needed social services to the faith-based community. Participants will receive a medal and a “Steps for Relief 5-K” T-shirt for participating. Get more information and register at Eventbrite.

Sikhs Using Survey and Media to Be Better Understood
Some half a million Sikhs live in the United States, yet they’re totally unknown or misidentified by large segments of the U.S. population. So they’ve decided to take steps to rectify the situation, beginning with a national survey they hired Hart Research Associates to undertake. Now, based on the information gleaned from the survey, they’re seeking to engage in a media campaign that will ensure greater understanding, a clearer identity and broader recognition among the U.S. populace that Sikhism has long advocated values that mesh naturally with many of the values on which this nation was founded. You can read both the background considerations and the report of Hart Research Associates, all of which highlight the challenges that can be faced by any minority religion in a society that has a well-established, dominant religion.

Global Peace Film Festival Coming September 28-Ocober 4
GPFF logoLate September/early October is the time for Central Florida’s annual Global Peace Film Festival. This is the 13th year the film festival has stimulated thought and action on socially and morally important issues. So plan to take advantage of as many of the movies as possible. The films, the venues, the discussion opportunities–they’re all in place and ready for you. Check out the GPFF website for screening schedules, screening venues, details of discussions and panels and a list of films, their descriptions and much more. Don’t miss out on this highly informative and thought-provoking opportunity. To learn more about how the Global Peace Film Festival came about, and to meet the person whose single-mindedness not only got it off the ground but has kept it going, click here. Not only can you enjoy attending the films, you can enjoy the sense of satisfaction that comes from volunteering to help.

Christian HELP to Host Fundraiser “Harvest of Hope!”
Christian HELP, a non-profit that provides an array of services and resources related to job training, job acquisition and material and spiritual needs will host its major annual fundraiser in the form of a Breakfast and Presentation on Friday, October 2, from 7:30 to 9:00 am at Orlando Marriott Lake Mary, 1501 International Parkway, Lake Mary, FL 32746. Featured speaker is Dr. Steve BrownClick here to register for this free event. Click here to visit the Christian HELP website, where you can learn all about the organization. Still have questions? Contact Jackie for more information.

Baptist Religious-Liberty Newsletter Worth ReceivingBaptist Joint Committee
The Baptist Joint Committee on Religious Liberty is an excellent source for well-reasoned and objectively reported information about current news and issues related to religious liberty. The organization’s mission is “to defend and extend God-given religious liberty for all, furthering the Baptist heritage that champions the principle that religion must be freely exercised, neither advanced nor inhibited by government. . . .Founded in 1936, the BJC is the only faith-based agency devoted solely to religious liberty and the separation of church and state. Supported by 15 Baptist bodies, the BJC protects the free exercise of religion and defends against its establishment by government. . . . A proven bridge-builder, the BJC works with a wide range of religious and nonreligious groups in education and advocacy efforts. Since colonial times, Baptists have worked in alliance with other believers and nonbelievers alike when we find common cause.” Subscribing to the free BJC email newsletter is a great way to keep up with religious-liberty issues without having to invest great amounts of time to track down the stories, lawsuits and court decisions that pertain to this crucial category of freedom.

Interfaith Discussion at GPFF: Save the Date
Each year the Interfaith Council of Central Florida partners with the Global Peace Film Festival in hosting a film of particular pertinence to the faith community. On Sunday, October 4, at 5:30 pm in the Bush Auditorium at Rollins College the movie Armor of Light will be screened, followed by an interfaith panel discussion. More detail will be provided in next month’s Interfaith Council newsletter.
Suitable Airs Concert October: Save the Date
The “Negro Spiritual” Scholarship Foundation will host its annual Suitable Airs Concert at Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Eatonville at 6:00 pm on Sunday, October 4. The event is free and open to the public. More detail will be provided in next month’s Interfaith Council newsletter.

Hindu-Sponsored Multi-Faith Workshop: Save the Date
The Hindu Society of Central Florida is partnering with a number of others entities in the faith community to present a workshop on peace and non-violence on Sunday, November 1, starting at 1:30 pm. Representatives from a number of faith traditions will each briefly address the topic: “How to Achieve Global Peace Through Your Own Faith and Respecting Others.” The public is invited. More detail will be provided in next month’s Interfaith Council newsletter.

Buddhism 101 Takes a Look at Buddhist Basics
From the Meetup site advertising Buddhism 101: “This is an enlightening discussion group/class for both inquisitive people who are interested in knowing a little more about Buddhism as a philosophy, and experienced Buddhists who would like to come and share their knowledge. We are located at the largest Buddhist Temple in Orlando at 6555 Hoffner Avenue, Orlando, FL 32822. Our Meetups will be held every Sunday at 10:30 am. We will focus on a different topic each week concerning some of the most-talked-about topics in Buddhism today. Meet fellow Buddhists near you. Come to a local Buddhism Meetup to rediscover the Dharma and find enlightenment through the practice of skillful karma. All are welcome, so come share in activities, friendship and fun!”

Emory U Historian/Author to Address “New” Anitsemitism
Deborah LipstadtIn an effort to educate about the current state of antisemitism, the Holocaust Center is partnering with the Congregation of Reform Judaism (928 Malone Drive, Orlando, FL 32810) to bring Dr. Deborah Lipstadt to Orlando on Thursday, October 8. Dr. Lipstadt is an Emory University historian and author of Denying the Holocaust (1993), The Eichmann Trial (2011), History on Trial: My Day in Court With a Holocaust Denier (2005) and other books about Judaism and the HolocaustIn History on Trial: My Day in Court With a Holocaust Denier, Lipstadt chronicles her victory in a libel trial in a British court. “As the English legal system requires the accused to assume the burden of proof, Lipstadt and her lawyers had to prove the mass murder of European Jews and other unwanted minorities by the Nazi regime during World War II.” Lipstadt’s story is currently being made into a movie, in which Academy Award-winning actress Hilary Swank is slated to play Lipstadt. At the October 8 event (7:30 pm at the Congregation of Reform Judaism), Lipstadt will speak about the “new” antisemitism, how it is different from the religious and racial antisemitism of yesterday, and how we, as a global community, should respond to it. The event is open to the community and tickets start at $18. Click here for more information, or phone 407-628-0555.

Readers Theater Available for Kristallnacht Commemoration
Seventy-seven years ago on November 9 and 10, 1938, the Nazi regime in Germany and Austria unleashed their fury on the Jews and made it incontestably clear how truly sinister their intentions were. In the space of two days, at least 91 Jews were killed, 30,000 Jews were arrested and sent to concentration camps, more than 1,000 synagogues were destroyed (95 in Vienna alone) and some 7,000 Jewish places of business were destroyed or damaged. The German word “Kristallnacht” refers to that night of broken glass. In 2013, the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Holocaust Center made available to houses of worship, schools, classrooms, civic groups, acting classes and others the script and PowerPoint for a readers theater called “Witness,” which tells the story using the descriptions provided by victims, perpetrators and onlookers. The presentation, which is available again this year to any who might want to perform it, makes a powerful statement about bigotry and mob mentality. The script, the PowerPoint and instructions on how to proceed can be downloaded and used free of charge. Also, the Holocaust Center’s lending library has a limited number of videos made when “Witness” was performed at St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church in Altamonte Springs. Those can be reserved by email and shown. For those who would like to see the readers theater live but aren’t organizing a group to present it, First United Methodist Church of Oviedo will be performing it this year at 7:00 pm on Monday evening, November 9, in their Historic Sanctuary at 263 King Street, Oviedo. The public is invited, admission free. More detail will be provided in next month’s newsletter.

How can Everyone Help OCPS? The Ways Are Many!
Orange County Public Schools has opportunities for faith-based entities, community organizations and every individual in the region to help make the county’s schools more effective. Not only are faith-based and other community organizations invited to adopt a school, everyone can help raise funds for schools through a program called Fuel My School, and it’s as easy as 1-2-3. When you’re shopping at all your favorite online stores–be sure to do it through your school’s online mall at The school you’ve designated will get a commission. And it’s at no extra cost to you! Is that great opportunity or what? Check it out. The students and teachers of Orange County will be grateful.

Start Planning Now for Week of the Family, Nov 7-14cropped-wotf-web-2015 2
If you’re not familiar with the Week of the Family, then there’s no time like the present to provide an introduction. The Week of the Family is that one time each year when an array of faith-based, civic, business, educational and just about every other kind of organization in Central Florida come together to inspire families to be the best family they’re capable of. And not just for that week. The week is just a boost to help them get on a better path. In fact, “The Week of the Family’s mission is to strengthen family relationships through education, wholesome activities, fitness and community service.” There’s a lot more going on that week than there is space here to tell you. So go to the WOTF website to see all that’s planned and how you can become involved. One thing the organizers are requesting is that spiritual leaders throughout Central Florida try to use the November 7-14 time slot for special sermons and other educational presentations and events designed to promote and strengthen the family. And by all means, share with all in your house of worship and community of faith the things that are going on that week that could be a blessing to families and the community as a whole.

JCC to Host Performances of Kindertransport Nov 8-10
Kindertransport (German for “children’s transport”) was an organized rescue effort that took place during the nine months prior to the outbreak of the war. The play Kindertransport , which will run at the Jewish Community Center (851 North Maitland Avenue, Maitland, FL 32751) November 8-10, examines the life (during World War II and afterwards) of a Kindertransport child. The play revolves around the journey of a girl in the Kindertransport named Eva, later Evelyn. The story is not told chronologically and is often interrupted with flashbacks. This stage production is free, open to the public and being presented in partnership with the Holocaust Memorial Resource Education Center of Central Florida as part of its 2015 Kristallnacht commemoration. Click here for more detail about this play and others that will be performed at the JCC this school year.

Interfaith Entiti Seeking Additional $19,000 in 2015
The Interfaith Council of Central FloridaFriends Talking Faith With the Three Wise Guys radio program, and the just-emerging InterDiversity Institute—all of which work closely together—have done the math and have concluded we need $19,000 more for 2015 than our donors have committed. We invite those who are blessed by the contribution we make to the community to help us in return. All contributions are tax-deductible and may be sent to: PO Box 3310, Winter Park, FL 32790-3310. Indicate which of the four entities above you wish to receive the benefit of your gift. Thanks to all whose support has made our activities possible.

Bahá’i ReflectionBaha'u'llah 2
“Consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship.”—Bahá’u’lláh (As the Torah is to Jews, the Bible to Christians, or the Qur’an to Muslims, the collected Writings of Bahá’u’lláh are considered by His followers to be Revelation from God. They form the foundation of the Bahá’í faith.)

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  James Coffin, Executive Director
PO Box 3310, Winter Park, FL 32790-3310
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